Culture Snappin’ USA – Part 4 – Dirty Harry (1971): Filming Locations

Northern California is known for many things… Hippies, Zinfandel wines, as the birthplace of both the Beats and the Black Panthers, tremendous scenic beauty, devastating earthquakes and the Symbionese Liberation Army. For me however, it’s Clint Eastwood’s domain, and synonymous with both the man and his fictional characters.

Dirty Harry Logo

The character that is traditionally most associated with Eastwood is of course, Dirty Harry. Starting life as a script entitled Dead Right. It was initially to feature Frank Sinatra and be directed by Sidney Pollack, however the script was eventually acquired by Warner Brothers, filtered to Eastwood and his Malpaso production group, who in turn hired Don Siegel to direct it. The film came in on a relatively low budget and under schedule and benefitted from Eastwood’s desire to do most of his own stunts, most notably the jump from a railway trestle bridge onto a speeding school bus.

Eastwood Bus Jump...

Eastwood Doing His Own Stunts – Photo Stolen From Web

Detailing the desperate attempt to bring to justice a maniacal sniper (played Andy Robinson), who is black mailing city authorities by killing successive victims unless a huge ransom is paid, in a similar manner to Death Wish (1974) (see https://theeasternterraces.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/culture-snappin-usa-part-3-death-wish-1974-filming-locations), the film shows that a responsible lone individual is a more effective instrument of law and order than the apparatus of the state, and the toll that maintaining such a thin blue line rests upon those weary and foolish enough to maintain its imprint.

DH City Hall

City Hall – Lower Photo & Diptych By Author

By modern standards, Dirty Harry may seem somewhat tame, however at the time of its release it garnered significant notoriety due to the fact that the cop played by Eastwood, fought violence with violence and played by his own rules. In the eyes of a wider public who were fed up with increasing crime, this made him a hero. In the eyes of certain critics – notably New York Times’ Pauline Kael – this made him a fascist, and at the 1971 Academy Awards there were protests outside the auditorium by left wing elements holding signs proclaiming ’Dirty Harry Is A Rotten Pig’.

Eastwood, not one to hold back on his opinions, responded to Kael’s criticism in a contemporary interview by commenting, “I’d say she’s crazy.”

Don Siegel when asked about the level of violence in the film said, “I dimly remember that at the end of Hamlet there are five bodies lying around, so that’s balderdash. This constantly plainted ditty against violence – if people didn’t want it, they wouldn’t go to the movies.”

Dirty Harry was a major success. It quickly out grossed all of Eastwood’s previous films and ushered in an era of Vigilante flicks such as Walking Tall (1972) and Death Wish (1974). If critics were divided, audiences weren’t. They stood in line in huge numbers to see Eastwood kick some ass.

Washinton Square Logo

Washington Square Park – Lower Photo & Diptych By Author

It was the fourth collaboration between Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood. In their first project Coogan’s Bluff (1968), the two skilfully relocated Eastwood’s man with no name to an urban setting. Dirty Harry is an elaboration of that idea and character. He now has a back story of a dead wife who was lost in an accident and years of police work have hardened him and made him reckless to both himself and his partners. Callahan is not the superhero that he became in the subsequent sequels, and the ambivalence of the character often comes to the fore. Therefore early on, he approaches a robbery with his gun drawn and not taking cover, whilst later he climbs aboard a cherry picker without thinking to grab a jumper from a roof.

Robbery Shootout

Harry Callahan With a Chip On His Shoulder – Screenshot Stolen From Web

Andy Robinson is perfect as the antagonist. Originally rejected by Siegel due to the fact he looked angelic and attractive, it was later realised that the killer would be far more frightening if indeed he was the antithesis of a screen villain and he was cast accordingly. The choice was a wise one and Robinson essayed one of the most memorable screen villains of all time.  From doing a huge flip on the football field, ad-libbing the line “my that’s a big one” in response to Callahan’s 44., showing a neon Jesus sign who’s boss or letting out a scream that would put Fay Wray to shame, he is the incontestably the best screen crazy ever committed to celluloid. So much so, he apparently put himself out of work for about a decade or so, as people could not imagine him as anything else or were too frightened to work with him. He didn’t re-appear on the silver screen much again (1973’s Charley Varrick not withstanding) until the 1980s when he was cast as a police chief in Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra (1986) – coincidentally featuring  Dirty Harry’s Rene Santoni  – or against type as the most normal person in Clive Barker’s Hell Raiser (1987).

Scorpio Scream

Scorpio Screaming For America – Photo stolen from web

Huge props must also be given to the composer Lalo Schifrin who was on a streak in the late 1960s to early 1970s. A classically trained conductor from South America with a passion for jazz, Schifrin provided a number of seminal scores for Hollywood golden era movies such as Enter The Dragon (1973), Bullit (1968) and Cool Hand Luke (1967), whilst also finding time to provide the distinctive theme music for the Mission Impossible television series (1966). In Dirty Harry, Lalo showed the world the power of a hi-hat breakdown and conducted some of the best kick drum sounds ever recorded to wax.

