(Dead Poets Society)
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November 6, 2021 - Eric
Out of Africa copyright Universal
A good film cannot do without good actors, a director in control and a script that is rock solid. We all get that. But what would have happened to movies like Forrest Gump, Dirty Dancing, and Out of Africa if the locations that come to mind right now were not part of the picture?
Sometimes movie locations are just as important as the actors who give them a background. Take the Four Seasons Resort on Maui. The luxurious hotel may have a different name in the HBO series The White Lotus, but it really is a fantastic setting for the satirical series about the confrontation between a group of wealthy Americans and the resort staff. Almost every scene was filmed at the Hawaiian resort in the autumn of 2020 (with the COVID19 guidelines in hand). After watching the series it almost feels like you have stayed at the resort yourself.
The Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo, Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, and the Mountain Lake Lodge near Pembroke, Virginia are all equally fine examples of locations so inextricably linked to the movies that were shot there that you might call them protagonists too. Just a quick quiz: do you know which movie is linked to which hotel without reading further? I will give you the answer in a minute.
October 2, 2021 - Eric
West Side Story copyright 20th Century Studios
Suppose you want to know where a new movie or series was shot. I bet the first thing you do is ask Google. Not that they have the answer, but they come up with a whole range of websites where you can hopefully find the answer.
Hopefully, because there are a lot of sites that do not give you the answer you are looking for at all. Because, surrounded by a lot of noisy advertisements, they offer only a vague description of the country, region or city where the filming took place. If they direct you to a city like New York, London or Paris, you are still looking for a needle in a haystack.
Fortunately, there are also sites that do provide more information. That's nice, because let's face it, if you want to know where a movie was shot, you'd like to know something specific, like a street name or the name of a building or park. Or even better, the exact GPS location.
September 10, 2021 - Eric
Planet of the Apes copyright 20th Century Fox
I don't know if you've already seen it, but when I first saw the making of video of The Madalorian some time ago I was just blown away. The impact of this technological innovation is going to be be huge. I can see that. But I am also wondering what it will mean for shooting on location.
For The Mandalorian, Lucasfiilm and Disney used these amazing LED screens and technology developed for video games to create amazing, moveable sets in a studio setting. No more actors with a green screen in the background, but a moving background that makes even the actors believe that they are on location.
Filmmakers have always tried to make their movies look as realistic as possible. Because they want us to believe what we are seeing. Even if they take us to worlds that don't exist, like in The Mandalorian. Fortunately, there have always been these incredibly creative production designers, location scouts and special effects guys who were capable of the unimaginable. But even they were sometimes limited by technical boundaries.
August 6, 2021 - Eric
I am Legend, photo Village Roadshow Pictures, Weed Road Pictures, Original Film, Warner Bros. Pictures
Almost everyone immediately recognizes a movie poster when they see one. The presentation of the title, the use of colors and the images of the actors that star in it; it instantly tells you are looking at a movie poster. Sometimes it also tells you where the story is set by showing one or several locations.
A movie poster that immediately stands out when looking for posters with locations on it, is the one Bill Gold made for Ryan's Daughter in 1970. Gold is without doubt a master. He designed posters for classics like Casablanca, Escape from Alcatraz and Platoon.
What makes the poster for the movie by legendary director David Lean so special is that it's hand painted - like most posters from the early days - and that it is one of the few examples that portrays the location so much larger than its characters. As if to emphasize how beautiful the movie is thanks to that remarkable location. By the way, if you want to know: it's Barrow Beach on the west coast of Ireland.
JuLy 2, 2021 - Eric
The Martian, photo Scott Free Productions, Mid Atlantic Films, International Traders, TSG Entertainment, Genre Films, 20th Century Fox
A picture is worth a thousand words. Film makers know this all too well. Some of them have created images that became part our collective memory. Julie Andrews singing in the Austrian mountains, Leonardo DiCaprio and Elliot Page seeing the impossible happen in the streets of Paris. Even Joaquin Phoenix has already joined the collection of immortal movie images, dancing like The Joker on the steep stairs of Gotham City.
There are countless beautiful movie images. Many of them feature movie stars who take us on their adventures and with whom we come to identify ourselves throughout the movie. Many of those wonderful stills also show beautiful locations. Take the promotional still from Wonder Woman 1984 for example. It was one of the first images from the highly anticipated sequel that Warner Bros. shared with the world. Diana and Steve with the beautifully lit Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC in the background. It does not get any better!
