The World Is Your Movie Set (Part III)

For the final entry in our three-part series, we start in France and then jump all the way to Southern California.

Amélie Cafe (Paris)
Much like Notting Hill, the neighborhood of Montmartre plays a large role in Amélie. And the Café des 2 Moulins (Cafe of the Two Windmills), where she works, is an actual cafe (the two windmills referenced are the Moulin Rouge and Moulin de la Galette). This is another one of those locations that is just like walking into the movie. Save for the framed poster in the back. I’m certain that most of the customers were tourists just like us.

Griffith Observatory (Los Angeles)
Now that my daughter lives in LA, I finally made it to Griffith Observatory. It was this experience that led me to feature it as an important location in The City Burns at Night. While many people were there because of La La Land, I was probably the only one there because of The Rocketeer. It also provides great views of both the city and the Hollywood Sign.

Die Hard Building (Los Angeles)
As I mentioned in our coverage of the Studios, 20th Century-Fox is really hard to get into. But right next door is one of the most iconic structures in all of moviedom: The Die Hard Building. It’s actually called Fox Plaza, since it’s located on a part of the former back lot. Chances are you can’t get past the lobby if you venture inside (I didn’t have time), but you can definitely stop by and get pictures.

Some Like It Hot Hotel (San Diego)
Yet another experience like stepping into the movie, except that you won’t be in black and white. Some Like It Hot was shot at the historic Hotel del Coronado (built in 1888) in San Diego. You’ll find a tribute hallway downstairs with life-size photos of Marilyn Monroe. There’s a ghost that lives there, too, but it’s not Marilyn (Kate Morgan). And if the hotel looks familiar, it was also the model for the Grand Floridian in Walt Disney World.

Veronica Mars Locations (San Diego)
This one is actually still on my wish-list (mostly). The first three seasons of Veronica Mars were shot in San Diego. I did actually stop by the Hilton San Diego, which stood in for the Neptune Grand. Though I still have to wonder why they didn’t use the US GRANT, which is just a few blocks away and far more impressive. The others require a bit of driving. The exterior for Mars Investigations is in Normal Heights at 3339 Adams Avenue. And the Mars residence is The Inn at Sunset Cliffs, where you can actually book a room (post pandemic, of course).

Blade Runner Building (Los Angeles)
When I finally made it to Downtown Los Angeles last year, there were three sites on the top of my list. All related to TV and movies. We hit two out of three. The first was City Hall (Dragnet), which offers free tours and visits to the observation deck. It’s only open Monday-Friday, so this one is still on my list. Next up was the Angels Flight funicular (M [1951 version], Kiss Me Deadly), which has been moved from its original spot, and is thankfully running again. But my number one location was The Bradbury Building, which has been in numerous films, such as M (1951 again) and The Artist. When we walked inside, my wife asked why I wanted to visit so badly. I explained that this was where they shot Blade Runner. She didn’t think anyone else knew this until she saw the plaque on the wall. And realized that all the other tourists were probably Blade Runner fans, too.

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