Jan’s Notebook

MOVIE INTERIORS I LOVE: ART DIRECTION AND SET DIRECTION


Julianne Moore’s House in A Single Man
I adore good films and am always inspired by them---to me, when they are truly good, they can be the highest of all art forms. One of the things that is absolutely necessary for a film to be great is the set design/art direction. Here are just a few of my favorites----rent them and see if you agree.
Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant in Holiday
HOLIDAY---This movie with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant was made during the depression in the late 1930’s. So many films made during that time were about the upper classbecause people wanted an escape from their daily lives, which were pretty terrible at that time. The “nursery” in this film is so charming---you won’t forget it----and, that’s where everything important happens.
Colin Firth’s home in A Single Man
Julianne Moore’s home in A Single Man
A SINGLE MAN---Tom Ford’s first film had wonderful sets that were typical of California in the 1960’s. I love Colin Firth’s house, and Julianne Moore’s is so glamorous---just like her character.
Gwenyth Paltrow, Matt Damon and Jude Law in Talented Mr. Ripley
TALENTED MR. RIPLEY—it certainly doesn’t hurt that this film takes place on location in Italy, but the set design is amazing---Both Gwyneth and Jude have wonderful, small Italian villas.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Matthew Goode and Scarlett Johansson in Match Point
MATCH POINT---this movie is pretty flawless. I love the interiors in both the Mayfair house as well as the country house.
Vertigo
VERTIGO---Hitchcock was very particular about his sets---this movie is a perfect example. I particularly like Midge’s apartment, the bookstore, his re-creation of Ernie’s Restaurant. Jimmy Stewart’s apartment is perfect for the time period. Of course, the exterior shots of San Francisco add so much to this movie.
Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest
NORTH BY NORTHWEST—who could resist the modernist housein South Dakota near Mt. Rushmore…..and what about his Mt. Rushmore set?!
Kitchen in The Help
Living room in The Help
THE HELP---I thought these sets were simply perfect for the period (mid 1960’s).
Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in Out of Africa
Out of Africa
OUT OF AFRICA—These sets inspired me ,as did the movie, and changed my life and style in so many ways. I love Meryl Streep’s veranda and living room(an actual re-creation of Issac Dennison’s house on a hill just above it).
Passage to India
PASSAGE TO INDIA---David Leanis another director I admire---he is more famous for Lawrence of Arabia, but I love the atmosphere of the set design in this movie.
Marie Antoinette
MARIE ANTOINETTE---this movie is nothing short of a feast for the eyes---the colors are simply luscious—that’s the word for the look of this film—luscious.
The Age of Innocence
THE AGE OF INNOCENCE---I think this is the bestfilm Martin Scorseseever directed. It was as though you had stepped back into the late 19th century in old New York. His attention to detail in this film was quite simply perfect.
Something’s Got to Give
SOMETHINGS GOT TO GIVE---a lot of people loved these sets….it’s not at the top of my list, but because I do like this movie and think the sets are well done, I didn’t want to leave it out.
The English Patient
ENGLISH PATIENT---you may be wondering why I’m including this one since most of it take place in the desert. The sets in the hotel room in Alexandria, and other places in Egypt as well as the caves and tents, are brilliant. One of my favorite sets is the old churchwhere the English patient is cared for by one of the loveliest characters in any movie, played by Juliette Binoche (she won the Oscar for Best Actress). I think Anthony Mingellawas one of the best directors ever---he also directed The Talented Mr. Ripley.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON---I adored this movie---it spanned so many decades and each one is represented by the interiors so beautifully. From the 19th century New Orleans house where Benjamin (Brad Pitt) grew up to the ultra chic 60’s house he lives in with his wife, ­­­Daisy (Cate Blanchette) in the early days of their marriage.
My Fair Lady
A Room with a View
Remains of the Day
Howard’s End
Gosford Park
I won’t elaborate on these, but no list would be complete without naming MY FAIR LADY, A ROOM WITH A VIEW, REMAINS OF THE DAY, HOWARD’S END, GOSFORD PARK, and for that matter, almost any MERCHANT IVORY film.
We are off to Europe on a buying trip---will have a report on Venice and London sometime in October. Meanwhile, enjoy these movies!
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