Archive for the 'Movie Anniversaries' Category

24
Jun
13

Twilight Zone, the movie the 30th anniversary

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On June the 24th, 1983, the much anticipated Twilight Zone the Movie is released.  This was one of my most favorite summer of ’83 films; and it is a wonderful piece of work based on Rod Serling’s incredible TV show from the 50’s and 60’s.  John Landis and Steven Spielberg teamed up with Joe Dante and George Miller to make this motion picture homage to one of the greatest shows from the golden age of Television. I am a huge fan of all four of these talented story tellers, and the sequences are masterfully directed by each man. The stories are all intricately and beautifully connected by an emotionally moving and haunting score by the late Jerry Goldsmith. Each story stands on it’s own as the directors take us into new and revisited territory.  The segments by Joe Dante and George Miller really stand out and show case these two directors’ great talents.  This is a very good film on so many levels and I recommend it highly.

Below is a synopsis provided by Wikipedia that really gives a wonderful insight into each man’s story.  Tragically, the film’s production suffered the great loss of veteran actor Vic Morrow and two young children due to a helicopter accident on the set a year before the film was to be released.  The tragedy is heartbreaking to be sure, not only for those that lost their lives, but also for those that were there and have to live with the pain of what happened.  Thirty years later and my heart and prayers still go out to everyone that was a part of this production.  When and if you do revisit or watch this film for the first time, do remember those who passed on with special reverence.  Thanks.

Continue reading ‘Twilight Zone, the movie the 30th anniversary’

27
May
13

the gold diggers of 1933, the 80th anniversary.

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This movie is a gem if your a big fan of Busby Berkeley’s choreography as I am. Berkeley’s magic with the camera and setting up lavish and extremely gorgeous dance number’s  is without measure. At times he would take advantage of every inch of stage space from wall to wall and floor to ceiling to capture  his vision on film. This was the day of practicality and I highly doubt that anything he did in the 30’s could be matched today without the help of CG!!!  Gold diggers featured 4 big dance numbers and featured a very young Billy Bartie who was just getting his start into motion pictures. All of Berkeley’s work is nothing short of breathtaking.  His eye for capturing the  brilliance, beauty, and elegance of theatrical dance pieces is extraordinary and is like nothing you have ever seen. Below is a quick plot summary of the film provided from Wikipedia and also included are some of the dance numbers from the film. Enjoy and happy 80th to Gold Diggers of 1933.

the plot

The “gold diggers” are four aspiring actresses: Polly the ingenue (Ruby Keeler, Carol the torch singer (Joan Blondell), Trixie the comedienne (Aline MacMahon), and Fay the glamour puss (Ginger Rogers).

 

The film was made in 1933 during the Great Depression and contains numerous direct references to it. It begins with a rehearsal for a stage show, which is interrupted by the producer’s creditors who close down the show because of unpaid bills.

 

At the unglamorous apartment shared by three of the four actresses (Polly, Carol, and Trixie), the producer, Barney Hopkins (Ned Sparks), is in despair because he has everything he needs to put on a show, except money. He hears Brad Roberts (Dick Powell), the girls’ neighbor and Polly’s boyfriend, playing the piano. Brad is a brilliant songwriter and singer who not only has written the music for a show, but also offers Hopkins $15,000 in cash to back the production. Of course, they all think he’s pulling their legs, but he insists that he’s serious – he’ll back the show, but he refuses to perform in it, despite his talent and voice.

 

Brad comes through with the money and the show goes into production, but the girls are suspicious that he must be a criminal since he is cagey about his past, and will not appear in the show, even though he is clearly more talented than the aging juvenile lead they have hired. It turns out, however, that Brad is in fact a millionaire’s son whose family does not want him associating with the theatre. On opening night, in order to save the show when the juvenile (Clarence Nordstrom) can’t perform (due to his lumbago acting up), Brad is forced to play the lead role.

 

With the resulting publicity, Brad’s brother, J. Lawrence Bradford (Warren William) and the family lawyer, Fanuel H. Peabody (Guy Kibbee) discover what he is doing, and arrive in New York to prevent him from being seduced by “gold diggers”. Their goal is to break up the romance between Brad and Polly.

