The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Venice in Films (#atozchallenge)

Venice-11
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?  





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48 comments:

  1. I saw Death in Venice, thought it quite good.

    Yvonne.

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  2. Can't think of any others. Of the ones you named, The Italian Job was the best.

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  3. I loved this movie called "A Little Romance". A boy and girl (a young Diane Lane) run away to Venice, intent on kissing under the Bridge of Sighs to seal their love forever.

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  4. There is a Venice in California? I never knew that!

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  5. Oh yeah, I love Venice Beach. Been there many times. The boardwalk rocks.

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  6. Hey, Lee...
    I can see you named some really great films. Many of them, somehow, I've never gotten around to seeing, but the one called Death in Venice looks quite appealing. Never have been to Venice, either, but I have been to Rome. :)
    Thanks for all the listings. Oh, yeah, I grew up watching the Little Rascals, probably shortly after they were made. Ha. Love, Ruby

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  7. OMG I cannot believe you wrote about Fish Hooky!! One of my faves of the Rascals. I SO miss that show.
    Nice blog--glad I found you.
    xo Pen
    (visiting from A to Z: www.penelopecrowe.blogspot.com )

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  8. I love this, I just added some films to my 'must see' list. I have to admit I have only seen the Italian Job and really enjoyed it.

    Lucy from Lucy's Reality

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  9. Yvonne -- Death in Venice is like poetry on film.

    Alex -- The The Italian Job is a very enjoyable film.

    Fairview -- Seems like I remember the premise, but not the film.

    Imogen -- The Venice of Los Angeles is always a must see sight when out-of-town guests come to visit me.

    Em -- The boardwalk is very cool, but I think the term "boardwalk" is a misnomer since it's a big paved walkway.

    Grammy -- I grew up on The Little Rascals as well. Standard TV fare when I was a kid.

    Penelope -- Thank you for dropping by. Yes I can still see in my mind that truant officer chasing the kids up and down the boardwalk.

    Lucy -- There some films here well worth seeing.

    Lee

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  10. Wow! Venice films - nice choices. My favorites on this list are Moonraker and The Italian Job.
    Happy A to Z Arlee!

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  11. PROFESSOR BOIDMAN ~
    Hey, thanks for the mention, McBuddy! (Got your Email and will reply before long.)

    For the European Venice I'll take (the previously mentioned) 'A LITTLE ROMANCE'. I still love that movie.

    For "Venice Of America" I'll go with (you guessed it) 'FALLING DOWN'.

    But I loved that you also mentioned 'TOUCH OF EVIL'. Only Orson Welles could have conceived of that one, long, unedited opening shot. Everyone should see 'Touch Of Evil' if for no other reason than to study the art and complexity of that opening shot - amazing!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  12. Oh, LEE, one last thing...

    In 'TOUCH OF EVIL', that town is literally on the border, with one half of the street in Mexico and the other half in Texas.

    I don't recall any street signs being in English, but wherever you're seeing that, it's almost certainly the American side of the street. Orson Welles paid too much attention to details to ever make a mistake that bad.

    ~ D-FensDogg

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  13. I don't have any to add but wanted to comment on American History X - a very disturbing film, but worth watching and well done. I would say it's a favorite of mine but like Schindler's List it belongs in a different category.

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  14. Thanks for this wonderful list! I was in Florence a year ago, but didn't make it to Venice. Next time...

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  15. Not sure whether it was actually filmed there, but there were scenes in the third Indiana Jones film set in Venice.

    As for Venice, CA, the number of scenes I have seen (say that five times fast)on Venice Beach and the walk are too numerous to mention.

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  16. PS...note that I called it a "walk" and not a "boardwalk."

    Atlantic City has a boardwalk. It's actually made of boards.

    Venice Beach has a street. It's made of asphalt. The various paths closer to the sand are concrete.

    Why do they call it a boardwalk?

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  17. I've never seen Death In Venice before but by this recommendation I just might have to check it out Lee, sounds good!

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  18. Tyrean -- I actually thought of a few micro-genres for V but Venice was on my mind.