Lalo Schifirin

Lalo Schifrin – Photo stolen from web

Dirty Harry was filmed on location in San Francisco, with the only studio based scene being the opening bank robbery sequence which was shot on the Universal back lot. Siegel reportedly complained that the location shooting put enormous strain on him. One problem being that night sequence filming was usually limited to a few hours due to resident complaints that all the filming activity was keeping them awake.

Don Siegal & Eastwood

Don Siegel & Clint Eastwood On Set – Photo Stolen From Web

I visited these locations in early 2015, and as much possible, attempted to view them at a similar time of day to when they were filmed. Due to time constraints and my own fears however I visited Mt Davidson around 4pm in the afternoon rather than at night-time, as I had no wish to be solicited by Alice or his modern day contemporaries.

The Cross Logo

The Cross – Photo By Author

Surprisingly, in our current CNN terrorist contrived environment, no one seemed to give a shit about what I was doing. I stood at the Marina around 12.30am filming the boats near a construction crew and no one asked me what I was up to.

Marina Logo

The Marina – Photo By Author

Similarly, I filmed the entrance to the Fort Mason Tunnel (which is now blocked off) in front of a Safeway – itself briefly featured in 1968’s Bullit – around 1am and no one seemed to care.

Tunnel 1 LogoTunnel 2 Logo

The Tunnel – Photo By Author

At the other side of said tunnel, near the now defunct hamburger stand, my only competition for the space was a drop bear squirrel (which frankly scared the shit out of me when it fell from the top of the tunnel exit to my feet) and what I can now only assume was a drug dealer who sat in black Lexus with all his lights off, but engine quietly running at about 1:30am.

Tunnel 3 Logo Hamburger Stand_Logo

Tunnel Exit & Hamburger Stand – Photos by Author

Interestingly, the marina and the tunnel are super close. It is demonstrative of Scorpio’s meanness that he asked Harry to go from the Marina, to Forest Hills Station and then back to Aquatic Park. The Marina, tunnel and hamburger stand are within extremely close proximity, and whilst Forest Hills Station and Mt Davidson are very close, they are nowhere near these locations

Speaking of which, special thanks must be given to the kind ticket master at Forest Hills Station. I walked in and said I was there only for Dirty Harry nostalgia and not a BART ticket, and he was awesome enough to let me though the gates, film what I needed and then let me out again. He even looked slightly perturbed when a homeless guy started accosting people (including me) near the turnstiles.

DH2 DH3

Forest Hill Station – Photos By Author

The Alley that was the location for Hot Mary and her boyfriend, was only occupied by a Chinese Chef at 11pm when I filmed it.

Hot Mary 1 LogoHot Mary 2 Logo

Hot Mary Alley – Photos by Author

Conversely the location at the corner of Turk and Polk Street where Harry convinces a jumper to come down, was absolutely loaded with crazy homeless people around 2am. I literally had to wait for the all clear before leaping out of my rented Mustang and taking the footage as quickly as possible while a basehead looking guy (reminiscent of Flava Flav’s lean years) repeatedly circled the block screaming ‘What time is it’ at the top of his lungs.

Jumper Lobby Card

Jumper Logo

Jumper Building – Photo By Author

Columbus Avenue is cool whatever time of day and North Beach in general was my favourite part of San Francisco. City Hall was no problem and the China Town / Downtown area where you can locate both the Hilton Hotel (where the opening death was filmed) and the building on 555 California Street (the vantage point from where Scorpio shoots this first victim) are easy enough to find.

Scorpio 555 Opening Shot

Scorpio’s View From 555 Building – Screenshot Stolen From Web

555 Building Logo

Building Where Scorpio First Shoots From – Photo By Author

The thing is though, unlike the other locations, if it weren’t for the film, you wouldn’t want to go there. 555 and The Hilton are either downtown business city until 5pm, or absolute fucking freak show central after 8pm. Either way, I had to give them a pass.  I did visit the Hall of Justice featured briefly in the film, however as this was at approximately 4:45pm, I found myself unable to stop and was soon bundled onto a freeway that lead me out to Oakland. If you choose to visit, I suggest you do it between 11am and 3pm.

The results of my explorations my be seen in another shakily filmed clip below:

 

San Francisco, is a beautiful city for the most part, and two of my best times within its boundaries were sitting at the apex of the hill at Kearny Street (one street over from Romolo Place where Scorpio limps up after being busted by Harry at Roaring 20s). The view from here is fantastic, no one ever bothers you even late at night, and you have a great view of San Francisco, the Trans America Pyramid and its surrounds.

Favourite View Logo

My Favourite Place in San Francisco – Photo By Author

I’ll close this post in the same way I closed my Death Wish one… With some selected panels from the Mad Magazine satire of this movie published around 1971 or 1972. Again, I have to note that the writers and publishers of Mad Magazine were on totally on point in the 1960s, 1970s and up to the mid 1980s. One of the greatest streaks of modern publishing in this author’s opinion. To think that they were churning out stuff like this before video, DVD and digital downloads and just using studio stills or their memory to turn out hilarious parodies like this month after month. My proverbial hat is forever tipped in their direction.

