Tag Archives: rosemary’s baby

My Favorite Historic Architectural Styles: A Field Trip

Would you like to see what a music teacher does on a snow day when he has a lot on his mind and puts important things off to the last minute when he really shouldn’t because there’s a musical to direct this week? You would?! Oh goody! Follow me through my crazy labyrinth of net surfing today! 

A home in Lexington, Missouri. Photo courtesy of midwesternmantra.com

A home in Lexington, Missouri. Photo courtesy of midwesternmantra.com

So whether I’m watching a television show or just out on the road, sometimes I find a home and get obsessed with the overall look of it. I then get sucked into Googling the structure or the style (if I know what it is). Most of the time the place ends up being from the same Victorian time period that I’d love to be able to visit in a time machine! It could be that I grew up in a historical civil war battle town with lots of Victorian and antebellum homes and buildings.

 

The Lafayette County Courthouse in Lexington, Missouri.

Lafayette County Courthouse in Lexington, MO, completed in 1849

I always decide that one day I’ll live in an old home just like what I saw… then I remind myself of how very OCD I tend to be. I’m not sure I could live in a home with decades or centuries of other people’s “funk”, and so I devise a plan of recreating a historically accurate wing of a future brand new home. I’m not entirely sure my beau would want to move into this strangely bi-century home, but I’ll continue to dream.  Until now I haven’t really pictured the outside. Hmmm… maybe it looks like Meet Me in St. Louis on one side and modern suburbia on the other? 

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Here’s an example of things that get me started:

It was featured on an episode of This Old House a few weeks ago, where they work on refurbishing an Italianate house. The Victoria Mansion in Portland, Maine, was built in Victorian Villa style between 1858 and 1860. If you just Google the place, you’ll see some amazing interior photos.

 

Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

 

Interior of the Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

Interior of the Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

 

Or how about the Woodruff-Fontaine House, a French Victorian mansion that was built in 1870 in Memphis, Tennessee. I saw this one on a recent episode of Ghost Hunters

 

Woodruff-Fontaine House, Memphis, Tennessee

Woodruff-Fontaine House, Memphis, Tennessee

 

Is it the mansard roof?

Sometimes I think I’m just drawn to a home with a beautiful (or creepy) mansard roof. “Mansard Roof”–that’s another fun one to Google! You can also check out this article, The Heyday of Mansard Roofs from the New York Times. 

Speaking of mansard roofs! Here’s one that caught my attention a year ago on a road trip with my buddy Matt. The Bourbon Hotel in Bourbon, Missouri.

 

The Bourbon Hotel in Bourbon, Missouri

 

A famous big city version of a mansard roof belongs to the Grand Hotel in New York City, built in Second Empire Style in 1868.  

 

The Grand Hotel (on the left) in New York City

The Grand Hotel (on the left) in New York City

 

We interrupt this exciting program on mansard roofs to bring you this important Public Service Announcement! 

Public Service Announcement! I decided to head downstairs to take a break from my web-surfing field trip. I highly discourage you from missing the bottom four steps on the way down! Uuugh! After a check to make sure all of my appendages still worked, and as I picked ice melt out of my hair from landing next to the front door where we’ve been tracking winter in on our shoes, I decided dinner sounded good.

 

 

Program on mansard roofs still in progress…

So now I’m back. I’m fed. I’m sore… but a pain pill and a healthy dose of ibuprofen should take care of things. 

Where were we? That’s right… the beautiful Grand Hotel! Looking that one up reminded me of another NYC landmark–The Dakota Building in Manhattan, which was featured, through external shots, in the movie Rosemary’s Baby (1968). The interior shots, though filmed on a sound stage, were apparently modeled after The Dakota as well. It was built between 1880 and 1884, and according to Wikipedia, “The building’s high gables and deep roofs with a profusion of dormers, terracotta spandrels and panels, niches, balconies, and balustrades give it a North German Renaissance character, an echo of a Hanseatic townhall. Nevertheless, its layout and floor plan betray a strong influence of French architectural trends in housing design that had become known in New York in the 1870s.”

