10 filming locations in the footsteps of Harrison Ford...

From Petra to North Carolina, Harrison Ford travels the world like his various characters. And never forget, Han Solo shoots first.

Petra – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Probably the most cult place of the saga: the sumptuous ancient temple dug into the rock in which the Holy Grail is stored. Called Al-Khazneh (The Treasury), the building is a tomb whose façade is carved in sandstone. Dating from the 1st century BC, it is nicknamed The Treasure. Several bullet holes can be seen in the massive urn at the top of the building because the Bedouins, who lived in the area, thought it contained a precious treasure and therefore tried to pierce it. Although the monument became famous in 1989 thanks to the film, it had made its appearance in pop culture long before that. Indeed, the facade was illustrated as the refuge of the Emir Ben Kalish Ezab in the album Coke en Stock of the adventures of Tintin, published in 1958. Steven Spielberg is a big fan of Tintin. He also signed with Peter Jackson Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn in 2011.

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Planet Hoth – Star Wars, Episode V: Empire Strikes Back

Episode V of Star Wars begins with some blood-curdling scenes: the terrible frozen planet Hoth! It is in Norway, and more precisely at the glacier with the sweet name of Hardangerjøkulen, near Finse, that the team chose to shoot the scenes. In other words, you’ll have to be well equipped to get there and not rely on a friend to get into the belly of a Tauntaun to keep warm! Alec Guinness, interpreter of Obi-Wan Kenobi, shot all his scenes from The Empire Strikes Back in just six hours.

Address: Hardangerjøkulen, Fylkesveg, Bjordal, Norway

Deckard’s apartment (Harrison Ford) – Blade Runner

Ennis House - Wikimedia Commons photo by Mike Dillon
Ennis House – Wikimedia Commons photo by Mike Dillon

Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) lives in this residential complex. Built in 1924, its design is based on the ancient Mayan temples but also on other constructions of the architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Listed in the National Register of Historic Sites and the California Historical Landmark, the building appears in numerous works such as The Night of All Mysteries, Karate Kid 3, Grand Canyon, The Adventures of Rocketeer or Buffy Against Vampires. Many science fiction films do not receive praise from the scientific community for the credibility of their script. For Blade Runner, it’s just the opposite. In 2004, The Guardian asked sixty scientists to name their top ten feature films of the genre. Blade Runner was named the best science fiction film of all time, beating out 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Address: Ennis House, 2607 Glendower Avenue, Los Angeles, California, USA

Abandoned train – The Fugitive

Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) is transferred to prison with three other prisoners on a bus. After an escape attempt, he ends up on the railway tracks, on which a train is running at high speed. In extremis, Richard was able to extricate himself before the accident and the derailment of the train. These striking images were filmed without special effects. Now abandoned, the train and bus used by the production are still visible at the exact spot where the scene was shot. Harrison Ford likes details and was able to exert his influence in the film. For the interrogation scene, the actor asked director Andrew Davis to shoot with real police officers and without text. The goal was to be completely spontaneous and a little disoriented by the questions. So Harrison Ford improvised all his lines in the sequence.

Address: 973 Haywood Road, Sylva, North Carolina, USA

Vietnam – Apocalypse Now

All the war scenes in Vietnam were shot on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. If the film is a great success, the shooting was a real obstacle course. The helicopters used in the film were loaned by the then president, Ferdinand Marcos. At any time, the leader would take up his machines to hunt down and kill opponents of his regime. Moreover, the shooting was supposed to last six weeks, but in reality it took sixteen months because of several unforeseen events: Martin Sheen had a heart attack, Harvey Keitel was fired from the shoot, a typhoon destroyed the sets and the electrical installations, the editing of the film took two years and Francis Ford Coppola went into debt to finance the film, even to the point of mortgaging all his property.

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Elliot’s school, cameo of Harrison Ford – E.T.

In a scene cut during editing, Elliot (Henry Thomas) is summoned to the school principal’s home. The latter, visible from behind, is actually played by Harrison Ford. This brief cameo, shortly after The Raiders of the Lost Ark, was originally intended by Steven Spielberg before it was finally deleted. Culver City High School is not only known for hosting the filming of the film, but also for having among its alumni the American athlete Joe Faust, Darrin Jackson of the Chicago Cubs and Robert Trujillo, Metallica’s bassist.

