Friday, August 20, 2010

Déjà Vu All Over Again

All the big movie studios kept stock architectural elements on hand to reconfigure into new structures for different films. Perhaps the best-known example is from Gone With the Wind: the burning of Atlanta is, in fact, the burning of Skull Island from King Kong.

Well, I just spotted another instance of a dream factory being more factory than dream: I’m watching A Place In the Sun (I guess this is also a follow-up post to “An American Tragedy”) and during the lead up to the big, fat close-up of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift as they’re dancing, they walk past a curving staircase.

Hold on a minute, thought I. That staircase rings a bell. Let’s see. A Place In the Sun… Paramount… 1951. What else was made around that time by that studio? What other movie might have featured a grand, curving staircase?

Altogether now: Sunset Boulevard, naturally.

And in a mere two Google clicks I found the evidence I needed and which I present here. I like to think of Norma Desmond lurking at the top of the stairs and wondering who are all these little people desecrating her mansion.



  1. Pittsburgh Bruce Fan #1August 21, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    Nice sleuthing, Mr. Judson. And really, there's always an excuse to look at a picture with M. Clift in it.

  2. The staircase in Twelve Oaks in "GWTW" later appears in "Giant" and in the "Unsinkable Molly Brown"

  3. opps, forgot it alsoshows up in the Von Trapp house in "Sound of Music" too!

  4. Anony - you forgot about the Munster house. The staircase with Spot, the dragon, living beneath it.

  5. Methinks you boys are indulging in wishful thinking. Every single example you named is from a different studio. Highly unlikely they bothered to borrow a staircase.

  6. More recently, I saw the house from Pushing Daisies in Pleasantville. Weird.

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