June 5, 2021 - Eric
Cruella, photo Disney
Imagine, you've just watched Disney's Cruella or the latest episode of the Mare of Easttown and you're dying to know where it was filmed. What do you do? Well, there is a good chance that you will go straight to Google, right? Perhaps you know there are some pretty good alternatives, perhaps you don't. Maybe you think that the all-encompassing IMDb of filming locations doesn't exist yet. Maybe that's because you have not truly discovered Sceen-it.com. Let me explain. Because it has much more to offer than you may realize.
Sceen-it.com currently has about 5,200 locations from more than 1,100 movies and series in 73 countries worldwide online. Nice numbers. There are sites where you can probably find even more filming locations from famous movies and series. But I guess that's just a matter of time.
What makes Sceen-it.com different is that it shares details of the exact locations. I mean, the complete address and even the GPS coordinates of all those wonderful sites. Many sites - especially social media accounts - prefer to keep that information to themselves. I can understand that. Searching and finding the filming locations really takes a lot of time.
May 7, 2021 - Eric
Amelie copyright Claudie Ossard Productions UGC Canal+
We all know Woody Allen's Manhattan is really a love song to New York's most famous borough. And that La La Land makes Los Angeles shine in a way we had not seen in a long time. Roman Holiday made us want to go to Rome, just like The Devil Wears Prada still makes us want to visit Paris. Some movies are the best travel brochures a city can wish for. Some films take it even a bit further. When it is set and filmed in a particular neighbourhood it creates a connection between the two that lasts forever.
There are quite a few films that take place - for the most part - in only one location. Sidney Lumet for example set his brilliant courtroom drama 12 Angry Men in one room, Roman Polanski placed his 2011 movie Carnage in an apartment and Alfred Hitchcock created such a tense scene in Jimmy Stewart's living room in Rear Window that you have no nails left when the end credits start to role. But these are all studio productions.
Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing from 1989 has to be one of the better examples of a sort of one-location movie. The movie is a true classic for several reasons, but also because everything was filmed on location on a stretch of the street no longer than 350 feet. Twenty-five years after the film's release, Spike Lee returned to the Bed - Stuy neighbourhood to revisit the locations one by one. It resulted in a video really fun to watch. In that same year, in 2014, Stuyvesant Avenue between Lexington Ave and Quincy Street in New York City was renamed Do the Right Thing Way to pay tribute to the movie classic (Google Street View).
April 2, 2021 - Eric
The Hobbit copyright Warner
Wouldn't you like to take a walk in Bag End and knock on Bilbo Baggin's door to see who opens it? Wouldn't you like to indulge in Maya's cocoa treats in her sensational chocolate shop? Buy a book at the William's travel book shop in Notting Hill? Or dance at the real Jack Rabbit Slim's hoping that Uma Thurman or John Travolta might walk in?
Too bad it's not possible to do all these things (except for the walk) because we are talking about locations that only served as a shop or restaurant for the movie they starred in. However, Bag End can still be visited. The creators of The Lord of the Rings left the charming Hobbit village near Auckland intact. It became a huge tourist magnet, attracting 600,000 visitors each year before international traveling was shut down because of Covid.
There are plenty of movie locations we can visit when the pandemic is over. Because filming took place at sites no one would even think of demolishing afterwards. Locations like museums, churches or other historic buildings and public places. Most other movie sets are still demolished right after shooting is completed.
March 6, 2021 - Eric
Skyfall copyright Danjaq Eon Productions MGM Columbia Pictures
Do you also miss traveling? I'm really looking forward to packing my suitcase and getting out there. Start visiting the filming locations I added to my bucket list in recent months. Travelling wasn't an option but watching as many movies and series as I could, was. All the wonderful locations I saw only increased my urge to visit them.
In the last couple of months Google Street View has proven to be a wonderful alternative for traveling. I already used the service a lot, but I became an even bigger fan. Sometimes you come across a photo which almost takes you to the place you would love to see, thanks to the phenomenal 360-degree view. Therefore, I have selected a few really beautiful Google Street Views for you.
One of the most beautiful Bond locations ever presented is the one in Glen Etive. In that truly sensational valley in the Scottish Highlands, we saw 007 predicting the approaching storm in Skyfall. Director Sam Mendes must have shot the scene with Daniel Craig and Judi Dench somewhere in the fall of 2011 or at the beginning of 2012. Mother Nature only shows her colours during fall and winter as presented in the movie. But it does not make this street view in Google less impressive.