Mad 1

Dirty Larry – Copyright E.C. Publications 1971

Mad 2

Dirty Larry – Copyright E.C. Publications 1971

Mad 3

Dirty Larry – Copyright E.C. Publications 1971

Mad 4

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

JAPAN 1970: The Future Was Then

Expo Splash

Japan was flying high in 1970. With the swift modernisation that came in the face of crushing world war defeat and the ever increasing GDP accrued from their manufacturing and patenting successes of the 1960s, the future must have seemed bright.

The Tokyo Olympics of 1964 placed an international seal of approval upon their direction / capital city in the classic tradition of the IOC anointing up and coming countries with money.  Osaka – no doubt with a significant chip on its shoulder (which still survives today) – sought their own recognition and solicited the Bureau of International Expositions to allow Osaka to host a world exposition, finally succeeding in 1965.

Organisers show Logo in 1966

Let The Kickbacks Begin. Photo stolen from web.

World expositions sadly no longer have the cache they once did. In a globalised world, connected by the internet, the opportunity to find out anything about another country is limited by only one’s imagination and typing capabilities. However in the mid 1960s they were still big business and showcased new ideas, technologies and ideologies in equal measure to a populace that may not otherwise have seen them.

For example, the preceding world fair held in Montreal in 1967 gave the first wide exposure to split screen film technology which would shortly be utilised and celebrated in 1968’s Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen. Similarly Buckminster Fullers geodesic dome of the same fair gave hippies and forward looking architects everywhere the opportunity to imagine and create badly built commune styled buildings for future lifestyle choices.  Whilst in 1970, the Fuji pavilion demonstrated the first ever use of IMAX and early mobile phone and MAGLEV train technology was showcased elsewhere within the same Expo.

Thus, it’s of little surprise given the technological advances between 1960 and 1970, that most people of that time imagined that moon colonies and hover cars would be a reality by 2005. That obviously (and sadly) failed to happen. Countries got lazy, funding dried up and technology in the succeeding years seems to have only been measured by the ability to make something smaller and perhaps add a clock to it.

Despite the fact that such progress was temporary at best, opposition to the Expo from left wing students and environmentalists at the time was rife. Demonstrations were staged in Shinjuku and Kyoto by a group known as Expo70 Destruction Joint-Struggle Group. Unlike Japanese student demonstrations of 1968 however, the protests – whilst theatrical – were nonetheless also relatively peaceful and were limited to participants collectively holding hands and running towards buildings or standing in the streets shouting slogans at passersby.

Furthermore, the majority of antipathy was directed towards the destruction of natural land in order to create the expo site itself, and as such, may be seen as primarily ecological in nature and anti-governmental only as a secondary objective.

World expositions are traditionally known for their outlandish architecture and design, and as the first exposition to be held in Asia, the host country and its participants were seemingly determined to be as bizarre and forward looking as technology and time would allow. As Gunhild Borggreen states in the essay, ‘Ruins of the Future: Yanobe Kenji Revisits Expo ‘70’, “…Designed and built as a unified entity from the beginning, the site of Expo ’70 came to signify a large scale model of the city of the future…”

Structures 1970

Overview of Festival Plaza and Official Time Clock. Scan by author.

Australian Pavillion

Australian Pavilion. Photo stolen from web.

Bulgaria Pavillion

Bulgarian Pavilion. Photo stolen from web.

Iasma Nogushi Fountain

Fountain designed by Isamu Noguchi. Photo stolen from web.

Gas pavillion

Gas Pavilion. Photo stolen from web.

Swiss Pavillion

Swiss Pavilion. Photo stolen from web.

Toshiba Pavillion

Toshiba Pavilion. Photo stolen from web.

Ricoh & Kodak

Ricoh & Kodak Pavilions. Photo stolen from web.

Expo Pavillions

Other Pavillions. Photo stolen from web.

Insides 1970

Insides II 1970

Inside Pavilions. Scans by author.

At the time, local design was running wild too. Kenji Ekuan (who designed the ubiquitous Kikkoman soy sauce bottle and Japan’s Nerita Express train), was throwing down future metropolis designs like the prototypical Dwelling City 1964.

Kenji Ekuan, Dwelling City, 1964

Dwelling City 1964. Photo stolen from the web.

Which in this author’s mind was later plundered by the designers of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Kenji Ekuan, Evanelion Ramiel Angel

Kenji Ekuan, Evanelion Ramiel Angel2

Neon Genesis Evangelion. Screenshots stolen from the web.

Similarly forward thinking architects Kenzo Tange and Uzo Nishiyama were appointed to produce the master plan for the 1970 Expo site and a number of other architects were drafted to make individual contributions to certain buildings, features or pavilions, including Kenzo Tange’s protégé Kisho Kurokawa who designed the Takara Beautillion which was a capsule based residential design.

Takara Beautillion2

Takura Beutillion

Takara Beautillion. Photos stolen from the web.

For Kenzo Tange and his acolytes had recently created one of the twentieth century’s newest architectural styles which would feature heavily in this master plan. Based around the idea of living cities and flexible design, they had launched ‘Metabolism’ is 1960. The name ends with an ‘..ism’ in order to be congruous with other major 20th century architecture forms (such as ‘modernism, ‘internationalism’ etc.) and the base word correlates with the idea that modern buildings were to be dynamic and interchangeable. Each building was to contain a central core of services (access, water, electricity and sewage) and the remainder of the structure detached, re-attached and altered as per specific (or individual) needs.

