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Types of locations you’ll never find on The Movie District

You might have, at some point, wondered why a location is not showing on here. To be perfectly honest, if we’re playing the odds, it wasn’t a mistake. Plenty of them are ignored on purpose. Here’s a list:

  • Interiors — Okay, this is the most obvious if you’ve browsed at least a couple of pages on this site, but it does not feature scenes shot inside of buildings and restaurants (and whatever else). There are actually two reasons why. First reason is, to be frankly honest, I’m a perfectionist. Preparing new articles isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, it’s more like blood, sweat and tears. It can take days. Or it can take forever (I have plenty of unfinished and unpublished material in my computer). Now I’ll get to the point — interiors are impossibly difficult to guess. In 99% of the cases you have to rely on information that’s been officially published by some source (newspaper articles, production notes, etc), you can’t figure that out by yourself. And even worse. You could be going on a pointless hunt because there are considerable odds that the scene was filmed on a studio soundstage. Boom! So you can guess that being obsessed with the idea of my material being as accurate and complete as possible, I’d be nuts to add more stress and frustration to my research. Second reason? Interiors don’t interest me quite as much, simply put.
  • Random roads, anywhere — Now picture this. The main character is on a roadtrip and can be seen rolling on some highway near Palmdale, CA. Nothing stands out about that road. As a matter of fact, the character could drive five more minutes and you still couldn’t tell by looking at his surroundings if he had moved at all. See what I’m getting at? That’s right. Not only could that part of the road be anywhere, but nothing at all makes it interesting. That’s a boring road like every other one out there. And I don’t want to bore my readers, so there you go.
  • Shots not involved in the story — Quite a few movies start with multiple shots of a city. If we’re going to dig into the movies I’ve covered so far, Dog Day Afternoon is one of them. If they are shots of landmarks, I might include them in my articles, but as a general rule, I don’t.
  • Indiscernible shots — This can mean many things. It can refer to a closeup of a door. A closeup of a character walking on the street, or a normal shot, but plunged in the dark of the night. If I can’t see anything, I don’t see the point in trying to find out where this is, as we hardly recognize anything at all to start with. Some of the older black-and-white movies have this problem.

Ultimately, I’m doing all this to optimize my work and provide quality content to my readers.

Postscript: I just realized that this is the longest post I’ve ever made, damn! On a side note, remember that your questions, comments and suggestions are always welcome!

 

 

The Rise of a Nobody

“I lived below the official American poverty line until I was 31” – Dustin Hoffman. Indeed he did. Hoffman’s experience as an actor was limited to a handful of parts on TV Series and low-budget films (also made directly for TV) until the then-29 year old was given the part of 20 year-old Ben Braddock in The Graduate, a film that propulsed him at the top of Hollywood’s A-List. His 17 000$ salary (about $117 000 in 2014 dollars) went up to $250 000 by the time his next major project (Midnight Cowboy) came around.

Of course, Hoffman went on to win two Oscars (for Kramer vs. Kramer and Rain Man — both Best Picture Oscar winners), star in many more classics, and is now considered of the greatest actors of our time.

(Locations for The Graduate here)

When Spielberg and Lucas Work as a Team

The casual movie watcher may not be aware of it, but George Lucas DID something worthwhile after creating the Star Wars universe in the mid 70s. See, in the early stages of that decade, he wrote The Adventures of Indiana Smith. It would take almost a decade before the idea was brought to the screen with Raiders of the Lost Ark (of course by then, the name went from Smith to Jones — Steven Spielberg’s idea).

You could say that he stopped innovating right after the Indiana Jones series and you’d be right. But how many filmmakers can brag about being the brain behind so many iconic characters? To be honest, I can’t think of another one at this very moment.

Although Raiders of the Lost Ark is now an established classic, the movie studios weren’t convinced of the movie’s appeal before its production (in fact, it was rejected by every major studio at first). But boy, were they wrong, the 18 million budget production made over 200 millions at the box office.

You guessed it, my next article will be featuring the locations for Raiders of the Lost Ark!

Razed Grounds

One of the biggest fears I hold, as a movie location searcher, is having to locate buildings, or even streets that don’t exist anymore. Obviously, the older a film is, the more likely I am to face this problem. Unfortunately, being a huge fan of classic cinema, those are among the most interesting to work on.

I am currently working on finding locations for Orson Welles’ 1958 thriller Touch of Evil. The movie, now considered one of Welles’ very best, was mostly filmed around Venice, California. Here comes the catch: Venice has changed very much since the 1950s and some parts of the area are completely unrecognizable today.

I always made it a mission for The Movie District to be as accurate as possible, but circumstances like these sometimes make it impossible. How frustrating! Filming locations for Touch of EvilĀ coming up soon… hopefully.

EDIT from 4/22/14: Done!

Wyler’s Holiday

Some A-List actors take years to make their way to the top. Brad Pitt did. Tom Hanks did. Harrison Ford had been working as an actor for over ten years before George Lucas made him a star with Star Wars. Very rarely do actors bump into immediate success. Audrey Hepburn was one of those who did.

The now iconic actress from Brussels, most often pictured as Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, made her Hollywood debut in 1953 in William Wyler’s Roman Holiday, starring also a Gregory Peck in the prime of his career. Hepburn won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her part as Princess Ann. The film was a smash hit, receiving 10 Oscar nominations overall, and making Audrey one of the most coveted actresses in Hollywood.

Visit the beautiful city of Rome with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck here!