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odern architecture


The Age of Innocence -- 1993
"The Age of Innocence is inexplicably absent from your list. It is a study of decorative arts, interiors, architecture and paintings of the gilded age in America. It is most fun to determine which paintings would not have been painted yet, but placed Hollywood-style in the homes of the characters."
Stephanie Perell, Cricket Hill Contemporary British Art
The Untouchables -- 1987
"De Palma also made serious use of architecture in The Untouchables. If I remember correctly, Elliot Ness' Chicago headquarters were located in Burnham & Root's Rookery, while Al Capone was holed up in Sullivan's Auditorium."
Ben Kessler, Princeton University
Wolf -- 1994
"In Wolf, a 1994 movie starring Jack Nicholson, the scenes of the protagonist's office building were filmed at the Bradbury Building in Los Angeles. A shot of the interior is also online at"
Gordon Danning
Primal Fear -- 1996
"The William W. Kimball Residence by Solon S. Beman (1892), an offical Chicago landmark, appears in the Richard Gere film Primal Fear (1996). The Kimball house serves as thehome of the murdered archbishop in the film. The exterior was apparentlynot deemed to be quite grand enough so, for the film, an extension, which extended north over 18th street, was built on the left side of thebuilding. On second thought the addition might have been built to blockthe view of the Illinois Central RR tracks which run behind the house. An image can be found at The house is part of the Prarie Avenue Historic District in Chicago. Kimball, of Kimball piano, lived in a French Chateau style mansion at thecorner of 18th and Prarie Ave. in Chicago."
Fred Hillbruner, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Professione: reporter -- 1975
"The Passenger (or Professione: reporter), now on DVD. During this movie, an architecture student, played by Maria Schneider, goes to Barcelona and tours Gaudi's work. She acts as a tour guide to Jack Nicholson, and tells him a little about Gaudi. There are some wonderful shots of his Casa Mila."
Jane Dixon
Ragtime -- 1981
"The film Ragtime is a nice period piece of New York City in the 1910s. It is an adaptation of the historical novel by E. L. Doctorow. The overall plot uses a slightly fictionalized version of the scandalous murder of Stanford White - a prominent NY architect who designed Madison Square Garden. It also incorporates the sculpture that topped the building - Diana of the Tower by Augustus Saint-Gaudens - into the story line. A very nice visual "perk" takes place during a one scene shot in a library/reading room. The room is part of the exhibition space at the Pierpont Morgan Museum - in the center of the room the Biblia Latina (Mainz: Johann Gutenberg & Johann Fust ca. 1455) is on display.."
Margrethe Lauber, SUNY Cobleskill
Back to the Future -- 1985
Bicentennial Man -- 1999
"For more recent architecture there is the Gamble House in Back to the Future."
Ian Lochhead, U. of Canterbury
"The work of Greene & Greene, the great architects who led the Arts & Crafts movement in California, may be seen on at least a couple of recent films. Their Gamble House (1907) in Pasadena, California may be their best-known project, and its interiors are nicely featured in Back to the Future (1985). Their less-known Fleishhacker House (1911) in Woodside, California is also well-shown in Bicentennial Man (1999)."
Paul McLeod
The French Lieutenant's Woman -- 1981
"You might want to check out The French Lieutenant's Woman. If I'm not mistaken, the house in which Meryl Streep lives at the end of the film is C.F.A. Voysey's Broadleys. Have only seen a few clips from the movie, so I can't be certain."
Ricki Sablove
Ochi Chyornye -- 1987
"Marcello Mastroianni plays the role of an architect. In several scenes we see perspective drawings of his designs: it is the work of Italian Futurist Antonio Sant'Elia."
Arthur Wortmann
Blade Runner -- 1982
"Ridley Scott's Blade Runner makes rather interesting use of the Bradbury Building (George Wyman, 1893) in downtown Los Angeles, and of the Ennis Brown House by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright's 1924 Mayan-inspired concrete block house serves (in a futuristically modified form) as the home of Rick Deckard, the hunter of out-of-control humanoid robots ("replicants"), who in the end has to discover that he himself is a replicant, (previously unaware of his artificiality). Wright's Mayan ornaments are one of the clues here, since they link Deckard's home to the Mayan-style pyramids downtown, headquarters of the company producing the replicants. The set cleverly evokes notions of pre-Columbian art as being timelessly powerful, dark, magical and mysterious."
Dietrich Neumann, Brown University
"This may be a myth, but it's quite a nice one. Ridley Scott was (I think) a atudent at Cleveland College of Art and Design, Middlesbrough, England. I was there years later, and heard tell that his partial inspiration for the visual landscape of Blade Runner was the chemical and steelworks and sulphur-belching, smoky industrial surroundings. I can well believe it. At night, Middlesbrough's industry (not much left of it now) made for dark, dramatic, Dante-esque and actually very beautiful scenery."
