Sep 2, 2009

Great Movie Apartments

I was watching Deception (1946) the other night, and while Bette Davis, Paul Henreid and Claude Rains all gave mesmerizing performances, I often found my attention wandering to Davis’ stunning top floor studio apartment. Enormous windows from floor to ceiling, lush, but tasteful decoration and a grand piano perched in the middle of the room. It isn’t impossible to see why Davis gave into temptation and accepted some pampering.

It got me to thinking about how many movie apartments are absurdly beautiful. And it isn’t necessarily the rich who get the best digs; part of the fun of the movies is that, occasionally, a hard-working dame or a regular fellow can luck into a fantastic view or a remarkably spacious floor plan. Here are some of my favorite movie apartments:

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Sure the glamorous tenants of this spacious penthouse are forced to sell the furniture to cover expenses, but they can’t sell the elegant balcony. Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall and Marilyn Monroe make do by stretching out in the lounge chairs and sipping champagne.

Auntie Mame (1958)
My favorite part of eccentric Auntie Mame’s (Rosalind Russell) apartment is the dramatic staircase, perfectly suited for sweeping entrances. This alone would have been enough for me to include it on the list, but I can’t ignore Mame’s singular d├ęcor. For years, the only things I remembered from my first childhood viewing of this movie were her flamboyant decorations and those crazy couches that could move up and down with the touch of a lever.

Roman Holiday (1953)
Newsman Gregory Peck’s tiny studio seems to be a crowded dump at first glance, but once the curtains are opened, everything changes. One of the best moments in the movie is when Audrey Hepburn steps out on the rooftop patio and takes in a jaw dropping panorama of Rome.

Top Hat (1935)
While Ginger Rogers’ Art Deco nest is technically a hotel room, I had to include it on the list, because it is the epitome of 1930s art deco style. While mere mortals would be terrified to do anything in this gorgeous room for fear of mussing the pristine all-white interior, Rogers is completely oblivious to the glamour around her. She’s too busy dealing with her tap dancing neighbor upstairs.

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