Lawrence mistakes Carol for Polly, and his heavy-handed effort to dissuade the “cheap and vulgar” showgirl from marrying Brad by buying her off annoys her so much that she goes along with the gag in order to eventually pull the rug out from under him. Trixie meanwhile targets “Fanny” the lawyer as the perfect rich sap ripe for exploitation. But what starts as gold-digging turns into something else, and when the dust settles, Carol and Lawrence are in love and Trixie marries Fanuel, while Brad is free to marry Polly after all. All the “gold diggers” (except Fay) end up married to wealthy men.

were in the money

were in the money

shadow waltz

shadow waltz

 

 

27
May
13

Killer Klowns from Outer Space, the 25th anniversarry.

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May the 27th 1988 and the world is introduced to the theatrical release of Killer Klowns from Outer Space.  My Buddy Nelson and I  was there and this has been a favorite ever since. The film is the brain child of three brothers. Charles, Edward and Stephen Chiodo, or for short the Chiodo Brothers.  These three individuals are brilliant artists in all realms of the imagination. They sculpt, They draw, They write, Direct and they dream with endless creativity. The brothers got their start in 1980 providing animation for the film “I Go Pogo” This film led to many more shorts as well as providing an incredible piece of work for Tim Burton’s first shorts called “Vincent”. Their resume is long and full of contributions to every form of television show. feature film, and also to a host of Commercials.  Their latest project is due out this year and is entitled, “Once upon a Christmas Dream”.  Killer Klowns was written, directed, produced, production designed and puppeteered by the trio with a brilliant soundtrack by John Massari and the theme song written and performed by the Dickies. This is a tale of space invaders that have come to earth to feast upon the human inhabitants. Everything that you find creepy and scary about clowns, the brothers have taken and twisted into a dark comedy filled with zany characters and incredible disturbing moments featuring the Klowns themselves. Everyone wants to go the circus is the lure and once inside their big top circus tent shaped space ship, the only act performed is to turn the town folk into giant balls of Cotton Candy. The film is a masterpiece of it’s genre and has reached the renowned cult classic status. This is a very fun ride filled with a lot of laughs, screams and imagination. For a great time at the movies and a flashback to the mid 1980’s Killer Klowns is a must see. be sure to check out the Chiodo Brothes website by following the link below.  Happy 25th  guys and thanks for this gem of a motion Picture.

http://www.chiodobros.com/

The Chiodo's and some of their Klown friends

The Chiodo’s and some of their Klown friends

evil

evil

Officer Mooney is turned into a human puppet.

Officer Mooney is turned into a human puppet.

a devilishly disturbing moment as one of the Klowns tries to lure a little girl away from her mother.

a devilishly disturbing moment as one of the Klowns tries to lure a little girl away from her mother.

checking on some of the town folks recently turned into cotton candy

checking on some of the town folks recently turned into cotton candy

 a parade to capture more victims from town. This scene is filmed in pre earthquake Santa Cruz CA

a parade to capture more victims from town. This scene was filmed in pre earthquake Santa Cruz CA

the big top takes off

the big top takes off

the 25th anniversary poster

the 25th anniversary poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25
May
13

it came from outer space, the 60th anniversarry.

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Return of the Jedi is not the only movie celebrating an Anniversary today.. Lets go back 60 years to the date of May the 25th 1953. Universal releases one of it’s first big sci-fi films. “It Came from Outer Space”  The film is directed by the incredible Jack Arnold who brought us the creature from the Black Lagoon in 1954, Tarantula in 1955, and Was a big contributor to the early episodes of Gilligan’s Island. This movie is very unique in the fact that it was based on a Ray Bradbury story and is played off very seriously in it’s tone and visual style. The monster a hideous ethereal creature that we both see as it terrorizes it’s victims as well as from it’s liquidy point of view. This is an early alien invasion masterpiece that set the stage for more of it’s kind to follow. Lots of fun and I highly recommend it if you have not already.. below are some plot and production notes from Wikipedia.

PLOT

An Author and amateur astronomer John Putnam (Carlson) and schoolteacher Ellen Fields (Rush) watch a meteorite crash near the small town of Sand Rock, Arizona. After visiting the crash site, John notices a strange object in the crater and believes that it wasn’t a meteorite that crashed after all, but an alien spaceship. After a landslide covers the mysterious craft, John’s story is ridiculed by the townspeople, sheriff (Drake), and local media.

