Set Jetting: Film Location Pilgrimages

By: Kat Mackintosh

For some film lovers sprinkling theirconversations with quoted dialogue, buying action figures or dressingin the garb of their favourite character isn’t enough to prove their PASSIONfor the silver screen. Apart from a film being re-made and getting castin it, the closest most people can get to reliving their favouritecinema moments is to visit the places (called locations in thebusiness) where key scenes were shot.

The newly coined term for this is set-jetting, meaning: to visit orholiday in a place because you’re crazy about a film or book which wasset there. Tourist boards and governments everywhere love seeing theircity romanticised on the big screen - flying into New Zealand duringthe peak of Lord of the Ringsmania the pilot welcomed you not just to New Zealand but to MiddleEarth. But it isn’t just big obvious locations that people areinterested in, small, poky out of the way places are also attractive toset-jetters; many women, the partners of Quadrophenia fans,have been swept off their feet in seemingly spur of the moment embracesin the same Brighton alley just off East Street, romantically locatedbesides a bin store (sorry if you haven’t see the film and I justspoiled your special moment of passion.).

I’ll have what she’s having
Film inspiring travel isn’t a new phenomena, if you watch Roman Holiday you’ll probably feel the urge to leave your humdrum daily life and lose yourself in Rome, but recent movies like The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Da Vinci Codehave held many imaginations hostage, and themed tours where all thework is done for set-jetters have been spawned.Real buffs will tell you the big thrill is in making your owndiscoveries, pouring over scenes fame by frame (film is shottraditionally at 25 frames per second) and arguing with like mindedenthusiasts in online forums about where each scene was shot.

Use the Force
The first key step is to decide which film or scenes you want tovenerate. Depending on your collection this could take a while, but thegood thing about this kind of travel is that you may not have to travelto far to find your first location. You can even start inversely bylooking for local locations which appear in less well known films. Tohelp you get started a 2007 poll voted Big Ben’s Clock Tower as themost iconic British film location for the scene in The 39 Stepswhere the main character, Richard Hannay, hangs precariously from theclock face, and so many people want to visit Harry Potter’s Platform 9 ?that they’ve put a sign in and there is a good chance you’ll see a kidrun into a wall. My personal favourite would have to be Harry Lime’s Ferris Wheelfrom the Third ManComputer Technology Articles, I can help but love a gritty war time spy drama andthe reason I first went to Vienna was because I thought it wasgracefully minimalist yet beautiful in the film - it even looks beautiful sans colour.

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