Metabolism Poster

Metabolism Poster. Photo stolen from web.

Held between March and September 1970, the Expo attracted over 60 million people and over 70 countries participated in the event. In case people required further entertainment, a full amusement park was built adjacent to the site and christened as Expoland.

Expo & ExpoLand Panorama 1970

Expo (LHS) & Expoland (RHS) Before the Opening 1970. Scan by author.

Not much of the Expo ’70 site remains. Within a year the majority of these crazy pavilions had either been demolished or fallen into a precarious state of semi-ruination that prohibited their re-use. Nowadays, all that is left is the Japanese steel pavilion which currently houses the Expo ’70 museum. I visited in late 2012 and you can get the feeling of the minimalist (indeed brutalist) architecture and pay homage to the remaining colourful costumes of the participants and the eerie splendour of remaining empty space which 40 years hence had previously housed so many people and their futuristic dreams.

Expo Remaining Pavillion_ET

Expo Pavillion Inside_ET

Expo ’70 Site Circa 2012. Photos by author.

Statue Front Then & Now_ET

Tower of the Sun designed by Taro Okamoto. Lower Photo and Diptych by author.

Fountains Then & Now_ET

Fountain Area. Lower Photo and Diptych by author

[Also imagine building an entire monorail line to only be used for 6 months and then scrapped].

FrameworkThen & Now_ET

Festival Plaza Tubular Framework. Lower Photo and Diptych by author

Statue Back Then & Now_ET

Back of the Tower of the Sun. Lower Photo and Diptych by author

ExpoLand_ET

Expoland Circa late 2012. Photo by author.

ExpoLand_Lines_ET

Expoland Ticket Booths Circa Late 2012. Photo by author.

After the Expo, a real estate company president who had admired Kurokawa’s Takara Beautillion, commissioned him to build an apartment tower for single salary men (business men) in central Tokyo based upon the capsule idea he had exhibited.

Constructed on the border of Ginza near both shopping areas and a railway station in 1972, the Nakagin Capsule Tower has been an icon of the area for more than 40 years. It contains 140 capsules serviced by two cores of varying heights. Each capsule measures approximately 10 square metres in floor area and originally featured a bed, desk, calculator, tape deck, television and plastic moulded bathroom typical of any Japanese business hotel.

Elevations_Domus Magazine March 1973

Nakagin Elevations. Drawing taken from Domus Magazine March 1973.

Nakagin Interior Circa 1972Nakagin Interior 2

Interior Views. Photos stolen from web.

Nakagin-Capsule-Tower-Bathroom

Nakagin Bathroom. Photo stolen from web.

Predominantly built off site and then assembled on location, the tower was completed within a short time and every capsule was independent from another and able to be attached / detached as required.

Nakagin Construction

Nakagin Construction2

Construction of the Tower Circa 1972. Photos stolen from web.

The exterior is reminiscent of a pile of washing machines and actually draws comparison with another famous World Expo item, Habitat 67 designed by Israeli / Canadian architect Moshe Safdie for the 1967 Montreal Expo.

Habitat 67

Habitat 67. Photo stolen from web.

The capsules (like virtually all Japanese architecture) were made to be replaced every 25 years and detached and renovated as necessary. Alternatively, the capsules could be detached and moved to other Metabolist building structures, which although envisioned, sadly failed to ever materialise I shape or form anywhere else in Japan.

Nagasin Capsule 2Nakagin Bathroom

Nakagin Interior Views. Photos stolen from web.

Consequently,  a building that was meant to be refreshed every 30 years or so, has lasted for more than 40, and while too young to qualify for architectural preservation (being less than 50 years old), has nonetheless outworn is usefulness and lifespan. At the time of my last visit in late 2015, the building was encased in netting ‘lest it drop debris on passersby, 60% of the circular windows were piled high with garbage and the front doors wore a vehement ‘if you don’t live here – fuck off’ notice.

Nakagin Exterior_ET

Nakagin Exterior Circa Late 2015. Photo by author.

Nakasin Enterance 2

Nakagin Entrance_ET

Nakagin Entrance Circa Late 2015. Photos by author.

The windows originally contained a paper window screen that rotated in a clockwise manner to provide shade and privacy which fell apart within a few years. This has thus left the few current residents to find make shift methods of providing similar facilities including curtains and blinds. The insulation that lay between the inner and outer layers of each capsule was made of asbestos which has deteriorated and now the capsules are both too hot in summer and too cold in winter. Furthermore, they are a potential health hazard too as the asbestos fibres may get in the air conditioning ducts and travel throughout the building.

Nakagin Exterior Closeup_ET

Various Window Shade Solutions. Photo by author.

Interior Ruined

Ruined Capsule Interior. Photo stolen from web.

Partially for this reason, the central air conditioning is now permanently turned off, as is the hot water, which was disconnected in 2010. Current residents now only have the choice of a common area shower on the ground floor, utilising whatever public sentos [baths] remain in the area or cold water bathing in their own cubicle bathrooms.

Nakagin Exterior 6_ET Nakagin Exterior 4_ET Nakagin Exterior 2_ETNakagin Exterior_3 ET

Exterior Views Circa Late 2015. Photos by author.

