Movies Made in Carmel and Monterey
If you are a movie fan and a fan of Carmel, it would be very easy to combine the two in a movies-shot-in-Carmel or Monterey County movie theme night. Actually, it may that theme night could last a year of nights. According to filmonterey.org, 190 movie scenes were shot in Monterey County.
IMDb (Internet Movie Database) lists 135 movie scenes shot in Monterey alone, with 20 filmed in Carmel-by-the-Sea, 9 in Carmel Valley, 75 in Big Sur, and 32 shot in Pebble Beach.
Some very well-known movies have been shot here. Others, you may never have heard, or perhaps you are too young or, they may reside in some forgotten corner of your memory reserved for “movies you saw eons ago on a late, late, late show.
Here are just a handful of films that feature towns, parks, beaches and attractions on California’s rugged and picturesque central coast
National Velvet (1944)
In National Velvet, a young Elizabeth Taylor plays 12-year old Velvet Brown, who wins a gelding named “The Pie”, short for “Pirate” – a name given to the horse by its previous owner because of its spirited and wild behavior. Velvet convinces drifter and ex-jockey (played by Mickey Rooney) to train the horse for the Grand National steeplechase. Though set in Sussex, England, many scenes were shot in Pebble Beach on the golf course with Carmel Beach and Point Lobos in the background. Carmel, then, is doubling as and English town. This film may be responsible for putting the Monterey area on the map as a location.
From Here to Eternity (1953)
Although filmed mostly in Hawaii, Big Sur beaches doubled as Hawaii beaches, most famously the “embrace on the sand” scene with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, which was filmed in Big Sur. From Here to Eternity is set in 1941, beginning months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) is a soldier and boxer, but after blinding his sparring partner and friend in the ring, he has vowed never to box again, and refuses to join his army company’s boxing team. His commanding officer makes his life unbearable: intrigue, romance and tragedy ensue.
In 2011, the property, Ranchero Panacea, went up for sale for $2.9 Million. The land is within the original homestead lands of Big Sur pioneer Michael Pfeiffer.
East of Eden (1955)
Perhaps the most famous movie filmed in Monterey County, East of Eden, a production of the Steinbeck novel by the same name, stars James Dean, Raymond Massey and Julie Harris and is set in Salinas and Monterey during World War 1. James Dean plays Cal Trask, a self-proclaimed family black-sheep competing with his brother Aron for his father’s love and approval.
Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”, starred James Stewart as a retired police detective who suffers from a fear of heights. He is asked by a friend to investigate the strange behavior of his wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak). The suicidal Madeleine leads the ex-cop to some high places. His trailing of the woman becomes a dangerous obsession. Scenes on the shore where he follows Madeline were filmed at Cypress Point on 17-Mile Drive.
The Sandpiper (1965)
Yet another Elizabeth Taylor movie that had scenes filmed in the Carmel-Monterey area. Starring Taylor and Richard Burton, The Sandpiper tells the story of Laura, a free-spirited, socially unconventional, single mother, homeschooling her son, David. David is court-ordered to attend a Christian school in Monterey. The school’s headmaster, an Episcopalian priest (played by Burton) and Laura become friendly and eventually begin a secret love affair. Some scenes were shot in Big Sur, where Laura lives and works as a struggling artist, and Point Lobos.
Play Misty for Me (1971)
Clint Eastwood stars in and made his directorial debut with this film, co-starring Donna Mills and Jessica Walter (who had a late career resurgence with TV’s sitcom “Arrested Development”. In this “romantic-thriller” a jazz disc-jockey played by Eastwood, has a one-night stand with a woman he meets in a bar. Little does Dave know that Evelyn is obsessed with him, in fact is a frequently caller to his radio program who phones and coos “Play misty for me”. Let the stalking behavior begin. Play Misty for Me was filmed in Carmel, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, Monterey County Fairgrounds and other locations in Carmel and Monterey.
Sudden Impact (1983)
Sudden Impact, the fourth film of the “Dirty Harry” franchise - was directed by and stars Clint Eastwood. It was this movie in which Dirty Harry utters the oft quoted lines: “Go ahead, make my day”. In the film, a serial killer is on the loose in San Francisco. Police catch a break, leading them to a small town on the coast. Scenes were filmed at Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, and in nearby Santa Cruz on the boardwalk.
Basic Instinct (1992)
Michael Douglas plays police detective Nick Curran, investigates the brutal murder of a rock star in which a beautiful, seductive crime novelist, Catherine Tramell (played by Sharon Stone) is a prime suspect. The film is set in San Francisco but scenes were shot in Carmel, Carmel Highlands (Tramell’s mansion), Carmel Valley (at Carmel Valley Village), and Garrapata State Beach in Big Sur.
After a movie or two featuring Carmel, you may just find yourself with the sudden urge to book a room or suite at our Carmel inns - Monte Verde Inn and Casa de Carmel. We are in central Carmel-by-the-Sea, steps from beach and short drives from some of the amazing landscapes and attractions featured in these memorable movies.
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