Even Ellen is unsure of what to believe, but agrees to assist John in his investigation. Over the next several days, a number of local people disappear. A few return but they seem distant and dazed. Eventually, Sheriff Warren becomes convinced that a meteorite wasn’t involved and he organizes a posse to hunt down the invaders. Alone, John hopes to reach a peaceful solution, so he goes into a mine which he hopes will lead him to the buried spacecraft and its occupants.

It transpires that the aliens are benign beings whose spacecraft crashed because of malfunctioning components. They planned to stay on Earth just long enough to replace the parts, and then to continue their voyage. Whilst the aliens true appearance resembles a large one-eyed jelly-like being that glides over the ground, leaving a glistening trail, they are also able to shape shift. To allow themselves to move freely in human society to collect the parts they need to repair their ship, they subsequently kidnap and take the form of some of the local townspeople. However, they are unable to reproduce the townspeople’s personalities, leading to suspicion, and eventually the deaths of two of the alien crew members. After John Putnam manages to seal them off in an abandoned mine to protect them from the advancing posse, and to give them time to repair their ship, they do so and leave, but not before releasing all of the missing townspeople unharmed.

production

The screenplay was by Harry Essex, with input by Jack Arnold, and was derived from an original screen treatment by Ray Bradbury (although it is said Ray Bradbury wrote the original screenplay and Harry Essex merely changed the dialogue and took the credit).[2] Unusual among sci-fi films of the day, the alien “invaders” were portrayed as creatures without malicious intent. The film has been interpreted[who?] as a metaphorical refutation of supposedly xenophobic attitudes and ideology of the Cold War.

“I wanted to treat the invaders as beings who were not dangerous, and that was very unusual”, Bradbury said. He offered two outlines to the studio, one with malicious aliens, the other with benign aliens. “The studio picked the right concept, and I stayed on.”[3] He has called the movie “a good film. Some parts of it are quite nice.”[4]

In 2004, Bradbury published four versions of his screen treatment for the movie as a single volume, It Came From Outer Space.

The uncredited music in the film was by Irving Gertz, Henry Mancini, and Herman Stein.

The Universal make-up department submitted two alien designs for consideration by the studio executives. The design that was rejected was saved and then later used as the Metaluna Mutant in Universal’s This Island Earth (1955). The special effects created for the spacecraft in flight consisted of a wire-mounted iron ball, with hollowed out ‘windows’, and ignited magnesium inside. The Arizona setting and the telephone lineman occupation of two of the characters are elements from Bradbury’s younger life, when his father moved the family to Tucson.

Urban legend has it that an extra in an army corporal’s uniform at the “meteor” crash site is comedy writer-performer Morey Amsterdam. While the briefly glimpsed man does indeed resemble Amsterdam, no hard evidence (e.g., cast call bureau records, interviews with Amsterdam) has ever confirmed it is actually him. The most recent of Universal’s 2002 DVD release of the movie comes with a documentary, “The Universe According to Universal,” written and directed by David J. Skal, and an audio commentary by Tom Weaver, in which Weaver also notes the similarity of Morey Amsterdam.

the discovery of the space ship

the discovery of the space ship

the creature

the creature

when in trouble with aliens, call the cowboys

when in trouble with aliens, call the cowboys

it's the professor,,, Russell Johnson in one of his early roles

it’s the professor,,, Russell Johnson in one of his early roles

 

 

 

 

25
May
13

return of the jedi turns 30

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May the 25th 1983, Return of the Jedi makes it’s theatrical debut, and we were there.   “Revenge of the Jedi” was the original name of the film until the last several months of the production.  Something happened story-wise that caused the big name change, and there was a rush to pull everything that was printed, whether it was posters or articles in Star Log, to be quickly replaced with the new title.  As anxious fans, this title change was an enormous event and we were all scrambling to get anything that had “Revenge of the Jedi” in the title.

Anyways it’s now May the 24th and a bunch of my friends, including Rod Andrewson, Scott Rigler, Brian Siken and a host of others made the big trek to Scottsdale, AZ to camp on the night before so we could be at the first screening of the final segment of the original Star Wars trilogy. It was a long night, and from our point of view, we felt like we were the only normal people in a sea of crazy fanatic fans.  There was girl that decided to walk out in the intersection at about 3:00 in the morning and pretend to control the traffic lights with her own Jedi powers.  At any given hour cars of thrill seekers would drive by and throw eggs into the crowd or hose everyone down with high pressure fire extinguishers. It was definitely a night to remember. The first showing was at noon so once we all got inside and to our seats, all the excitement began.  The Kachina was a big Cinerama theater and the best seats were about the 5th row from the front and in the center.  From these seats the screen seemed to wrap around and fortunately we got petty close to the E ticket seating. Finally noon comes and the movie begins.

