Still, so many memorable moments in film have come from those that have utilized specific locations as another “character” in the film. The location can mock the characters, identify with them or simply add a philosophical or psychological element to the overall pace and look of the film.
VERTIGO (1958) must also be addressed. Kim Novak (Madeleine) jumping under the
Foreign Films are obsessed with “on location” considering the deep and rich European and Asian cultures as well as architecture. Here we must mention the likes of TSOTSI (2005) filmed in the beautiful but rough burrows of
American classics such as THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951) filmed in the forests of the Congo, THE HUSTLER (Ames pool hall and the bus station), NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) with the Mount Rushmore scene, Grand Central Station and Midway airport, ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953) including scenes in Rome, the Church of Santa Maria and the Piazza, CHINATOWN (1974) with the surrounding Los Angeles areas, the aqueduct and nearby orchards, EASY RIDER (1969) showcasing the cliff reservation of Mulholland Drive, the New Mexico campfire areas, the exterior and interior of the Louisiana coffee shops and the climactic and hallucinogenic scene St. Louis Cemetery #1, SOME LIKE IT HOT (the train interior as well as the Del Coronado Hotel in San Diego, CA), and SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950) showcasing the Alto-Nido apartments in Hollywood as well as the Getty Mansion; inside and out, followed by the Paramount Studios' front gate, must also be mentioned as being filmed at outstanding locations.
There are countless other films that deserve honorable mention without going into too much detail. If you have seen these films, you are probably aware of the locations that I am referring to and the overall mood that filming “on location” added to the film. If you have not seen any of the following, do yourself a favor and jump onto Netflix in a hurry and begin your quest. Here is my list of remaining films that I would recommend with outstanding location shots:
* ANNIE HALL
* THE LAST EMPEROR
* FIELD OF DREAMS
* THE DEER HUNTER
* THE EXORCIST
* THE CONVERSATION (Opening scene in particular)
* BARRY LYNDON
* PARIS, TEXAS (Opening and closing scenes)
* NATIONAL TREASURE
* HALLOWEEN (The house and the street)
* SCARFACE (The Miami area)
* MULHOLLAND DRIVE (Everything really)
* BEFORE SUNSET (The side streets and walkways of Paris)
* A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
* STRICTLY BALLROOM
* THE STRAIGHT STORY (Beautiful cinematography and locales)
* BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
* THE MAJESTIC (Been there and this theater in Ferndale, CA is wonderful!)
* ESCAPE FROM
* DELIVERANCE (Wouldn’t ever want to go there, but that is the effect)
* SIDEWAYS (One of the most beautiful drives in the world)
* WINTER’S BONE (Recent film that went un-noticed for its’ barren and gritty atmosphere)
JER: This is a great topic of discussion while at the same time, an opportunity for recognition on an unsung role in the construction of a motion picture.
Many wonderful memories come to mind on the topic of “location, location, location!” Epic films will always use the best landscapes for photographic reasons.
I will begin with the principal photography for
Director Michael Mann is a master of authenticity and kept his 1992 film, THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, very true to that concept. Shot around the Blue Ridge Mountains and other nearby locations in
Exotic locations have always been a key element to keeping the Bond films filled with excitement, glamour and visual spectacles. Some memorable locales could be recognized, for example: the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida would be the hotel James Bond visits in GOLDFINGER. Various memorable scenes within Egypt and India would help the exotic flair of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME. Who can forget the adventurous fight sequence within France’s Eiffel Tower in A VIEW TO A KILL? Finally, what Bond film would be complete without a little gambling involved? How about the beautiful Casino de Monte-Carlo in DIE ANOTHER DAY?
Moving from the foreign sites to the more ‘familiar’ grounds I enjoy stomping through, I would like to draw your attention to my favorite street in the world…Hollywood Boulevard!
Coming around the corner of Las Palmas and Hollywood Blvd, you can almost see Julia Roberts walking up the star- studded sidewalks for 1990’s PRETTY WOMAN. Her apartment, by the way, is also on the same street aptly called the Las Palmas Hotel. On the other side of that very same corner, there is Danny Glover catching his breath as Mel Gibson makes a mad dash after the bad guys in the original 1987 LETHAL WEAPON and Will Smith stops into that same corner drugstore in his 2008 action/ comedy HANCOCK. A very epic fight occurs all throughout the Boulevard as Smith and co-star Charlize Theron ‘take it to the streets’ between the El Capitan Theater and the famous Chinese Theatre. Laura Dern would walk a little further in the opposite direction in a lost glaze in David Lynch’s 2006 film INLAND EMPIRE… and she would come very close to the Frolic Room lounge next door to the Pantages Theater, where Russell Crowe would stop in for a drink in 1997’s L.A. CONFIDENTIAL. Incidentally, that is the same bar, now doubling for a lesbian club, that Aaron Eckhart walks into for a drink and carries on with his investigations in Brian DePalma’s THE BLACK DAHLIA!
A hop, skip and a jump on the map brings us to Boston… home to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Both men would partake in the double duties of screenwriting and acting in the heavily Boston-based 1997 film GOOD WILL HUNTING. Affleck would wow critics and audiences in the very realistic middle- class surroundings of his beloved “Beantown” for his directorial debut in 2007’s GONE BABY GONE. A few years later, Affleck would come back strong in his sophomore submission, 2010’s THE TOWN. We cannot forget director Martin Scorsese’s use of the good and the bad running amuck in his Academy Award winning film THE DEPARTED or the tight bonds created in rural neighborhoods and the collective gathering when something happens to the ones you are closest to in director Clint Eastwood’s MYSTIC RIVER.
Keeping the streets real, let’s go to the other end of the world. Next stop? Japan! Inspiring and overwhelming, the big city would play backdrop to two very different films capturing very unique sides of this grand and mysterious city. The first would play as a large playground for detectives Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia for Ridley Scott’s 1989 action thriller BLACK RAIN. It would then serve as a choking and unknown world for both Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray in Sophia Coppola’s 2003 breakthrough film LOST IN TRANSLATION. What the hell… Japan is a land of many wonders and mystique, which served as both location and cultural unassurities in 2004’s THE GRUDGE! Herein, it is the isolation of a haunted home and the beliefs of an unknown culture that make this film a very memorable and intriguing film to watch.