Address: Culver City High School, 4401 Elenda Street, Culver City, California, USA

Statue of Liberty – Frantic

Statue of Liberty - Frantic with Harrison Ford
Statue of Liberty – Frantic

It is at the foot of the small Statue of Liberty, on Swan Island, that the final scene takes place, when the Walkers (Harrison Ford and Betty Buckley) meet again and Michelle (Emmanuelle Seigner) dies under the bullets. Offered by French people living in the United States, on the occasion of the centenary of the French Revolution, this statue is made after the plaster model of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi that was used for the statue in New York harbour. The sculptor wanted this replica to look westward, his older sister being on the other side of the Atlantic. But the inauguration, on 4 July 1889, should then have been done from a boat on the Seine in order to face the monument, which President Sadi Carnot refused.

Address: Statue of Liberty, 75015 Paris, France

Ramstein Air Base – Air Force One

Rickenbacker International Airport - Wikimedia Commons photo by Jm0371
Rickenbacker International Airport – Wikimedia Commons photo by Jm0371

As Russian terrorists storm Air Force One, the pilot attempts to land at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. In fact, it was Rickenbacker International Airport that was used as a stand-in at the U.S. Air Force Base in Germany. Opened in 1942, Rickenbacker Airport is both public and military. In addition to civilian passengers, the facility houses the 121st Air Refueling Wing and the Ohio Military Reserve Headquarters. For more realism, Harrison Ford asked Bill Clinton, the president in office before the film, to visit the real Air Force One. His request was accepted and the film crew was able to faithfully reproduce the aircraft, with the exception of the escape pod. This one’s totally fictional.

Address: Rickenbacker International Airport, 2295 John Cir Dr, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Old Royal Naval College – Patriot Games

Old Royal Naval College - Patriot Games with Harrison Ford
Old Royal Naval College – Patriot Games

Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) and his family are ambushed. This scene was shot at the Old Royal Naval College, regularly used in movies or television series as a set for a Victorian London or to shoot in peace. This is Tom Clancy’s second movie appearance as Tom Clancy, after being played by Alec Baldwin in The Hunt of Red October.

Address: Old Royal Naval College, London, UK

Race against Harrison Ford – American Graffiti

In American Graffiti, Harrison Ford plays Bob Falfa, a young speed freak. At the corner of Petaluma Boulevard and Western Avenue, he faces John Milner (Paul Le Mat) in a small urban race. The first collaboration between George Lucas and Harrison Ford? American Graffiti! Harrison Ford was then a carpenter and worked for Fred Roos, casting director at Universal. One day, the future Han Solo receives a call from this director to offer him a role in the film. Not much paid, he accepts nevertheless. This meeting was then decisive for the career of Harrison Ford, who became a pop culture legend.

Address: 98 Petaluma Boulevard North, Petaluma, California, USA

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Cult! movies: 100 mythical places of cinema [French Edition]

Since the dawn of cinema, films have invaded the world and highlighted sometimes unexpected places. Every film location has its secrets. The latter are sometimes as exciting as the feature films themselves.

Did you know that the cemetery where the final duel of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was built from scratch and that no body lies there? Or that the bus ofInto The Wild has been moved to discourage fans from spending the night there? From the story of the construction of The Bridge on the River Kwai to the incredible encounter during the shooting of the last scene ofIndiana Jones and the Last Crusadeembark on an exciting world tour with the greatest stars of the seventh art. Shiver in the real haunted house ofAmityville and discover the terrifying anecdotes of the making ofApocalypse Now in the Philippines. Visit the building of Blade Runner before stopping at Hogwarts and finally landing in Jurassic Parkin the middle of the Hawaiian archipelago. What if we also took you behind the scenes of the making of the Hobbits’ village of Lord of the Rings ?

Produced by a team of pop-culture specialists and enhanced by numerous anecdotes, Cult! movies tells the secrets of the places that made the history of cinema.

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By Damien Duarte

Friday, July 10, 2020

Passionné par la culture pop depuis son enfance, ses références vont de Donald Duck à Batman en passant par Marty McFly. Fantripper dans l'âme, voyager sur les traces de Ghostbusters, James Bond ou des héros de romans comme Cotton Malone fait partie d'un séjour idéal et réussi !

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