    StMc -- I've answered directly to you via e-mail concerning my belief that the opening shot in Touch of Evil was filmed in Venice. No matter what though Welles was a movie genius and this is a great film. The tracking shot in the opening is film school essential.

    Thea -- But American History X is set in Venice so it fits very well in this micro-genre.

    Joy -- For me, someday maybe to both of those.

    Larry -- You are correct. I mention this fact above. In no way does Venice Beach appear to have a board walk. And yes, it's more like a street than a walkway. It's filled with people, skaters, bicycles, and the occasional vehicle. And it's pretty weird there sometimes.

    Lee

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  19. Matthew (Yeamie) -- I like Death in Venice very much, but beware it's probably more akin to watching a painting to see if it moves than watching a traditional film. But to me it is film art at some of its best.

    Lee

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  20. Hi Lee .. the Italian Job always bemused me .. loved it - just the hairy scary racing around ..

    The others I haven't seen - though I expect I've seen some of a Death in Venice ..

    Cheers Hilary

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  21. I was confused until I realized you were covering Venice Beach, California, as well as Venice, Italy. Great V post, Lee!

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  22. I can't believe it. I haven't seen one of these. What is wrong with me? I think my rock is too heavy to set aside so I can take in a movie more often.

    As to Mann. I struggled through Death in Venice when I was a freshman in college. I don't think I had the experience to read that book until later, which I did. Then I "got" it.

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  23. I have to see the film, Death in Venice, I think our library has it. Have you read any of the Donna Leon mysteries set in Venice? Some were filmed by a German film company and you could see them on a foreign TV station. It was a bit strange to see the film, actors speaking German but filmed in Venice. It was like being there, though. I loved it.

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  24. Hi lee. The tourist was set in Venice, worth watching just for johnny depp, for me anyway!

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  25. Never been to Venice proper, or Venice Beach, but I rode a gondola in Vegas while at the Venetian - does that count? Thanks for the trip through the filmmakers' eyes!
    Jess/Blogging on the Brink

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  26. Hilary -- Both versions of the film are very good.

    Matthew -- I felt I should cover both bases.

    C.Lee -- I really want to read Mann's book to clarify some issues about the film's theme. I've read some very different things of late that did not come across to me in my first viewings of the film and I still disagree with some of the analyses.

    Lover -- Not familiar with Donna Leon.

    Rowena -- As I recall I liked The Tourist fairly well, but I don't remember what it was about exactly. I like Depp's acting.

    Lee

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  27. Jess-- The Venetian has become our favorite Vegas stop. Never have stayed there, but usually stay nearby at Harrah's. We usually end up spending most of our time at the Venetian though.

    Lee

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  28. Venice is beautiful. Casino Royale was great to watch for both action and scenery.

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  29. Death in Venice sounds fascinating, Arlee. I need to check that one out. I loved Venice as a teenager, and had some fun experiences there with my best friend and her parents!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. . .


    MakingtheWriteConnections

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  30. Standouts for me on this list are Casino Royale, and American History X. After April is over, I'm going to comb through all of your posts and make myself a "to be watched" sticky!

    SiouxsiesMusings

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  31. I didn't think the remake of the Italian Job was a patch on the original. That was a brilliant film. Saw the Bond films, but none of the others.

    Wasn't there an Audrey Hepburn film set in Venice?

    JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

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  32. I remember this small film from the 70's called A Little Romance, and I want to say the kids went to Venice. They were to kiss under this bridge (in a boat) when the clock struck a certain hour in order for their love to last forever. It was a really sweet film. Laurence Olivier was in it.

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  33. Sheena -- Most Bond films can be pretty scenic.

    Jarm -- If you do see Death in Venice I'd like to get your take on it. In the meantime I need to read the book.

    Susan-- Give me feedback if you do watch any of my recommendations.

    Jo -- Maybe Two for the Road? I think that was an Audrey Hepburn movie shot in Italy, but I didn't see it so I'm just guessing.

    L. Diane -- There have been a few mentions of A Little Romance so far. Guess I need to check that one out.

    Lee

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  34. Was the third Indiana Jones film partly in Venice? I might be wrong.