Ruth Orange
The House on Haunted Hill -- 1958
"Besides being used in Blade Runner, The Ennis House by Frank Lloyd Wright in LA was the House on Haunted Hill in the movie of the same name (1958, a camp/horror classic starring Vincent Price)"
Mark Brack, Drexel University
House -- 1986
House II: The Second Story -- 1987
"It's awful to be "haunted" by (a) haunted house movie(s). But I think I can add to your Ennis-Brown House (Frank Lloyd Wright) list with House II: The Second Story (1987), at least the living room scenes from which they "travel." I believe--and here's where it gets iffy--the same room was used for House I (1986)."
Martha Mincey, Southwest Missouri State Univ.
Female -- 1933
The Rocketeer -- 1991
"The Ennis House in Female and Rocketeer..."
Jorge Gorostiza
Gattaca -- 1997
"Frank Lloyd Wright's Marin Civic Center is used as the main office building in the movie. Both interior and exterior shots of the building are used. It is rumored that Psi Arch., a design school in Los Angeles, worked on the set design for many interior shots."
Cory Lilledahl, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
"Frank Lloyd Wright's Marin County Civic Center (1957) is the primary setting for the film. Its sun-washed colors and subtly strange institutional hallways help set the action in a floating, vaguely disturbing future. Wright's circular forms are echoed in the movement of the actors and the camera. Visiting the Center itself is a very different experience."
James Boley, Oakton Community College
A Summer Place -- 1959
"While the film has not aged well, it does feature some timeless architecture. Much of the action takes place at Frank Lloyd Wright's 1948 residence for Mrs. Clinton Walker. The house is dramatically set on the beach at Carmel, California. The film features excellent views of the interior as well as the views of the patio overlooking the water."
Paul McLeod
Someone to Watch Over Me -- 1987
She-Devil -- 1989
Men in Black -- 1997
"New York's Guggenheim in Men in black (Barry Sonnenfeld), Someone to watch over me (Ridley Scott), and She-devil"
Jorge Gorostiza
"The first Men in Black has some clear nighttime shots of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum in NYC"
John Capps
The Replacement Killers -- 1998
"The movie The Replacement Killers contains many interior shots of a Frank Lloyd Wright house. Easiliy recognisable by the textile blocks."
Matt Muirhead, Univ. of Toledo
Metropolis -- 1926
"Metropolis, the references to expressionist and futurist architectural projects, i.e. Bruno Taut (Chicago Tribune tower project, crystal house) and Sant' Elia's power plant and the traffic center project."
Kerry Herman, Brown University
L. A. Confidential -- 1997
"LA Confidential (1997) has several excellent interior shots of Richard Neutra's 1929 Lovell House in Hollywood. These shots are welcome since the building is a private home and not easy to visit. In the film, it is the home of Pierce Patchett, a developer and pimp (any connection to modernism?). Patchett's body is discovered there (apparent suicide, any connection to modernism?) in front of the living room's luminous wall of glass. Late-1920's technological optimism will never be the same."
Sandy Isenstadt, Univ. of Kentucky
Toys -- 1992
"Sarah B. Weber mentioned Toys with Robin Williams already. The film isn't great, but Ferdinando Scarfiotti's set design is fantastic, apart from the mentioned references to Dali, Escher and Magritte it also contains an excellent and amusing reproduction of Theo van Doesburg's 1928 Cafe Aubette in Strasbourg."
Dietrich Neumann, Brown University
The Night Porter -- 1974
"The Siedlung Karl Marx Hoff where Dirk Bogarde lives in Il portiere di notte (Liliana Cavani)..."
Jorge Gorostiza
French Postcards -- 1979
"Cast includes Deborah Winger, a "coming of age" movie about a group of high school kids taking a semester in Paris. One of the male characters, being seduced by the teacher, is driven out to her place in the country. They arrive at night, it is difficult to see the exterior of the building but we know that it is "modern." Behind a kind of bad "Miami Beach" decorating job is Le Corbusier's Villa Savoie in Poissy, France, completed in 1930. The Villa Savoie, along with Frank Lloyd Wright's "Falling Water" and Mies van der Rohe's "Farnsworth House" form the trilogy of the modern house as learned by architecture students for several generations."
Robert Craycroft, Mississippi State Univ.
King Kong -- 1933
"Did really nobody yet think about the Empire State Building and King Kong (1933)?"
Gerhard Bissell
Central Station -- 1998
"In Central Station, a Brazilian movie, Alfonso Eduardo Reidy's Pedregulho Apartment Housing in Rio (which was completed in 1950 and is the closest realization of Corbu's linear building-city in Algiers) serves as the setting for the apartment of a woman involved in selling adoptions."
Robert Craycroft, Mississippi State Univ.
