Sunday, 6 November 2011

USA 2011

When we planned our holiday around Utah this year we didn't intend it to be particularly film-centric, we honestly didn't realise how many movies had taken advantage of the amazing scenery. We had been invited to a wedding in Houston, Texas; but thinking there wasn't really anything interesting to see in Texas (and judging by our 25 hour train journey through it, we were right) we decided to do a bit of a tour of the National Parks in Utah beforehand. Like I say, it wasn't meant to be so cinema related.

Having picked up the hire car in Salt Lake City, we immediately left and drove straight to Moab. Our first port of call was Arches National Park where amongst other things the beginning of this was filmed:





There were also some Thelma and Louise scenes filmed in Arches, but the famous driving off a cliff scene was filmed under Dead Horse Point; the view from which looks like this:


This viewpoint also features in 127 Hours as a brief sunrise scene. The cliffs under this viewpoint are also the cliffs that Tom Cruise climbed in the opening scenes of Mission Impossible 2, but you don't get to walk under there, so I don't have any photos.

After Dead Horse Point we did Canyonlands National Park, which hasn't appeared so much on the silver screen, but some of 127 Hours was filmed (on account of Aron Ralston getting his hand stuck under a rock in another part of Canyonlands), and some of The Greatest Story Ever Told was shot at Green River Overlook:


Next we headed off down to Monument Valley. Now it really would be unrealistic of me to try and list all of the films that have been shot here. If you have ever seen a couple of westerns in your life, there is a good chance that at least one of them was shot here; especially if it had John Wayne in it, or made by John Ford. In fact this is the view from what is known as John Ford's Point:


Now, I have never seen a John Ford film, or a John Wayne film for that matter (hides head in shame); but it's not like John Ford had the exclusive rights to this view. This is Once Upon a Time in the West:


Sergio Leone obviously also a fan of this scenery.


Of course this isn't just restricted to Westerns, just stick a DeLorean in front of those Buttes and Mesas:

And for those of you with a British sci-fi leaning, this is where the Doctor meets Amy, Rory, and River at the beginning of the last series of Doctor Who:


Then just after we'd taken this picture (or one similar), we turned around, got back into the car and saw this:

We weren't even trying, and the movie locations kept ambushing us!
Following Monument Valley we headed to Zion; not much filmed there, though Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was filmed not too far away. Next stop was Bryce Canyon, and then Grand Canyon. Nothing terribly much was filmed at either of these locations, and I've wittered on far too long already.
I hope that you liked my photos, and if anyone wants to go to the States but doesn't know whereabouts to go, or anyone who lives in the States and has never been, I thoroughly recommend visiting south Utah, it is truly spectacular.