Other than this fairly amazing piece of Metabolism, few others were created. Kiyonori Kikutake later designed the Aquapolis for the 1975 Okinawa Expo which is essentially a James Bond villain lair tethered to a coastline. It was allowed to stay there until 1993 and then was unceremoniously towed towards Shanghai and scrapped.

Aquapolis Okinawa 1975_2Aquapolis Okinawa 1975_3

Aquapolis. Photos stolen from web.

Another Metabolist named Kisho Kurokawa would go on to design further capsule orientated design including the Sony Tower in Osaka as well as the Kuwatii Embassy in Japan.

Kurokawa, 1976 (demolished in 2006)

Sony Tower Osaka 1976. Photo stolen from web.

Kuwait Embassy (stolen from Flickr)

Kuwaiti Embassy 1979. Photo stolen from web.

After the seventies though, the concept essentially died – arguably much like the imagination and hope of the post 1960s dreamers that designed and implemented both it and the 1970 Expo. The Sony Tower was torn down in 2006 and in 2016 fewer people take chances, the world is smaller and money is less likely to be spent on physical testimonies to utopian philosophies. Indeed, if money can’t be made by appealing to the widest array of people for the cheapest possible cost, it won’t get constructed.

You know you are living in a shitty time when hope can only be found in the past.

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

RESOURCES:

Scans were taken from the book EXPO’70 驚愕! 大阪万国博覧会のすべて and elevation drawings from Domus Magazine March 1973.

Ruins of the Future: Yanobe Kenji Revisits Expo ‘70 can be found at: http://www.performanceparadigm.net/index.php/journal/article/view/22/19

 

Stone Island – KT721

SI_Logo

Whilst wandering around the men’s department of Shinjuku Isetan, I came across a Stone Island counter. This would have been surprising if I had not already encountered one in the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Ginza a few days earlier, and now having the time I decided to peruse some items.

Isetan Map

Isetan Shinjuku Map. Screenshot by author.

As Californian rapper Rasco once said, ‘Time waits for no man’, and indeed in my advancing years I find myself drawn to items I would never have considered in my early twenties. Noticeably knitwear, which although once considered only the province of my grandpa, I now know to be considerably cooler by virtue of the fact that Steve McQueen preferred to get around in shawl necks in his prime 1960s years.

McQueen-Cardigan

Steve McQueen Repping Wool. Photo stolen from web.

So, looking for a new item that bore no resemblance to anything else I owned, I chanced upon a funnel neck cardigan that I believe is rather generically named ‘KT721’.

Knitwear_1

Knitwear_2

Unwrapping. Photos by author.

They come in a variety of colours, and without doubt white is – by far – the best looking one. I bought grey nonetheless, as having previously owned white clothes before, I know better than to ever, ever buy some again.  Unless of course, I wind up joining a cult… however presumably at that point, I am unlikely to be making my own choices regarding anything.

White VersionGray Version

White Versus Grey. Photos stolen from web.

It has a traditional button up front with a sneaky zip underneath, a very warm neck that can button up on itself and the standard Stone Island compass patch on the left arm.

Knitwear_3Knitwear_5

Knitwear_6

Zip and Buttons. Photos by author.

Inside the garment, you get a few spares buttons as well.

Knitwear_7

Spare Buttons. Photo by author.

The inside tag features some kind of clothing equivalent of microdot technology that enables the owner to identify whether it is legit or not and where it came from. Called Certilogo, interested customers can use the 12 digit code from the label  to check the authenticity of the item. Having bought this from a Japanese department store though I don’t feel the need, but appreciate the idea having seen how many fakes there are online.

Whilst hardly a bargain at close to $600 (AUD), this is nonetheless a comfortable, warm and in my opinion stylish piece of old man’s clothing.

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

LINKS:

Isetan Department Store: http://isetan.mistore.jp/store/shinjuku/index.html

[FYI, The Stone Island counter was located in what could only be described as the casuals section of the men’s department. Immediately adjacent were Montcler, Lacoste, Victorinox and Burberry/Aquascutum].

Stone Island: http://www.stoneisland.com/au

Culture Snappin’ USA – Part 3 – Death Wish (1974): Filming Locations

“We were driving to Kennedy airport in 1973 to shoot the last scene of The Stone Killer, the third film we made together, when Charlie asked me what we should do next. I told him I had this script about a man whose wife and daughter are mugged and then the man goes out and shoots muggers. I mentioned that I’d had it for five years but no one seemed interested. Charlie said, ‘I’d like to do it.’ I said, ‘What, you mean you want to do this movie?’ And Charlie replied, ‘No, I’d like to shoot muggers”.

Michael Winner – Director of Death Wish

Splash

Michael Winner’s 1974 film ‘Death Wish’ rarely sits upon any film guide’s top ten and yet it is one of the more referenced and controversial films of its era. Providing the same kind of view of the big apple that the Dirty Harry films had of San Francisco, the film shows muggers, hoods and rapists lurking around every corner and the thin blue line too powerless or apathetic to make any difference.

Enter one lone individual with a loaded gun and a sense of frontier justice and a franchise is born.