 

The Dakota Building in Manhattan.

The Dakota Building in Manhattan

 

A snowy aerial view of The Dakota Building. Photo courtesy of http://blog.daum.net/jun1234/78.

A snowy aerial view of The Dakota Building. Photo courtesy of http://blog.daum.net/jun1234/78

 

Could the Psycho house possibly be the most famous mansard roof?? Here’s the painting “House by the Railroad” by Edward Hopper, which was apparently used as inspiration for the Psycho house.

 

 

"House by the Railroad" by Edward Hopper

“House by the Railroad” by Edward Hopper

 

What’s that? You’re tired? Oh alright. I suppose I’ve held you captive long enough. I’ll let you off the bus.

Till the next field trip.

 

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Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

This last weekend I watched the first film from my list of movies that I plan on checking out this fall. Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968) has been one of those movies that I’ve always heard about, and I’ve always been aware of its place of importance in psychological horror films. I remember my mother talking about how disturbed she was when she saw it as a girl. For whatever reason, maybe the weirdness factor that the film has going for it, I just never watched it.  

 

By the way, in no way am I intending this to be a review of the film. For a basic synopsis and further information about the film check out the Wikipedia and IMDb pages. Rosemary’s Baby did, however, inspire some rambling and blabbering below. 

 

A snowy aerial view of The Dakota Building. Photo courtesy of http://blog.daum.net/jun1234/78.

A snowy aerial view of The Dakota Building. Photo courtesy of http://blog.daum.net/jun1234/78.

 

The Dakota Building in Manhattan.

The Dakota Building in Manhattan.

From the very beginning, with the beautiful shots high above Manhattan in New York City, I was sucked into the style and the setting of most of the film.  Even though I followed the plot and the story, I wasn’t much interested, actually. I was too busy absorbing the beauty of the apartments and the interior of the fictional “Bramford” building. The filmmakers wanted to film the interior shots inside the beautifully upscale and historic Dakota Building in Manhattan, but in the end they weren’t allowed, forcing them to film in a studio and use The Dakota for exterior shots only.  I want to assume that they based the design of the set on the actual Dakota. The building, constructed between 1880 and 1884, is just the type and style of architecture that I fall in love with. And even though the movie takes place in the 1960s, it is clear that the apartments in the film are meant to be outdated and misplaced for the time period. The main characters (played by Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes) “update” their apartment with a fresh coat of white paint soon after moving in, but I actually preferred the darkness of the walls and wallpaper, the ornate trim, the glow of the wall sconces, and the dusty shelves and books. Fortunately, the older neighbors are stuck in the past, so for much of the movie I got to stay in that turn of the century “excuse me while I retire to my study” world. 

 

 

Ruth Gordon (1896 - 1985)

Ruth Gordon (1896 – 1985)

Once I finished the film, I was surprised to find special features with behind the scenes information and interviews from several people involved. This led to one of my infamous non-stop labyrinths of research and Googling of the film, The Dakota Building, and the cast and crew. A few of the actors, like Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer, were born before the turn of the century and were involved in silent films! I don’t know why that fascinated me so much!

 

Anyway, it was an interesting film and worth finally seeing it. It wasn’t nearly as “weird” as people led me to believe it was, plus the acting was great!  

For more beautiful stills from the film, check out this post from Beautiful Stills from Beautiful Films

 

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Movies I Plan On Checking Out This Fall (2013)

In my last post, I listed the Top 10 Spooky Movies For Fall. After doing some research, I’ve come up with four classic spooky/fally movies that I haven’t seen but would like to see in the coming months. Tracking down at least one of these will be difficult, but I’m going to try. I hope to write a review for at least a few of them. 

Linked titles take you to IMDb. Photos take you to Amazon.com.

 

Session 9 (2001)

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Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Watch Trailer

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The Uninvited (1944)

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(...if I can find it.)

(…if I can find it.)

Dead of Night (1945)

Here’s a clip…

 


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