ISN'T SHE GREAT
About the Location
"It's kept our
production designer Stuart Wurtzel and our costume designer Julie Weiss busier
than they'd like to be, I think," says Bergman. "And they've done a
Isn't She Great began shooting on location in Montreal in May 1998, moving to
Manhattan for exteriors at the end of July, and wrapped in New York City in
August. The decision to shoot the film in Montreal was based on economics,
locales and stage space. There isn't much of 1950's New York left. In fact the
film includes scenes which take place in the 1920's, the '40s, '50s, '60s and
Executive producer Ted Kurdyla, who had previously worked in Montreal on
Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America, knew the city could deliver the look
the film needed.
"It's very interesting," says Kurdyla, "that Mt. Royal, which is
Montreal's biggest park, was designed by Frederick Olmsted, who designed Central
Park. Many of the buildings in the city were built by New York architects, so
the growth of Montreal parallels that of New York to a great degree."
"Stuart had a scene to design that takes place in 1929 and one in the
1940's, but for the most part the film concentrates on the 1950s, '60s and early
'70s," says Kurdyla.
The nature of the script and Andrew Bergman's approach to it called for a
design scheme that Wurtzel calls "heightened realism." He says,
"It's not that I've deviated in style, it's just that I've had some fun
with it. We're dealing with larger than life characters so I've tried to
represent the world around them as being larger than life."
During the Montreal section of principal photography, the crew moved around
the area quite a bit. Scenes were shot in the cities of Trois Riviores,
Terrebonne, Sainte Anne de Bellevue, Senneville and Hudson, which bears a strong
resemblance to parts of New England.
Within Montreal itself, the first day of shooting took place in Birks elegant
jewelry store, and there were days in a warehouse in Old Montreal, Ben's
Restaurant, Warshaw's market and the Denise Peltier Theatre, where in real life
the film version of Valley of the Dolls has its premiere.
Le 90 (Neuviome), the ninth floor art deco restaurant of the downtown
Eaton's department store, doubled for Lindy's in New York, and the big ballroom
in the Ritz Carlton Hotel was the interior of the exterior of the Waldorf
Astoria, which was filmed in New York City.
Wurtzel built the Mansfield apartment, the Onasis yacht and the Johnny Carson
Green Room on stages at Melos Citz du Cinema in the old port of Montreal, and
there were also some scenes filmed on stage space at CFCF-TV in the northern
part of the city.
When the company moved to Manhattan, several scenes were shot in Central
Park; the Seagram Building on Park Avenue; the ornate old Loew's Theatre on
175th Street and Broadway; a lovely apartment building on Central Park West; and
Radio City Music Hall were on the call sheets.
Says Wurtzel, "I always
wanted to create around Jackie a sense of desire, the world that she really
wants, and she's really trying to attain, that she doesn't get."
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