Following on from both the amazing Dirty Harry (1971) and the frankly pretty shit, Walking Tall (1973), Death Wish helped usher in a wave of vigilante films and was based upon Brian Garfield’s identically titled 1972 novel. Garfield reportedly having left a party on the upper west side of Manhattan (coincidently where Bronson’s character lives in the film), came back to find his car window broken and his coat stolen. Thinking to himself how he would’ve killed the perpetrator if he had caught him in the act, Garfield conjured the idea of a twisted avenger, an accountant no less, taking revenge on any scumbag that crosses his path in the wake of his wife’s murder.

Like the protagonist of First Blood by David Morrell, which was later turned into the first Rambo movie, this character was damaged and becomes increasingly more so though out the course of the story. The film’s main character Paul Kersey however, like the cinematic version of John Rambo, was seen as a hero at the time of the film’s release with his psychopathic actions ignored or downplayed. Echoes of the psychosis may be seen in Bronson’s stony faced performance, but whether by Winner’s design or Bronson’s lack of ability, they remain only that.

Winner & Bronson(Ronald Grant Archive)

Michael Winner & Charles Bronson On Set. Ronald Grant Archive

The book was purchased by a film production duo, who after commissioning several drafts, on sold it to the Italian movie magnate Dino de Laurentiis, who hired Michael Winner, who in turn cast Charles Bronson with whom he had previously worked. Filmed on location in New York City in January 1974, Bronson, as Vincent Carnaby memorably describes in his contemporary review, “…roams the night time streets of New York, which… are so filled with vandals, would-be muggers, rapists and the like that Charlie never goes home without scoring. On streets, in parks, on subway platforms, in subway cars. It’s like shooting ducks in a bird sanctuary”.

In the face of such criticism, producer de Laurentiis stated, “Violence is not typical of New York alone. All big cities are jungles. New York is a symbol of all the metropolitan areas of our planet”.

Certainly, along with the previously noted The Warriors (1979), Taxi Driver (1976), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Coogans Bluff (1968) and The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 (1974), this was a film that perversely made me want to visit New York City. An urban nightmare on the edge of insanity, an asphalt playground where anything went, New York seemed a million miles away from where I grew up watching it from the comfort of a VCR. Thankfully though, it was not like that when I visited and I was able to walk in Paul Kersey’s footsteps without fear of having to clock a mugger with a sock full of pennies.

Bronson Sock Full O Pennies

Charles Bronson And His Sock Full o’ Pennies. Screenshot by Author

As it was filmed in winter, many of the places I visited looked much the same 41 years later. The night before searching the locations, I watched a copy of the film from my base at the St James Hotel, itself featured in a number of films, notably Maniac (1980), Big (1987) and Cruising (1980).

St James Hotel

St James Hotel. Diptych by author

Over the course of the next afternoon/evening, I managed to find the D’ Agostino market featured prominently in the film, Kersey’s uptown apartment, the stone steps he walks down to shoot his first mugger (coincidently also used in The Warriors) and the midtown café where he lures two heist men to their doom. The café, although shuttered, still has the same neon sign it had in 1974, but midtown itself no longer has the scary vibe shown in Taxi Driver or Maniac. The closest thing I saw to crime was when some guy tried to sell me weed on the street.

Death Wish Credits

72nd Street Station. Diptych by author

Death Wish Apt Building1

Kerseys Building/ Sidewalk. Diptych by author

Death Wish Apt Building2

Kersey’s Building / Sidewalk. Diptych by author

Death Wish Service Entrance

Apartment Service Entrance. Diptych by author

Death Wish Steps

Riverside Park Steps. Diptych by author

Death Wish Bus Stop

Where Kersey Gets Off The Bus. Diptych by author

Death Wish_Subway

8th Avenue Subway. Diptych by author

The results of this exploration may be seen in another shakily filmed clip below. In my own defence, it was freezing when I shot this footage and every removal of my gloves almost resulted in frostbite.

 

Almost a decade later Winner resurrected Paul Kersey for the incredibly scuzzy Death Wish II (1982) and the so bad, it’s downright awesome, Death Wish III (1985). Indeed Death Wish III has to be seen to be believed. Its cardboard characters are so caricatured as to almost be rendered as a live action cartoon.

Speaking of which, the 1974 Mad Magazine satire of Death Wish is pretty funny and I’ll close out this post with some selected panels. New York based William Gaines & Co. were on a streak between 1965 and 1985 that no other publication has ever matched.

Mad Panels 1

Death Wishers – Copyright E.C. Publications 1974

Mad Panels 2

Death Wishers – Copyright E.C. Publications 1974

 

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Culture Snappin’ USA – Part 2 – The Warriors (1979): Filming Locations

Eastern Terraces_ The Warriors Logo

As previously posted in February, I took an opportunity to visit the United States earlier this year and whilst there indulged myself in tracking down the locations of some of my favourite twentieth century cultural moments in an attempt to match the present with the past. (See: https://theeasternterraces.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/culture-snappin-usa-part-one/)

One film above all others had long incited me to visit New York City… Walter Hill’s 1979 gang opus ‘The Warriors’.

ConeyBridge

Wonderwheel and Bridge. Diptychs by author.

