|Venice-11 (Photo credit: musical photo man)|
The films that I'll be listing in my April postings may not necessarily be films that I'd call my favorite films, but they will be favorites in the genres I'll be naming. The A to Z genres are very specific micro genres as opposed to the broader genres like action, romance, or comedy.
One of the most romantic and picturesque filming locations is the city of Venice, Italy. With the canals and the incredible architecture, you can't miss with adding this great eye candy to a film. The charm and historical significance also creates a lure for those of us who like to see on film that which we might not see in real life.
Many films have been filmed with Venice as a backdrop. Here are a few that I have enjoyed:
Death in Venice (1971)--One of my top 20 favorite films, this is Luchino Visconti's adaptation of the novel by Thomas Mann. Visconti has modeled the main character on the composer Gustav Mahler and the lush soundtrack consists of Mahler's music. This is an incredibly atmospheric film that contemplates the themes of beauty, artistic perfection, aging, and dying. It's a poetic work that moves slowly in a way that makes it almost like watching a painting masterpiece come to life. If you want action, forget this film--you probably will dislike it intensely. Some of the best scenes of Venice in any film.
Moonraker (1979)-- A hallmark of the James Bond series is travel to world famous and exotic locations. In this Roger Moore as Bond film, 007 makes a fun stop in Venice where he is pursued through the canals.
The Italian Job (2003)-- This remake features some fine action sequences in Venice including an exciting boat chase.
Casino Royale (2006)--In this version of a Jame Bond story where Daniel Craig assumes the lead role, the secret agent returns to Venice with a much different sort of scene concerning an old building.
But meanwhile far across the ocean there is another Venice. Many films have been shot in Venice, California. It's an interesting background for far different reasons than its more known Italian sister city. It's also closer to the film studios so it's a convenient location to use. For that reason there are probably far more U.S movies shot in Venice, California than in the other Venice.
Here are some ones that stand out for me:
Fish Hooky (1933)-- When I used to see this Little Rascals short when I was a kid I had no idea where it was filmed, nor did I care. But the first time I visited Venice Beach I thought of this old film. I looked it up and sure enough--parts were filmed at Venice Beach.
Touch of Evil (1958)--When I first saw this Orson Welles classic I immediately thought, "That's not a town in Mexico, that's Venice!" Yep, that's Venice in the opening scene. Note that the street markings and signs are in English. That little faux pas doesn't bother me though. This is a great film.
Falling Down (1993)--This is one of my favorite all time films and I know I'm not alone on this (Stephen T McCarthy for one). Everyone should see this film. One angry man on foot across Los Angeles--destination: Venice.
The Little Rascals (1994)-- In this film homage, the updated Little Rascals return to Venice as a film location. It's a fairly forgettable film, but I felt obligated to take my kids to see it when it first came out. I loved taking my kids to the movies when they were little and this was a kid-friendly film.
American History X (1998)--Definitely not for the kids or anyone who might be particularly sensitive, this is a brutal film with a powerful message about hate and prejudice. The story takes place in Venice, California and much of it is filmed there.
Skyline (2010)--I think this alien invasion film gets a generally bad rap from many quarters, but I liked it a good bit. Portions were filmed in Venice.
Any Venice films that you can think of? Any thoughts on the ones that I've named here? Have you been to Venice Beach, California?