Following one of SCI-Fi’s  greatest films of all time, “The Empire Strikes Back”, the anticipation for this installment was without measure.  The movie starts and the entire film is filled with screams and howls from the crowd.  The new visual EFX by ILM are breathtaking as well as the score by John Williams, but about half way through the movie I was really not thrilled by what was happening on screen.  As the stage was set with “Empire” as a dark, intense and very serious story line with deep character development, took a hard turn to whimsical and campy in Jedi… Teddy bears in the woods,  a pathetically wimpy  Han Solo who suffered from teen jealousy attacks.  Darth Vader turns into a softy and when he takes his helmet off we find out he is really Humpty Dumty.  The “other”, that Yoda had spoken of was Princess Leia who really didn’t hold up for any greatness.  And the final blow of Luke and Leia being twins.  I was very disappointed as the film played on but I thought it must have been because I was tired so I went again and, NO I was right it wasn’t anywhere near what I was expecting.  I went several more times to watch the speeder bike chase and the end attack on the Death Star but story wise I just hated where it went, or didn’t go.

Writers Kasdan and Brackett, as well as the directorial vision of Irvin Kirshner were deeply missed and their labors were tossed aside for cute, cuddly and silly humor.  Although the disappointment is still there 30 years later, I still love the film even though it was a far cry from what I was expecting to see.  Ewoks are still a lot more palatable than Jar Jar Binks.  HAAA HAAA! So with all that said, Happy 30th to RETURN OF THE JEDI!!!!

revenge poster

revenge poster

the Kachina!

the Kachina!

Jabba and Slave Leia.

Jabba and Slave Leia.

some of ILM's magic

some of ILM’s magic

the speeder bike chase, The highlight of the film.

the speeder bike chase, The highlight of the film.

Even more ILM Magic, It's a Trap!!!!

Even more ILM Magic, It’s a Trap!!!!

And may we present, Humpty Dumpty.

And may we present, Humpty Dumpty.

and to end it all we were treated to the atrocious Zug Zug song!!!!! OH what a world, Happy 30th jedi

and to end it all we were treated to the atrocious Zug Zug song!!!!! OH what a world, Happy 30th jedi

25
Mar
13

Psycho filming locations, a then and now look at Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece. part 6

