Traveling with Movie Buffs

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the plazaAn article in the USA Today called “10 great places to check into movie-hotel history” got me thinking about how much my family (especially my son Mike who is now a film student) have enjoyed the times when our love for movies and our love of travel has intersected.

The DVD for You’ve Got Mail has a tour of the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Zabars, Grey’s Papaya, Cafe Lalo took on a whole new meaning when they are seen not just as interesting places but as sets.

Kauai is not just an island in the Hawaiian Islands, it is where they filmed Jurassic Park. Each valley takes on a whole new look as imaginary dinosaurs run through them.

And the crowning experience for us was when we ran into a film crew on the streets of Sydney, Australia filming a car chase stunt from the film Superman Returns. We watched for hours as they setup the stunt. A car was heading through the pedestrian mall outside of the Metropolis Museum (it was the banners for the museum that first caught our eye) jumping off of a series of steps (and landing in a pile of cardboard boxes). Extras and stunt people were rehearsed. This was not a stunt they wanted to do twice. What took seconds in the film took hours to film.

By the way, the picture at the top of the article is the The Plaza New York.

Overlooking Central Park, the distinctive Plaza ? built in 1907 and currently undergoing a $400 million renovation ? is a familiar movie star. “Paul Hogan as Crocodile Dundee figured out the function of the bidet here, and Dudley Moore entertained working girls in the hotel’s famous Oak Bar in Arthur,” Reeves says. “But my favorite Plaza scene is the abduction of Cary Grant from the hotel’s lobby in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic North by Northwest.”

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

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