California Is Everywhere: Where the International Locations Are Shot for Hollywood
California's varied landscape has stood in for half the world in Hollywood movies. Here is Paramount Studios' 1927 map of international filming locations, all set in California.
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
The film industry’s move to Hollywood, early on in the 20th century, was not entirely an accident. Out west, good weather was more constant, the light better and the scenery more varied than on the East Coast. Hollywood, then still a sleepy hamlet 10 miles north of Los Angeles, was conveniently central between the bustling city and the natural splendour further afield.
Depending on how far afield you’d want to carry your tripod, that splendour could be a stand-in for a surprisingly wide swathe of the world.
This map, apparently produced by Paramount Studios in 1927, does not mention the corresponding films. Can anybody suggest any of the movies these locations refer to? The map does mention, without further context, the 19th-century Californian poet Bret Harte.
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