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Part 6 of the then and now comparisons takes us from Bakersfield California,  to a small Mini Cooper dealership located at 4270 Lankersham Blvd in North Hollywood, and then Back to the North side of Bakersfield.That car lot is about a mile and a half from Universal Studios. I have worked on that lot a thousand times and drove by this dealer equally as much and until I started doing this research I never would have known that this car lot was the one used 50 years earlier in Mr. Hitchcock’s Psycho. As usual before I went to the lot I put the Psycho DVD in my computer and made a series of frame grabs from the film. Once in the vicinity I parked my truck and started lining up the establishing shot from the middle of the road. I was really excited about getting inside and chatting with the owner about what a famous location they had. Everywhere I was at prior was met with great excitement that such a classic motion picture was filmed where they worked or lived. I expected the same when I went into the dealership but I was terribly mistaken. When I went in I asked to talk to someone about taking pictures here and surprisingly the lady at the counter said that there is someone on their way  who wants to talk to you. Within seconds I was met by a rather uppity lady who asked If I was the one in the street taking pictures a minute ago??   I introduced myself and told her what I was wanting to do. She roughly spouted off that mine was a completely unrealistic request and that this is a place of business and that any picture taking was not acceptable… Then she went on saying that it was also not allowed to shoot the lot from the street. HAA! I laughed and said really!!! And she said YES REALLY! I found out long ago to diffuse a bomb quickly and quietly, you don’t shake it first,,, SO I thanked her very graciously for her time and she spun on her heels and headed off in the direction she came. I looked at the lady I first was talking to and said, She must be a barrel of laughs to work with, She laughed back and said OH YEAH ALL THE TIME.. I then asked what time does Miss sugar and sweetness come to work in the morning,, The young lady said never before 10:00. I said OK, and would you like a copy of the pictures that I am going to take tomorrow morning before 10:00??  She said I sure do, so off I went and at 7:30 the next morning I was there and ready to shoot.. Just to clear my way, there was a maintenance crew there washing cars, etc. I asked the main man that I needed to grab some pix and he said shoot away, HAAA! I couldn’t believe that attitude of that gal. Anyways I shot away for about and hour, and about a month later I took a disc of the pix to the lady at the front desk. When I saw her she said guess what. I said that lady sweetness must have seen me coming, made and called and the police. She chuckled and said noooooooo,,,,,, She’s gone!! She doesn’t work here anymore. HOW COOL I said, it must be a much happier place to work now. As we were talking another lady working the floor came up and asked if I would like to see any of their cars. I thought about it for a moment then asked if I could shoot some then and now pictures of the lot—This is where they filmed some scenes from Psycho 50 years ago. SHE got all bright eyed and said OH yes I know.. People come here all the time to snap pictures of the lot because of Psycho,, Your more than welcome to.. I said thanks and explained what had happened earlier. She smiled and said have fun and be sure to bring me a set of the pictures when your done.. SO besides the drama that was associated with shooting here it was very fun to find all the right spots. The place has drastically changed, and a lot of new buildings have been added as well as many extensions and the closing in of the main covered viewing area. Thankfully there were enough key spots still in existence to line up  all the frames that I needed to match up. Now Back to the other side of Bakersfield where the second unit crew filmed traveling road scenes for later rear screen projection screen shots. The route used was the 99 Hwy between Bakersfield and Fresno CA. Sadly This set of then and now pictures will conclude all of the off Studio locations. The rest of the film was shot on the Universal back lot and sound Stages so stay tuned for the next set in the then and now pictures from PSYCHO!

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After Marion (Janet Leigh's) murder, Vera Miles and John Gavin travel back and forth between the Bates Motel and the town of Fairvale in search of the missing Marion.

After Marion (Janet Leigh’s) murder, Vera Miles and John Gavin travel back and forth between the Bates Motel and the town of Fairvale in search of the missing Marion.

 

24
Mar
13

Psycho filming locations, a then and now look at Hitchcocks 1960 masterpiece, part 5

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Part 5 of the Than and now images takes us to the California town of Bakersfield.  From Gorman where the previous blog entry of the locations were discussed, Hitchcock shot in Gorman CA. and then headed down the 99 (Now the 5 freeway) through the Grapevine to the low laying Vally below. Once on the valley floor the 5 freeway forks with the old 99 giving you a choice of Sacramento on the 5 or Bakersfield on the 99. Just before you reach Bakersfield the 99 has been rerouted more to the west of down town. there is an exit called Union that veers to the NE and this is what was the original route 99 that took you to Bakersfield in 1960. Once you travel down Union for several miles you will come to the intersection of California and Union which is where Hitchcock did a short shot  from Janet Leigh’s POV.  As she crosses over California she then makes an immediate right onto Sonoma Street. The film then cuts from Bakersfield to a car lot in North Hollywood. When looking for this location I simply followed the old route 99 into Bakersfield. With my little frame grabs at hand I thought this would be an easy one to find…. I was wrong. I drove the length of that road 3 or 4 times to no avail. I figured the next best idea to try would be to find the city planning office. It wasn’t to far away from where I was and once there I had a whole slew of folks helping me find this road. One gentleman in the back office overheard what we were talking about and he hollered out, Hey that was once Sonoma street.. It’s been moved. He then called us in his office and he popped up some old street maps from the 60’s and sure enough the street had been moved. The office confirmed the location of California and Union and helped me find exactly where Sanoma Street used to connect to Union. So My camera and I were on our way to to capture the next set of then and now’s.

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here is a quick map of the intersection today with notes helping to decipher the way the roads were 50 years ago.

here is a quick map of the intersection today with notes helping to decipher the way the roads were 50 years ago.

