King Kong atop the Empire State Building. Jack Nicholson losing his mind at the Timberline Lodge. Harrison Ford hunting replicants through the Bradbury Building and the Ennis House. Movie history teems with certain recognizable architectural landmarks that play a significant role in our cinematic memory. In this talk illustrated with generous film clips, Seattle Weekly film critic Robert Horton looks at how the movies have treated some of our most iconic buildings and monuments. Not only are these places evocative as works of design, they also play a role in storytelling. Filmmakers use these classic places and spaces to create mood, character, and meaning. We’ll look at some of the grander examples of this tendency, and in the process talk about how a director uses architecture as part of the visual language of movies. In the process, we will take a peek at how Seattle and the region have played a part in setting the stage for screen drama.
Seattle Weekly and Everett Herald film critic Robert Horton has been writing about movies for over thirty years. He is a Smithsonian Journeys Expert, Adjunct Faculty member at Seattle University, and Fulbright Specialist. From 2005-2014, he ran the Magic Lantern program at the Frye Art Museum. In 2012 he curated the “Celluloid Seattle: A City at the Movies” exhibit at MOHAI (catalog available). His books include Frankenstein (Columbia University Press) and Billy Wilder: Interviews (University Press of Mississippi).
Photo: The Fountainhead movie still, 1949