Sunday, April 15, 2007

Travel/Destinations in the Movies – Part I

We love films that take us places – intriguing places we desire to visit; nostalgic glimpses of places from the past; or destinations we’re familiar with, which convey a wonderful sense of that specific place. Here are a few of our favorite travel/destination movies.

The Quiet American – Michael Caine in Vietnam in the early 1950s. Atmospheric and edgy. Like most of our favorite travel films, this makes us wonder what it was really like in that time and place.

Casablanca – Rick’s Café, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Morocco. What more is there? If you don’t want to visit North Africa after seeing this, you just don’t have the travel bug.

Havana – This is Robert Redford’s remaking of – and homage to – Casablanca, but set in Cuba just before Fidel’s victory. Much of it was filmed in the Dominican Republic, but the B-unit shots are certainly Havana, and the historical context is wonderfully entertaining.

Under the Tuscan Sun – Diane Lane as “Francesca” (one of us). Francesca saw the movie just before a trip to New Zealand and a friend said to her, “You’re not going to come back, are you?” (She did.) Wonderful sense of a place.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles – Silly, rude, and wonderful. Too goofy for words, but it “moved” us.

The Out of Towners – The original, not the remake. Who hasn’t been in some sort of similar situation in a big city (in this case, New York)? Plans go awry, flights are missed, lack of sleep – sounds like the typical travel “adventure” to us.

Amelie – The early, cute Audrey Tautou in locations all over Paris. The fun is recognizing sites and attractions. The best evocation of French cafés since Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.

Notting Hill – For the anglophile in us all. Portobello Road, plus the disgustingly cute Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. Loved it nonetheless.

Mindwalk – Deep, talky, and mostly ignored. My Dinner with Andre in France. This still draws Kenneth toward Mont St. Michele.

As we’re movie fans, filmmakers, and travel writers, we’ll add some more to this list again soon. Let us know your faves, too.

Sloppy Joe's Bar, Havana, Cuba, early 1930s