 

 

22
Mar
13

psycho filming locations, a then and now look at Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece. part 4

Hitchcock on the set

Hitchcock on the set

Today’s installment takes us from Arizona to a little California truck stop town called Gorman. If your taking the 5 freeway from LA to either San  Francisco or Bakersfield you will traverse up a long steep grade to a little summit truck stop town called Gorman.  Gorman is the stop just before you descend into the valley flats through a tretchous pass called the Grapevine. In 1960 the 5 freeway was called the 99 and it would take you directly into Bakesfield. The 5 freeway has replaced this portion of the 99 through the pass and is a massive thouroughfare compared to what it once was. In regards to Psycho I came across this area by chance  because I lived nearby. I would take this back route to work and one day I didn’t make it to the gas station in Gorman and was stuck on the side of the road waiting for AAA to come by. I was on a side street called Gorman Post Road. which Parrealled the 5 freeway. Anyways I was sitting there looking at the landscape and I was thinking that it looked so very familiar. I was in the middle of pulling the frame grabs for the Pheonix locations at this same time. Later that eveneing when I was going over the shots I got to the point in the film Where Janet Leigh has pulled over to take a nap. Her car is parked by a telephone pole in a smooth hilly country side setting. HMMMM looks  like the same place I ran out of gas today I thought.. As ironic as it sounds it was the same place I had run out of gas.. Holly smokes this is wear the road side shots were done.. I had read that Psycho was filmed in PHX, Gorman, and Bakersfield, but I had no idea that this was the spot… The Pheonix locations were the only thing I was wanteing to recreate at this time and everything else hadnt really been something I could accomplish.  I had looked at Gorman earlier on in my search but I was on the other side of the town and nothing was lining up.. It appeared that the entire area had been renovated and that most likly the old locations no longer existed so I didn’t pursue the matter any further. This little gas accident put new light on the subject so I made frame grabs of this entire section of the film. The following Saturday I was on Gorman Post road and started to line up the then and now shots. The first few were fairly easy but it was clear to see that the roads closer to Gorman were not the same. Hitchcock used about a mile and a half of roadway for this segement and today only about 3/4 of a mile of the original 1960 roads still exist.. I had to make severel trips back to make the locations line up. manytimes hanging over fences and standing in the middle of the freeway… Thankfully the hilly landscape and a majority of the fence posts are still there so I had a lot of reference to line up the shots. All and all I was able to match up a great deal of what Hitchcock had filmed although there are a few more I would have liked to have been able to do. The attempts were there but they were long grasps as far as making a worthy then and now representation. The one I wanted the most is an over the shoulder shot looking at Janet Leigh as she watches the patrolman exit the freeway in her rear window. For one reason the camera is to low to match up the hillside, and the other is that the  freeway exit has been moved by about a quarter mile so this shot sadly could not be done.  Some of the more fun images to do were the rear view mirror shots. I quickly found that both the view out the window and the view in the mirror were never in the same place and a lot of backtracking was needed to get the right spots to line up. I was able to get all but one of the mirror shots recreated and next time I am out I’ll shoot what I need to make the last. So with all that said here is about as complete of a then and now as I could put together for this area, so sit on back and enjoy Gorman CA from a Psycho’s point of view.

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21
Mar
13

psycho filming locations, a then and now look at Hitchcocks 1960 masterpiece. part 3

