In New England, Hollywood producers have found mountains, lakes, lighthouses, small towns and fishing villages, beaches, rockbound cliffs overlooking ocean, opulent mansions, Ivy League colleges, and iconic Colonial architecture all waiting in one compact region. New England has always been ready for its closeup. Imagine a darkened movie theater anywhere in the world. The movie […]
By Yankee Magazine
Oct 22 2015
Seasonal workers and Scott Farm manager Ezekiel Goodband (far right) take a short break from the harvest. This scenic Dummerston, Vermont, estate (once owned by Rudyard Kipling) stood in for Maine’s “Ocean View Orchard” in 1999’s Cider House Rules; some sets were re-created from photos found in the farm’s mail-order brochures of the 1930s. Today the property is owned by The Landmark Trust USA and specializes in heirloom apple varieties.Photo Credit : Julie Bidwell
New England has always been ready for its closeup. Imagine a darkened movie theater anywhere in the world. The movie has ended. Credits roll. The audience, transfixed by the scenic cinematography, remains sitting, watching to see where the action took place. Perhaps few, if any, in the audience have set foot in New England—and the memory of this movie place becomes what they know, as though they’ve now been here.
For decades whenever Hollywood producers have sought authentic locations, they’ve found mountains, lakes (On Golden Pond, winner of three Academy Awards in 1982), lighthouses (when Snow Falling on Cedars, set in the Pacific Northwest, needed a lighthouse shrouded with snow, Portland Head Light received the casting call), small towns and fishing villages (Camden, Maine, is a favorite, and its settings helped Peyton Place receive nine Academy Award nominations in 1958), beaches (Jaws’ “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” put Martha’s Vineyard on the map in 1975), rockbound cliffs overlooking ocean, opulent mansions (Newport), Ivy League colleges, and iconic Colonial architecture all waiting in one compact region.
When location scouts for the film version of John Irving’s The Cider House Rules (winner of two Academy Awards in 2000) needed an aging institution to stand in for a timeless orphanage, plus an iconic apple orchard and a classic working fishing harbor, they found the former state hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts; Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont; and Downeast Maine spots such as Thurston’s Lobster Pound—all without having to refill a tank of gas. And since Hollywood has always pursued stories and storytellers, it’s not a big stretch to suggest that New England writers produce more compelling stories per square mile than those living anywhere else. The sense of place, the geography, the shifting seasons, the sharply drawn characters, all bring filmmakers back again and again.—Eds.