Having first seen it at the tender age of ten and some sixty times since, its power to entertain, thrill and delight me has certainly not diminished over the years. Scripted by Hill from Sol Yurick’s 1965 novel of the same name, the film elected to discard much of the social commentary and depressing reality of the original story to instead distil it down to the more photogenic tale of one gang crossing turfs in a bid to “make it back” home after being unfairly blamed for a rival gang leaders death.

Conclave 1Conclave 2

Conclave. Diptychs by author.

People have tipped their hats to it more times than anyone could likely remember in the thirty-five years since its release. From being extensively sampled in any number of electronic and hip hop tunes (such as Schoolly D’s Run or PWEI’s Can UDig It?), referenced (NWA’s 100 Miles & Running) or just plain ripped off in a slew of early 80s gang movies that tried to copy its flavour (such as 1990: The Bronx Warriors), the film has gone on to become enshrined in a certain segment of the world’s memory. Certainly, having been released at the beginning of what was expected to be a big gang film cycle in 1979, The Warriors has gone on to vastly outlive its progeny which included Boulevard Nights, The Wanders, Walk Proud and Defiance.

Conclave Gate72nd Street Swan

Conclave Cops and 96th Street Station. Diptychs by author.

Walter Hill, like all great directors who have made a magnum opus, kind of shot his wad on this one. And after creating it, he sadly never did anything to equal it. In much the same way that Orson Welles struggled to follow Citizen Kane or Francis Ford Coppola dropped nothing but turkey’s after Apocalypse Now. Sure, he subsequently created some good flicks such as the prototype buddy comedy 48 Hours or the Vietnam War parable Southern Comfort, but this remains the high water mark from which his career receded rather than developed. Which is a shame, because earlier efforts such as the Charles Bronson vehicle Street Fighter and 1978’s The Driver, featuring somnambulist / actor Ryan O Neal showed great promise and were influential in their own right too. The inspiration of the latter being most obviously seen in Nicholas Winding Refen’s 2011 virtual homage Drive.

72nd Street Chase100th Street

Baseball Furies Chase. Diptychs by author.

The Warriors continually walks an interesting line between surrealism and reality. The Koch era big apple is portrayed as some kind of neon lit playground and the beautiful – if eerie – blinking lights of cityscape contrasted with the litter strewn streets and subway platforms. Similarly the use of real locations (primarily Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Coney Island), is juxtaposed with Sam Peckinpah style slow motion and fast cuts which creates a heightened tone which feels unique to the film.

FM1FM2

Baseball Furies Chase. Diptychs by author.

Upon its release, it was met with a mixed critical response and some violent incidents in the theatres in which it was shown. A shooting at a drive-in, brawls between actual gangs during showings and a fatal stabbing were just some of the stories reported. Whether the film itself was an incitement to violence, or more likely, actual gang members realised they were sitting across from their enemies in the aisles and chose to throw down, it nonetheless caused citizens groups to stage protests and ultimately forced distributor Paramount Pictures to pay for cinema security and tone down their advertising campaign.

FM3Cyclone

Baseball Furies Chase and Cyclone. Diptychs by author.

Having promised myself after my first viewing all those years ago, that one day I would soldier those same streets and see that Wonder Wheel close up, it was a happy (albeit incredibly cold) day when I finally managed to give it a shot. The results are in the shakily filmed video below.

P.S. Special thanks must be given to the Scouting New York blog (http://www.scoutingny.com/) which helped me to find many of these locations and which is an excellent blog in its own right.

P.P.S. I certainly did not sign up to display advertisements on youtube. The powers that be likely notice the use of third party music or clips and spam accounts accordingly.

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Grand Central Terminal Oyster Bar

LOGO

Lower Level, Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd St., Lower Level, Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd St., New York, New York, 10017, USA

GSOB_8

Looking down the main area (Click on Pictures for Larger View). Photo by author.

Situated within the bowels of the Grand Central Railway Terminal opened in 1913, The Oyster Bar simultaneously started business as the more pedestrian named Grand Central Terminal Restaurant and has been in near continuous operation ever since.

GSOB_7

Looking at the counter bar. Photo by author.

Originally designed by architect Raphael Gustavino, The Oyster Bar has served clam chowders and oysters to various passengers and local business people for decades. Apparently influenced by the French in both its Beuax Arts styling and the food served within its space, it comes as little surprise that The Oyster Bar received weekly imports of produce from Paris up to the mid 1990s until the costs were considered too prohibitive.

GSOB_0

The Grand Central Terminal Restaurant Space Circa 1913. Photo stolen from the web.

According to Henry Chancellor’s fantastic book, ‘James Bond and his World’, this was Ian Fleming’s self described favourite restaurant in America and he would visit every time he was in New York. His preference was apparently oyster soup mixed with cream, paprika and Worcestershire sauce with a bottle of Miller’s High Life beer to wash it down.

Miller High Life Ad

Miller High Life Beer Ad. Photo Stolen From the Web.

The space was predominantly owned and operated in the late 20th century by a restaurateur named Jerome Brody who also controlled at various times other New York culinary institutions such as the Four Seasons and the Rainbow Room.

Jermoe Brody (Slinging Hash)

Jerome Brody (In white coat slinging hash). Photo stolen from the web.