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Welcome to part 3 of the “then and now” filming locations from Mr Alfred Hitchcock’s incredible motion Picture, “PSYCHO” Growing up in Phoenix Arizona and being a huge fan of movies, I was always very excited when I would hear about a film that was made in my own home town. four favorites come to mind. Robert Zemeckis’s “Used Cars”, John Carpenter’s “Starman”, the Coen Brother’s classic “Raising Arizona” and a little movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock called “PSYCHO”.  When I got the Psycho on DVD a few years back I loved being reintroduced to this masterpiece. There was even a bonus disc filled with extras and a brilliant documentary on the making of the film. When I was watching all of this very new information about the movie I started to wonder if any of those old locations in Phoenix still existed. On my next trip home I was downtown and found the hotel and was amazed it was still standing. from there on my curiosity got the best of me and I was inspired to document what I could find of Hitchcock’s original filming locations. Today’s insert features all the street level locations, that were used as background materiel for a series of processed shots to be mixed with live action scenes shot at Universal Studios. I have made a couple of maps that will piece all of the Phoenix shots into perspective as well as some vintage imagery that helped solve a lot of mysteries.  Two of the shots were giving me a lot of difficulty in locating and I was almost ready to write them off as spots that no longer existed. While searching the internet for old downtown PHX pictures I kept coming across a series of pictures in large formats from the 30’s through the 50’s. By following the pix to their origin I came across the website of a gentleman named Brad Hall. Brad was a graphic designer for Valley national bank ( which is one of the featured landmark buildings in Hitchcock’s pan across PHX) and is also a very passionate historian in regards to everything Phoenix. I wrote Brad about some of his pictures and we became fast friends and fans of Arizona and motion picture history. When ever I would have a question I would send it over and within a few hours a cornucopia of images would be sent my way.. It was easy finding the shots looking North on central. but the shot looking out of the real estate office was making me crazy.  Brad solved this one single handily and it also helped to figure out what the second unit was up to 50 years ago. Back then movie making was much simpler and looking at the shots in the film verses where they were filmed was completely done with common sense.  basically all of the street level shots were done at the intersection of Central and Adams. For the intersection shots the camera is looking North and one shot is slightly to the NE. The street scene viewed from the Real estate office is from the SE corner of Adams looking to the East. Janet Leigh’s hotel is 2 blocks to the south also on Central Avenue, and the Orpheum lofts (the roof top Panorama shot) is one block to the West down Adams. The rear view mirrors shots start at Central and Adams, looking to the South down Central as the camera car drives North. The final shot of Janet Leigh driving out of town was probably the most difficult place to find of all. the scene is a POV shot looking out of the window of the car. There is a divided roadway and a set of train tracks to the right. From the direction from which the sun is setting in the shot, you could tell that the road was heading N.W. diagonal to the more common compass point roadways in Arizona and California. Mr. Hitchcock also filmed in Bakersfield CA and I was sure that he had filmed this shot on the 5 freeway (the 99 in 1960). The roadway is diagonal and looks exactly today as it does in the film but there are no train tracks.  I thought then that perhaps it was San Fernando road by Universal Studios. It’s diagonal with train tracks on the right but there are to many mountains all around to get the same clean shot. I was at a loss.. During one of Brad and I’s conversations, I asked if the train Tracks were on the right side of Grand AVE.  Grand Ave, is a diagonal roadway that starts a few blocks away from all of the downtown PHX locations. He said yes and I sent him over the film grab and sure as night is black we had found the roadway used for this scene. Brad knew all the history of Grand Ave, and in the 60’s this was the only way to get from California to phoenix. There was a small town called Marinette (which is now called Sun City) and this is where we thought these road shots were taken from..  I raced out to Phoenix and did some shots on Grand and the are was no longer an open road but a sprawling city scape with no open areas to be found in the old Marinette city limits. Aside from the build of of business’s, the street and tracks were in correct placement so I did a possible then and now picture correlation.  To help tie in the “then and now”  images I pictured everything in B&W and added car hoods and set exteriors from the original film to help tie in the difference from the same point of view. It was very nice to do this section with Brad and we look forward to one day meeting in person.. All of our correspondents were via email. As much as I wanted to think we had found the right road, the more I looked at the pictures the more I was realizing we were wrong… I did a bit more research and found that the second unit actually filmed the road shots on Highway 99. As I had mentioned earlier the 5 and the 99 en-route to Bakersfield looked right but did not have the train tracks. A big tip from Universal stated that the filming was done on the 99 but on the other side of Bakersfield.  More research shined a light on the fact that Hitchcock traveled this road to the cornfield used in his film “North by North West” I took a quick trip out and the roadway started  to look like the right filming location. The route used was the 99 between Bakersfield and Fresno. So in addition to the mistaken Grand Avenue shot, I have just added the route 99 shot and I hope you all enjoy the comparisons. Be sure to check out Brads page linked below and get ready for a lot of pictures.

http://www.bradhallart.com/phoenix.htm

This will conclude the Arizona portion of the then and now series of locations. Next we move on to Gorman California.

an establishing shot

an establishing shot

Marian, (Janet Leigh) catches site of her boss

Marian, (Janet Leigh) catches site of her boss

Janet Leigh is caught ditching out of work by her boss, the camera is looking slightly to the right down Adams.

Janet Leigh is caught ditching out of work by her boss, the camera is looking slightly to the right down Adams. My mom worked at the Uptons candy store shown in the upper frame when she was a teenager.