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  35. BOIDMAN LEE ~
    You misunderstood what I was trying to say. There is no doubt that the opening shot of 'TOUCH OF EVIL' (and almost the entire movie) was filmed at Venice Beach. (There are some later canal shots that, it seems, were filmed in the area as well, near Washington Blvd., if I remember correctly.)

    What I meant was that the FICTIONAL town - as presented in the movie - was meant to be located literally on the border of Mexico and Texas.

    >>...As the couple walk down the street they come to an intersection where a policeman is directing traffic--on the street the word "STOP" is painted rather than "ALTO". Also later near the Mexican checkpoint there is a sign that says "SLOW" which arguably could be acceptable in English since it's there as people are just entering.

    Oh, OK. I thought you were referring to street name signs, such as Maple Drive, Oak Boulevard, or Lover's Lane.

    I would think signs such as "Stop", "Alto", and "Slow" would all be acceptable and reasonable to find right at the border on both sides of the checkpoint where both Americans and Mexicans are passing through, back and forth.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  36. Susan -- One of those films had a part that was in Venice and I think it may have been the third one.

    StMc -- Okay, I get what you're saying. The "STOP" on the pavement did not seem like anything you'd see in a Mexican town, but maybe. And I can accept a "Slow" sign at the crossing. No matter what, it is an incredibly shot scene.

    Lee

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  37. I love Death in Venice and for very different reasons, also The Italian Job. This has been a fun theme, Lee. Did writing about the movies make you want to see some of them again?
    Jagoda

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  38. From your list, I'm only familiar with Italian Job. Ripley's Game was shot in Venice too I believe. I've been to both Venices! California for the shopping, (dirty) beach and fake tattoos, and Italy for a class trip years ago.

    Chontali Kirk
    chontalikirk.blogspot.com

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  39. How about "The Tourist"?

    I've been to Venice in Italy and it was one of the best vacations ever.

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  40. I enjoyed movies like Moonraker, Casino Royale,The Italian Job, and The Tourist. Venice looks and sounds marvelous, a place I'd surely like to visit someday. Although, it wouldn't be at the top of my list, due to the fact my daughter traveled to Venice in High School and was thoroughly disappointed with Venice. I guess the water can get pretty stinky, and filthy. But she loved Prague and actually studied abroad for the summer there.

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  41. I love all things Venice and hope to get back there someday (Italy, I've done enough of Venice Beach). My favorite movie for showing the beauty and romance of the city is Summertime with Katherine Hepburn (1955). You should see it :)

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  42. The Tourist with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp hadsome gorgeous footage of Venice. Plus I loved her wardrobe in this film!

    Such an amazing city, truly remarkable. I'd love to get back there one day.

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  43. Jagoda --Not only did it make me want to see some of them again, I have been watching some of them again. I'd love to hear more about your thoughts on Death in Venice. I've read some analyses in recent years which I'm not sure I agree with. But I've got to read the book!

    Chontali -- I vaguely remember Ripley's Game and I think you're right about the Venice connection.

    Ghadeer - Yes, The Tourist was Venice.

    Cathrina -- One of my daughters went to Prague also and loved it.

    Stacy -- I'll have to check out Summertime. I'm not familiar with it.

    Joyce -- Yes, The Tourist is one I'd forgotten about and I liked that film.

    Lee

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  44. Thanks for reminding me about Touch of Evil. I've never seen this classic movie before, and now I'll be on the lookout for it. I'd love to visit Venice.

    Julie

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  45. Julie -- If you watch Touch of Evil be sure to pay close attention to the opening shot. It's very well done.

    Lee

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  46. Seen some of these! Haven't been to Venice Beach CA, but I've been to Venice,FL and they have killer beaches there! If you like collecting sharks teeth, that is the place to go!

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  47. Oh cool, I never would have thought of this as a movie topic! I like most of the movies on that list. I've always wanted to visit Venice too! :)

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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  48. Hi Arlee, you missed out 'Don't Look Now', a classic.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069995/
    Have had a great A to Z, thanks

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