Summer 1958. Hitchcock’s North by Northwest turns the streets of New York. It makes Grand Central starting point of the epic of Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant), advertising hunted by mysterious spies. Unjustly accused of murdering a UN official, Thornhill manages to sneak into the most luxurious of the time train, the 20th Century Limited, which connects New York to Chicago. This is where he meets Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint). It will launch him that the journey is long and does not like his book.
REPRESENTATIONS OF AMERICAN LIFESTYLE
More than half a century, Grand Central has just celebrated its centenary and be plastered. At its best, it has survived the upheavals that shook New York. “It is not easy to last a hundred years in a city in constant evolution,” noted Mayor Michael Bloomberg, February 1, at the memorial, which opens the festivities intended to extend throughout the year .
Gateway to the most photogenic city in the world, Grand Central naturally became a cinematic object, reflecting its inhabitants witnessed his moods, as victim of urban bankruptcy 1970s. Cinema loves turning in stations. Then he made the railway Cathedral Manhattan symbol of all ages in New York and, by the way, thousands of commuters (passengers making the trip city-periphery) who rush to join their suburbs. Representations of this place are all witnesses of the evolution of American lifestyle, the American way of life.
At its birth in 1913, Grand Central showcases the economic ambitions of New York. She wants a grand boomtown decor. The new building, which replaces the old building built by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1871, is a monument in the style of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, with Italian marble staircases and a starry ceiling created by Frenchman Paul Helleu. Thirteen years after by Northwest is in a very different station that rushes Alain Charnier (Fernando Reyes), the trafficker French Connection (1971). He wants to escape Popeye (Gene Hackman), the police officer who comes to identify the output of the Roosevelt Hotel. We see only one subway trains, but behind it is a completely different landscape emerges. Car Grand Central struggle to escape from the case after the demolition in 1963 of his great rival, Penn Station, a victim of real estate speculation. It will not succeed in 1978, thanks to the efforts of Jackie Onassis to ensure its preservation.
RACE CHASE AND ESCALATORS
Worn, exhausted, the station becomes symptomatically one of the characters of L’Impasse (1993), Brian De Palma. It is on one of its platforms that comes to die Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino), the petty criminal who tries to tidy up after the prison. He killed four assassins in escalators that lead to the main hall, a chase scene reminiscent of stairs Untouchables (1987), filmed by De Palma in another station, the Chicago. New York has become accustomed to these scenes of violence, although the crime rate starts to fall imperceptibly.
Discover also: the directors make all the same places
A development that greatly eases the thousands of commuters who use Grand Central every day, these human tides come and go, according to the peak. Terry Gilliam made those gray commuters one of the most beautiful scenes of The Fisher King (1991), the story of an upstart and a bum looking for the Grail. “Shortly before 5:00 in the afternoon, the pace of Grand Central becomes more intense, says U.S. director in the movie. This is great, there are more and more people, they walk more faster. I said? has to be wonderful waltz, all together, the time for a moment before returning to see their trains. ” This is exactly what Terry Gilliam did in a scene that takes more than 1 000 extras.
Between the universe tidy residential neighborhoods and the temptations of Manhattan, Grand Central is also the center of many marital dramas. That of Frank and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio), the couple of Revolutionary Road (2008), Sam Mendes, who is mired in a comfortable existence and eventually become what they hate. He even Ed and Connie Summer (Richard Gere and Diane Lane) in Unfaithful (2002), the remake of Adrian Lyne’s Unfaithful Wife of Claude Chabrol. Connie, that archetype of bourgeois slumming, prefers his lover Soho (Olivier Martinez) to the quiet life of his Connecticut home. This is a train that leaves Grand Central she remembers her first infidelity, excited by this new adventure.
And then there’s Grand Central dreamed, imagined, reinvented. In Superman (1978), Richard Donner, Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman yet) set up his headquarters in its basement neglected, miles of tunnels through Manhattan.
The station will be relentlessly destroyed in Armageddon (1998), Michael Bay, and disaster movies that take New York as a target. But it will survive the Manhattan post-apocalyptic I Am Legend (2007), Francis Lawrence. And it is under the impassive gaze of the statue of Cornelius Vanderbilt as its main character, Robert Neville (Will Smith), one of the survivors of a terrible epidemic, fail to get eaten by zombies vampires, while sun slowly sets on the skyscrapers abandoned.