By Carla Charter
(Read Carla’s books on Amazon)
New England has many scenic vistas that attract not only tourists but filmmakers as well. If you too would like to walk in the footsteps of famous filmmakers, the following is a list of 12 movies filmed in New England and movie memorabilia from their visits that can still be seen today.
THE STEPFORD WIVES (1975)
This 1975 classic of the story of the perfect wives who instead were perfect robots was filmed in several places in Connecticut including Goodwives Shopping Center in Darien, Connecticut. The Stepford Men’s Association building portrayed in the movie is actually the Lockwood Mathews Mansion in Norwalk, Connecticut. It was built in 1868, sits in the middle of Mathews Park and is opened for tours.
STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951)
This murder thriller about a man in an unhappy relationship who meets a stranger on a train who has a hated father. Although they discuss exchanging murders on the train, one man does not take the conversation seriously, until his wife is found murdered in an amusement park. Not surprisingly the movie was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The Danbury Railway Museum, where scenes of the movie were filmed have a display of photographs from the filming.
(1957)-Peyton Place, a story about a small prim new England town with less than rim goings on behind the scenes, is based on the novel by Grace Metalious. The movie starring Lana Turner and Hope Lange starred in this film which was said to be moderately successful until 1958 when Lana Turner’s daughter killed her mother’s mobster lover. Historical archives regarding the movie can be found at the Camden Library website at http://www.librarycamden.org/learn-research/walsh-history-center/peyton-place-archives-and-map-of-filming-locations/
PET SEMETERY (1989)
No film location list would be complete of Maine movie sites without mentioning at least one movie based on a Stephen King novel. The movie version of Pet Semetary, a story about those coming back from the dead albeit changed, , has a scene with King himself has a cameo as a minister presiding over a funeral in Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor, Maine. The cemetery is one of the nation’s oldest garden cemeteries at more than 181 years old.
GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997)
Good Will Hunting, the story of a misguided youth with a genius level IQ and the professor decides to help hi, was filmed in several locations around Boston, including the Boston Public garden. Visitors to the public garden can stop and view the bench in front of the lagoon, from the iconic movie scene.
Much of the movie Jaws, the story of a man-eating sharks which terrorized beach goers was filmed on Marthas Vineyard. Among the Jaws related sites to visit on Marthas Vineyard include Menemsha, where much of the movie was set, the American Legion Memorial Bridge between Edgartown and oak Bluffs-the Jaws Bridge in the movie, The Joseph Sylvia State Beach on Oaks Bluff, where in the movie Alex Kintner got attacked, Gay head Light In Aquinnah, where the mayor Brody and Hooper argue about keeping the beaches open. Edgartown Town Hall, which served as Amity Town Hall in the movie, Chappy Ferry in Edgartown , the ferry was a principal camera boat for the production and where Brady is convinced by the mayor to keep the beaches open, and South Beach in Edgartown where the opening scenes of the movie were filmed.
In Jumanji a rediscovered board game, is let loose on the town of Brantford. In one memorable scene there is a stampede of animals running down Main Street. That scene was shot in Keene. On West Street in Keene, Visitors can see a mural advertisement for Parrish Shoes, the fictional shoe company in Jumanji.
OUR TOWN (1940)
This version of the Thornton Wilder classic, about family conflict in a small New England town, was filmed in Peterborough. It is believed the town served as the inspiration for Wilder’s play which he wrote while in residence at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough. The Third International Thornton Wilder Conference will be held in Peterborough on July12-14,2018. The conference will include paper panels, roundtable discussions, presentations, readings and social events. The Peterborough Players will perform Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize Winning Play, The Skin of Our Teeth and there will be a walking tour of Wilder relate sites in Peterborough as well as a bus tour to the MacDowell Colony, where Wilder is said to have worked on Our Town. More information can be found at the Society website. http://www.twildersociety.org/third-international-thornton-wilder-conference/
THE GREAT GATSBY (1974)
Rosecliff Mansion in Newport , was transformed into the home of Jay Gatsby, the self-made Millionaire, for the remake of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel. Among the Newport mansions where the movie was filmed include Rosecliff Mansion and the Marble House both located on Bellevue Avenue.
HIGH SOCIETY (1956)
Grace Kelly’s last movie before becoming princess of Monaco was also filmed in Newport. In one scene Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly are seen driving along Ocean Boulevard in Newport. When not filming Kelly stayed at the Castle Hill Inn whose private beach is named the Grace Kelly Beach.
THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY (1955)
Another Hitchcock, this time a dark romantic comedy was filmed in Craftsbury, Vermont. The film Crew came to Craftsbury in September 1954, to film fall foliage. Unfortunately there wasn’t any so the crew instead had to glue leaves to the trees. The Craftsbury Historical Society, www.townofcraftsbury.com/craftsbury-historical-society/ has a collection of memorabilia from the movie.
WAY DOWN EAST (1920)
This silent movie of a country girl tricked into a sham marriage includes a heart racing scene where Lillian Gish flats down the river on an ice floe. The scene was filmed in White River Junction and no special effects were used. The actors stayed at the Junction House, now the Coolidge House in White River Junction, which is still operating today.