Philadelphia 8/02

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Movie locations and art explorations...

"Unbreakable" stadium where Bruce Willis worked

This trip evolved from Ben's interest in M Night Shyamalan's movies "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable". Instead of just visiting the touristy spots in Philadelphia, we spent two days in late August traveling all over the city to the locations where major scenes were shot from the movies. We took digital video in some spots and to a degree, recreated some of the scenes. We also used the opportunity to visit two museums, the Rodin (with the largest collection of his sculptures outside of Paris) and the Museum of Art (which also happens to be the exterior movie location for Rocky Balboa's famous training run up the steps).

Rocky

The original 1976 movie "Rocky" was shot mostly on location in Philadelphia in the Italian Market area. The budget for the film was under $1M and the total filming schedule was 28 days. It won best picture and director. The famous scene at the end of Rocky's training where he runs up steps and does a celebration dance at the top was filmed outside of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Ben brought appropriate Rocky attire and, despite the hot August morning, we filmed several takes and snapped pictures of the run (first three pictures below).

 

"The Sixth Sense" anniversary dinner @ Striped Bass

Unbreakable

M Night Shyamalan's 2000 film "Unbreakable" is a dark thriller about David Dunn (played by Bruce Willis) who can not be harmed and slowly realizes his mission to protect others through a stranger Elijah (played by Samuel L. Jackson). We visited many locations from the movie. We started with the interior shot from the memorial service for the train wreck which David Dunn miraculously survives - St Marks Church (fourth picture above). Across the street (1620 Locust St.) is the location of the comic store "Limited Edition" where David Dunn and Elijah first meet (original movie scene - first picture below, and our shot - second picture below).

The stadium where David Dunn worked as a security guard was actually Franklin Field on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. The exterior "atmosphere" shot taken from the South St. Bridge was used before many scenes (original movie scene - third picture below, and our shot - fourth picture below, also the large picture at top left with Ben).

Luckily for us, the Penn football team was practicing when we got to Franklin Field so we snuck in for some shots. Inside the stadium, we recreated the scenes of David Dunn in his dark poncho emerging into the stands (first picture below) and the concession stand where he confronted the man with the hidden gun (second picture below). Outside the stadium, we shot the hallway where the chase happened (third picture below) and the nearby University City subway station where Elijah was injured on the steps (fourth picture below).

There was an interesting restaurant interior scene where David Dunn and his wife Audrey tried to mend their problems by going on a "date". It was shot in the lobby of the Curtis Office Building, across the street from Independence Hall, which had been set up to look like a restaurant (original movie scene - first picture below, and our shot - second picture below). We traveled to several other Unbreakable locations; the Packard Building, an office building where a train station interior location was set up, the Naval Shipyard, where a warehouse scene was filmed and a street carnival site southeast of the city at 2nd and Oregon.

 

The Sixth Sense

M Night Shyamalan's 1999 breakthrough film "The Sixth Sense" is a supernatural story of a boy, Cole, with powers to see the dead and Malcolm, a psychiatrist on the mend played by Bruce Willis. One famous interior scene was Malcolm and his wife's first anniversary dinner after they were attacked, filmed at the Striped Bass Restaurant. Ben and I ate lunch there (an outstanding but pricey restaurant, by the way) and had our picture taken at the same table where Malcolm and Anna sat (large picture at top of page right side).  Exterior shots of Cole's home were done by putting two existing houses together on St Albans St. in southeast Philadelphia (third picture below). The garden on the lower right of that picture was put in as a thank you to the neighborhood for allowing the filming. Exterior scenes of Cole's grade school were actually at Peirce College at 1420 Pine (fourth picture below). We traveled to St Augustine's Church, but were unable to get inside to copy an interior scene where Malcolm met with Cole.

Philadelphia Art, Food and History

Philadelphia's Museum of Art has a varied, but interesting collection (first picture below and more on the Art page). The nearby Rodin Museum is a quick view with an impressive collection (middle two pictures below and more on the Art page). Eating in Philadelphia was mostly a treat with two exceptional restaurants, the Striped Bass at 1500 Walnut and nearby Roys at 124 S 15th St. We had eaten at a Roys in Waikoloa, Hawaii a few years ago, and this one in Philadelphia which opened less than a year ago, was excellent. Roy's exclusive Au Bon Climat 98 Santa Barbara Chardonnay paired very well with strongly flavored fish. A really bad restaurant was Bookbinders 15th St, which was medium priced with awful food and service.

We did a bit of the tourist trip through Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell since we were in the neighborhood (fourth picture below) before heading out for the next leg of our vacation to Scotland.

Home Up Boston 5/01 Grand Canyon 11/05 Hawaii 11/00 Hawaii 2/08 and 3/08 Hawaii Big Island 9/13 Maui & Kauai 12/12 Kauai 10/14 Key West 12/06 Key West 12/09 New York City 12/04 Orlando 12/02 Pacific Northwest 4/02 Philadelphia 8/02 San Francisco 12/05

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