The Quiller Memorandum -- 1966
"your comments about two spies in a church reminded me of an old movie The Quiller Memorandum 1966 in which two spies George Segal and Alec Guinness have a meeting in the remains of the Berlin Olympic Stadium. The empty monumental Nazis architecture can be contrasted with the propaganda version in Leni Riefenstahl's 1936 Olympia parts 1 & 2. The Quiller Memorandum continues to emphasize the hollowness of the Neo-Nazis' cause with contrasts between the decaying public swimming pool nazi HQ and the lively innocent suburban kindergarten they are trying to infiltrate etc........"
Dugald Macgilp
Klute -- 1971
"The Seagram Building by Mies van der Rohe, built in New York, appears in Klute"
Jorge Gorostiza
North by Northwest -- 1959
"The film is a tour of modern and contemporary architecture, beginning with the opening credits on a skyscraper, to the Plaza Hotel (beneath the Everett Shinn mural), through Manhattan with views of the Seagram Building and a Mies Van der Rohe building. There is a scene in Washingon that features the interior and exterior of what was then the new United Nations Building. There is a brief scene of a fine art auction, selling African Art.  The film culminates with a "Frank Lloyd Wright" house designed by the film's production team (Wright was too expensive), and ends with the climb over Mount Rushmore."
Laura Burkhalter, Des Moines Art Center
Contempt -- 1963
"Curzio Malaparte's Villa in Capri by Adalberto Libera (1940) is featured quite extensively in Jean Luc Godards Contempt (Le Mepris ) of 1963 (with Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli, by the way.)"
Dietrich Neumann, Brown University
Afterglow -- 1997
"Alan Rudolph's Afterglow (1997), set in Montreal, compares, contrasts, and ultimately connects the lives of two very different couples through sex, class, and architecture/design. The young, affluent, beautiful, frigid, and morally bankrupt couple lives in Moshe Safdie's Habitat building, designed for the Expo '67 Exhibition, amidst high modernist design splendor. The older, earthy, working class, long-suffering couple lives in a suburban ranch house replete with floral wallpaper and competing chintz drapes and upholstery. A great example of how design and taste influence the perception of character. Are we defined by the environment in which we live?"
Kim Rhodes, Hollins University
Running Scared -- 1986
"Running Scared (1986) starring Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal has a chase scene,it's the finale if I remember correctly, in Helmut Jahn's James R.Thompson Center in Chicago. The film makes good use of the cavernous space of the central atrium."
Fred Hillbruner, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Body Double -- 1984
"The main character in Brian De Palma's Body Double stays in a friend's apartment in Hollywood: Malin Residence (aka Chemosphere), by John Lautner, a sixty foot diameter house standing on a steel column. From here, he observes the murder scene in an apartment down the hill."
Arthur Wortmann
Diamonds Are Forever -- 1971
"John Lautner's suitably space-agey Elrod House (1968) in Palm Springs, CA was used in the James Bond Film Diamonds are Forever (1971). The house is well represented as James Bond fights off bikini-clad martial arts experts."
Mark Brack, Drexel University
"This film also contains a number of excellent views of the Las Vegas strip as it existed in about 1970-71 (the general time frame of Robert Venturi's research for his famous 1972 book Learning from Las Vegas). Most of the buildings and streets are seen briefly during chase scenes, but by using freeze-frame one can learn a lot about how the strip looked at that time. Viewing these sections of the film can serve as a worthy supplement to Venturi's book."
Lisa Kernan, U.C.L.A.
King of Comedy -- 1983
"Scorsese's King of Comedy interiors were all designed by contemporary artists of note, if I remember correctly"
Robert Belton, OUC
Brazil -- 1985
"occasionally, the way in which a particular piece of (modern) architecture, for instance, is used and presented in a motion picture endows it with meaning and thus interprets it. It is telling, for example, that Terry Gilliam chose Ricardo Bofill's wildly 'postmodern' 'Palace of Abraxas' near Paris as the quite unpleasant home of the protagonist in his dark dystopian fable Brazil (1985). This kind of reception outside of the academic discourse should indeed be of interest to art & architectural historians, especially since reception studies are grossly underdeveloped in our field."
Dietrich Neumann, Brown University
Boyfriends and Girlfriends -- 1987
"The home of the protagonists of Boyfriends and Girlfriends (Eric Rohmer) is Ricardo Bofill's Marne la Valle buildings"
Jorge Gorostiza
Music for Weddings and Funerals -- 2002
"Much of the film Music for Weddings and Funerals by Norwegian director Unni Straume plays in a villa (a stage set designed by art director and architect Yngvar Julin) that is heavily inspired by works of Luis Barragán and Tadao Ando. The film which gives plenty of fuel to the discussion whether modern architecture is an art form, or simply inhuman. Towards the end of the film a scene is shot at the famous Woodland Cemetery by Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerents in Stockholm."