The street scene outside the office window.

The street scene outside the office window.

and the hardest location to find, Grand Ave in Sun City. from a once open road to a sprawling senior citizen community

This was the hardest location to find, In the early days of research this is what was thought to be the correct roadway used.. this is the Grand Ave in Sun City location just outside of Phoenix.. Further research proved this was the wrong road way and to view the correct location refer to the shot below. this pic is still here to view to see how easy it was to confuse the streets with what little info there was available…

the actual and correct filming location, the 99 HWY.

the actual and correct filming location, the 99 HWY.

Some of Brads mystery solving techniques!!

Some of Brads mystery solving techniques!!

More of Brads research. the little watch face can be seen directly over Hitchcock's head in the real estate office shot listed above

More of Brads research. the little watch face can be seen to the left of Hitchcock’s head in the real estate office shot listed above

Brads historical map showing the route out of town in the 60's

Brads historical map showing the route out of town in the 60’s

This 2010 map of Phoenix Arizona highlights the camera path of Hitcock's opening panoramic shot

This 2010 map of Phoenix Arizona highlights the camera path of Hitchcock’s opening panoramic shot.

This final map highlights all of the downtown camera positions and their directions of framing.

This final map highlights all of the downtown camera positions and their directions of framing.

20
Mar
13

Psycho 1960, filming locations, a then and now look celebrating the 50’s anniversarry part 2

1960 poster

1960 poster

Here is part two of the then and now pictorial documenting the filming locations of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “PSYCHO” Yesterdays installment featured the opening pan across the Phoenix Arizona skyline. The pan ends with a slow zoom on a distant hotel building. The scene is then cut to a high shot looking down on a few floors of hotel windows. Another cut takes place and from a fly’s point of view the camera moves into the slightly opened window and onto a sound stage at Universal pictures. When I was gathering my reference frames from the film I thought this entire sequence was shot at Universal. The lighting on the window looked like stage lighting and I left it at that. But the more I looked at that sequence, the more I got to thinking that there is to much roof and cornice detail on that wall and it might not be an exterior set piece after all.  I examined the pics I took of the PHX police Building (AKA the hotel) and the cornice pieces matched the close up shot.  Directly across the street and to the West of the Hotel is a much larger building that is now a part of the Luhrs complex. YES!  it had to be. Mr. Hitchcock had set up a shot looking down on the hotel from this building. Thankfully in my collection of pictures from that PHX shoot day I had some pics of that Luhrs complex and there was a phone number posted in one of the windows. I gave it a call and yet another adventure was about to take place. The Building had sold since I took my shots and the entire complex was closed. I must have gotten passed onto to at least 6 different phone numbers and company’s till I finally got the right one. I reached a firm that knew of the construction company that was handling the renovation and they passed me onto them. Finally I was almost there. I got the number to a gentleman named Dharmesh Petel and he was the property manager in charge of the building.  I gave him a call from CA and explained what I was doing and asked if I could get into the building to try and find where the film was shot.  Mr. Petel couldn’t allow that for insurance reasons so I asked if I was to send him a grab from the film, could he match up the shot and snap a picture for me. He said he would be happy to see what he could do and in a few days I received an email with a perfectly lined up image matching Hitchcock’s framing exactly. Dharmesh’s picture was  a great addition to piecing together this sequence and I couldn’t be more thankful. Mr. Petel has recently finished the Phoenix project and is now out in California working on another. Here is a collection of images that helped to make this then and now comparison complete.  Be sure to stay tuned for the next installment! Enjoy and all of these picture are loaded with text. This site allows you to click on any picture and will give you a load of zoom options so you can see all the tiny details.

this is #10 in the PHX panoramic sequence.

this is #10 in the PHX panoramic sequence.

this image shows where the shot was taken from and which window the camera zoomed in on.

this image shows where the shot was taken from and which window the camera zoomed in on.

another view showing the details of Mr. Hithcock's shot.

another view showing the details of Mr. Hithcock’s shot.

 a grab of the window  from the 1960 film

a grab of the window from the 1960 film

image 1 from Dharmesh Petel

image 1 from Dharmesh Petel

and image #2 from Dharmesh Petel

and image #2 from Dharmesh Petel

this is Dharmesh's image framed to match the films version!!

this is Dharmesh’s image framed to match the films version!!




July 2020
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