Joker: a super villain on the steps of glory


History of walks

This isn’t the first time a movie made staircases famous. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is the steps of the Philadelphia Museum, the site of one of Rocky’s most mythical scenes. Steps that Stallone will climb several times in the aftermath of his saga. Even today, not a day goes by without the museum esplanade being stormed by several dozen fans of the Italian stallion. in Washington D.C., these are the steps of The Exorcist…

Once upon a time in the Bronx

The Joker Steps are located in the Bronx, New York, at 167th Street, between Jerome Avenue and Anderson Avenue. In the film, Arthur Fleck, the sick and broken man who became the Joker…

If Joker immediately became a cult film, this sequence has become one of the most emblematic. The Bronx Marches became almost overnight a place of pilgrimage for fans. A craze that quickly divided the inhabitants of the neighborhood. While a small handful of people say that this surprising popularity is a good thing, the majority of others express their dissatisfaction, pointing the finger at the hundreds of people, sometimes as grim as the Joker, who come to have their picture taken and reproduce the famous dance. Some locals even decided to disrupt the photoshoots. A way for them to underline their fear of seeing their neighborhood gentrified because of the lighting brought by Todd Phillips’ film.

The sequence in which Arthur Fleck, disguised as a clown, waves his advertising sign before being assaulted, was filmed in front of the Paramount Theater in Newark, at 195 Market Street. Although production has made a few adjustments to give the front a “80s” look, it remains very recognizable. Originally a theatre specializing in vaudeville, Paramount Theater later became a movie theatre. It is now the subject of a rehabilitation project.

The Loews Jersey Theater in Jersey City can also be seen in the film. A town in which the Hudson County Courthouse is also located, which in the feature film is Wayne Hall.

The Joker that we find in Chinatown, when Arthur walks with Sophie Dumond (Zazie Beetz), his neighbour, or at the arch under the Manhattan Bridge, at 199 Cherry Street on the Lower East Side. Not forgetting the inevitable Arkham Asylum. A cult DC comic book place that has taken many forms in reality. Todd Phillips chose the Brooklyn Army Terminal for the exterior shots. The interiors were filmed in the Metropolitan Hospital.

While Joker 2 seems to loom on the horizon, Todd Phillips’ stunt has brought to light some forgotten places, such as the famous Bronx stairs. Further proof of cinema’s ability to transform sometimes banal places into authentic temples of pop culture, turning cities into open-air museums where fans wander like actors in their own adventures, between fiction and reality.

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By Anthony Thibault

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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