Arthur Wortmann
The Truman Show -- 1998
"The Truman Show offers an interesting depiction and critique of New Urbanism or neo-traditional town planning. The digitally altered scenography of Seaside, Florida plays an integral role in this movie as the main character reacts to the eeriness of his environment. Truman becomes aware that he is being watched and that his perception of the world has been artificially created/guided. The entire town of Seahaven was created as a set for the Truman Show, an idealized community in which a man can live and the world can watch. Truman begins to challenge his surroundings, to reveal the conspiracy at work, testing the degree to which The Producer's planning must remain superficial and illusory. Controlled environment. Surveillance and social control, Foucault."
The Avengers -- 1998
"The Avengers is rather a new movie in the list. But it is certainly a very architectural-site-seeing movie which nobody can possibly miss out, such as- Richard Rogers' house as Emma Peel's modern age flat. The Syon House & garden as the Sir August de Wynte's mansion. The fighting scene where Peel and Steed together against the de Wynte's gang was taken place in the Lloyd Building by Piano + Rogers. The clear notion of gentle classical, which represented by Steed (Ralph Fiennes) with the cool 60's modernist represented by Peel (Uma Thurman) versus the evil industrialist Sir August de Wynte who can also be a radical neo-traditionalist -- the labyrinth garden and the M.C. Escher's endless stairs ... Funky ... but however~ the movie is a bit disappointing...."
Jack Chiang
"Although certainly not the best movie, there are some great art shots in this film. Look for Andy Warhol in Mrs. Peel (Uma Thurman)'s apartment. Then watch as she makes her way through an Escher inspired stair maze with architecture that either is, or is influenced by, Robert Adam, one of Britain (Scotland actually)'s greatest Neoclassical architects. Not only is there a Roman room (a theme he loved), but also a number of spare Neoclassical rooms with primarily white and dark marble, which are highly reminiscent of the hallway at Osterley Park House -- his masterpiece. Furthermore, there are also some great shots of British Architecture, including Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and the Parliament Buildings. Finally there is also a Baroque? (sorry I wasn't looking very closely), mural in the back of the meeting of the head's of state. This movie is suffused with excellent art, what I have mentioned here is only a small example of what can be found in the movie. Certainly whoever was in charge of the sets must have been an art historian!"
Kirsty Robertson, Bishop's University Quebec Canada
Manhunter -- 1986
"I remember sitting in a room with the TV on, and in spite of the conversation I kept glancing over at this great looking movie, especially at this fabulously elegant jail. Then there was a great pursuit scene, and we exited the facility. Looking at the exterior of the jail I suddenly recognized it as Richard Meier's High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The film turned out to be Michael Mann's Manhunter, the first Hannibal Lecter film.
Still photographs leave a lot of purist architecture looking dull and boring. Here you have a skilful exploration of a contemporary building, revealing aspects of movement and light which is the essence of this kind of work, but which can be difficult to appreciate. On the other hand, you get a pretty wry take on "pure" form, which could prompt interesting discussion of architectural interpretation."
Emanuel Jannasch, Dalhousie University
Against All Odds -- 1984
"In Against All Odds (1984) Richard Widmark plays a Los Angeles wheeler-dealer who "get things done in this town and no one asks me how." He's involved in a major real-estate project being put together by his wife. Environmental regulations and the interests of the neighbors are blocking the project, necessitating the murder of a few people and the corrupting of the only councilman with an ecological conscience. In the end the heavies get their way, and we are treated to a view of the spectacular but vulnerable hilltop they are about to develop. It turns out to be the site of the Getty Center! Don't ask me what this means. But there are some clips that you can show alongside footage of the view of and from the completed Center."
Gary Schwartz
Entrapment -- 1999
"The thriller Entrapment (1999) highlights the Petronas Twin Towers (1998) by the architect Cesar Pelli in Kuala Lumpur, Malasia. A postmodern structure influenced by Islamic style and at 1483 feet (452 meters) the world's tallest building, it steals a culminating moment from the picture's two stars.
Director Jon Amile says, "Entrapment is perhaps the first film to utilize Malasia's modern aspects. The towers provide an impressive backdrop for our climactic scene. After audiences watch Mac [Sean Connery] and Gin [Catherine Zeta-Jones] flee their pursuers by swinging underneath the sky bridge, 750 feet above Kuala Lumpur, I expect the towers could very well become a new cinematic landmark."
Charles Wicke, Univ. of Victoria
The World Is Not Enough -- 1999
"The very first image-the opening shot in the latest James Bond adventure is a beautiful picture of Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. I just found your site this evening, and I can't believe that no one has submitted this item! Of course, there's also Rogers's Millennium Dome, where Bond is almost killed at the end of the great boat chase down the Thames, with many great shots of the revitalization of London. Two great popular culture connections for architecture!"
James Boley, AIA
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