Famed for turning the Rainbow Room from a shell of its former self into a hangout for the famous faces of the mid 1960s and 1970s, and the Four Seasons (located within the modernist marvel Seagram Building) into the penultimate theme restaurant of its day, Mr Brody was astute operator who generally got other people to front the money for the space and renovations whilst he provided the acumen and ability to give their buildings cache and foot traffic.

This phoenix like ability to transform dead institutions into culinary gold was likely on the mind of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority when they asked him to take over The Oyster Bar in 1974 for having fallen into disrepair and been shuttered at the time of his appointment, the space was in desperate need of a steady hand.

Mr Brody improved the food, creating daily varieties of oysters, adding a larger number of modern dishes to the menu and fashioned a seafood focussed wine list any sommelier would be proud of. The result spoke for itself and The Oyster Bar again became a destination that any serious food lover would wish to visit.

According to a magazine article in Australian Business Insider, the produce is sourced from a fish market in The Bronx early every morning which surprises the shit out of me, as I – thanks to my 1980s cultural upbringing – only associate the Bronx with hip hop and urban decay. A further selection is provided by the Atwood Lobster Company which is based out of Maine, and the famed oysters themselves are shipped from Connecticut.

I went there just before 9.30pm on a Friday evening, sat at the end of the counter and was informed that the food service was about to finish. Having repeatedly heard that New York was the city that never sleeps, I was a little surprised to find an institution like this stops serving food after 9.30pm on a Friday. Particularly in such a central location that could keep providing customers well after that time. Nonetheless, I asked the guy behind the counter to give me an assortment of a ten oysters that he himself would recommend and ordered an IPA.

GSOB_2

Counter setting with a neighbour’s detritus plainly visible. Photo by author.

They had a variety of condiments, including the aforementioned Ian Fleming favourite of crackers, traditional salt and pepper, classic Tabasco sauce and its more modern variant Cholula.

GSOB_4

The condiments on offer. The reality is plain is best. Photo by author.

 GSOB_5

I shucked these fuckers in about two minutes. Photo by author.

Gotta say, they were some good oysters (the Belon in particular) and I wish I had requested double when I had still had the chance to actually order them.

GSOB_2.2

Menu obviously subject to change. Photo by author.

Bill with tip was around $50 for ten oysters and a beer and although pricy was one of the best (if most basic) meals I had while in the U.S.A. If I lived in the area, I would be there regularly, surveying the internationalist interior of the Met Life (previously Pan Am building) and chowing down on some of the best the sea has to offer.

GSOB_6

Paying with my crisp folded tourist dollars. Photo by author.

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

LINKS:

http://www.oysterbarny.com/

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/record/archives/vol21/vol21_iss25/record2125.17.html

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/oyster-bar-at-grand-central-station-2012-3

FTC N-3B Jacket

 FTC 3B Front

Haight Street in San Francisco has few good shops. There is the superlative Amoeba Music which is a great place to find rare tunes and tee-shirts, but unless you want to buy weed and numerous accoutrements with which to smoke it, seemingly little else.

FTC Store Front

So it was with a smile on my face, I stepped into FTC. Located at 1632 Haight Street, FTC is a skateboard shop that has existed for over 20 years and has contributed significantly to both the local and world skateboard scene. Having championed street skating and street style in the early 1990s, FTC sponsored riders were a main stay in the photo spreads of Thrasher and Transworld when I was growing up, and finding the store by accident was a bit of a thrill.

Small, clean and well laid out in a split level style, the store didn’t feel like the skate shops I grew up frequenting at all. More like an upscale boutique. The staff were helpful but laid back, and didn’t bother me while I tried on a number of jackets or make me feel like I needed to buy something or get out.

I was in the market for a warm winter coat, as I was due to fly to New York within a few hours, and pulled out an N-3B jacket from the racks. These come in both black and khaki and contain heaps of pockets (about 10), a quilted lining and alterable cuffs. The fluffy part of the hood is attached with studs and easily removable.

FTC 3B Open

FTC 3B Hood

N3B Blk Vs Green

The staff claimed that they are made in Japan, but despite the label appearing to be written in Japanese, I believe they are actually manufactured in China.

FTC 3B Label

After toying with the idea of buying the black one, I eventually plumbed for the green as I have too many black jackets and felt it was reminiscent of NAS’ in the ‘Ain’t Hard To Tell’ video.

nas (2) nas2

They had a number of other cool jackets as well such as this hardcore spin on the MA1 flight jacket.

ftc_alpha_ma1

(FTC x Alpha Industries MA-1 – Picture obviously stolen from the web)

And this slick looking law enforcement inspired number below…

FTC Hood

(FTC Hooded Team Jacket– Picture obviously stolen from the web)

Combined with a black beanie I bought in the same store, I stayed toasty throughout my time in New York in February, so the jacket definitely keeps you warm and the array of pockets proved really useful. Check out the store if in the area or the websites if you ain’t.

FTC N-3B Jacket2

FTC N-3B Jacket5

 (Above two pictures obviously stolen from web)

Store / Company website: http://ftcsf.com/

Jacket for Sale: http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/ones-gp/item/ftc_n3b_jkt/

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.