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Olympic Drive-In Theatre, Hollywood, CA

Photography By Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Summer nights spent under the stars at the drive-in. Sounds like a thing of the past, right? This week, we’re throwing it back to the 1950s when drive-in theatres became popular for family outings and date nights. In 1951, 2 women drive past a sign advertising Hollywood’s Olympic Drive-In, formerly named the Pico Drive-In — California’s first outdoor movie theatre. Moviegoers in more than 750 cars were able to enjoy movie nights at the drive-in until it closed in 1973.

Check back every week this month for our Vintage Summer Throwback Thursdays.

 

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In honor of The Great Gatsby film release, step back into the opulent Jazz Age with a visit to New York’s iconic landmark hotel, The Plaza. This historic hotel is celebrating Baz Luhrmann’s eagerly awaited film adaptation of The Great Gatsby with a collection of Gatsby-inspired experiences. The setting for one of the book’s most climatic scenes, The Plaza was also a well-known haunt of the author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda — so much so that it has been said Ernest Hemingway once advised Fitzgerald to give his “liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza.”

If you’re truly gaga for Gatsby, for a mere $2,795 you can spend a night in the Fitzgerald Suite that pays homage to its famous patron. Designed by one of the film’s set designers and co-producers, this 700-square-foot suite is filled with period-inspired pieces and artifacts from the film’s production, like Tom Buchanan’s sporting trophies lining the walls. Make yourself a gin martini or mint julep from the suite’s built-in bar and escape into the 1920s with Fitzgerald’s complete collection of works, all at hand in the room’s library.

If your budget is less than Gatsby-esque, you can still get into the spirit at The Plaza.  The Palm Court’s “Fitzgerald Tea for the Ages” tips a hat to the Jazz Age with 1920s-inspired plates like Pate de Fruit with Gin Rickey Sugar. The Todd English Food Hall honors Gatsby with “prohibited” cocktails like “Silver Peppered Stars,” made with Hendrick’s Gin, house-made orange bitters and French vermouth.  The hotel’s iconic Champagne Bar is transformed into a Moët Pop-Up Bar, offering a special cocktail called the “Moët Imperial Gatsby,” with green chartreuse and a sugar cube. And you can dance off all that gin and champagne with the live jazz bands at The Rose Club’s “Gatsby Hour” on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

After you’ve partied like Gatsby, recover from the previous evening’s celebrations (hello, roaring headache) with a “Caudalie Grape Gatsby” custom treatment at The Plaza’s Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa. Daisy would approve.

For more Gatsby-inspired extravagance, check out our Travel Like The Great Gatsby slideshow and relive the Jazz Age decadence … without the hangover.

If you’re not in the mood to stand in line with a bunch of Twihards tonight to see Breaking Dawn: Part II, escape to the evocative world of 19th-century Russia in Anna Karenina, which also opens this weekend. Though some would be horrified that we are putting the 2 films in the same sentence, there are some similarities between the 2 stories:  both are based on love affairs with the forbidden; one between a vampire and a human, the other between a married socialite and a young cavalry officer.  And both are set in romantic, but equally dark settings — rainy Pacific Northwest and snow-covered Russia. And both make us want to travel.

St. Basil’s Cathedral Photography by Getty Images

This cinematic take on Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel, Anna Karenina — the story of a married St. Petersburg socialite embarking on a passionate and disastrous love affair — is a visual masterpiece, already garnering Oscar buzz.  As with all film adaptions, this version takes creative liberties and scenes are set on a theater stage, showing very little of Russia or its famous landmarks. Being the travel junkies we are, it’s inspiring us to embark on our own Russian adventure.

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On Sunday, Oct. 7, at 9|8c, Lifetime premieres a remake of the wildly-popular modern day classic Steel Magnolias. The 1989 film (originally a stage play) shows the roaring laughs and bawling tears of  6 “delicate as magnolias, but tough as steel” women in Louisiana.

The original ladies of the 1989 film were a star-studded cast — Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Shirley McClaine. The Lifetime remake brings together an equally heavy-hitting ensemble of great performers — Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad, Jill Scott, Alfre Woodard, Adepero Oduye and Condola Rashad.

In both the original film and the Lifetime remake, the seventh equally charming character is the South, with its small-town life, community and eccentricities that define this region so well.

Downtown Natchitoches, LA
Downtown Natchitoches, LA

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By Troy Petenbrink

It’s official: The Hunger Games topped the $400 million mark over the weekend, making it one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. But the story doesn’t end on the big screen. Now you can experience where the Hunger Games were actually shot.

Hunger Games

The phenomenal success of The Hunger Games has launched a cottage industry in North Carolina, as multiple tours are now offered to allow the movie’s fans the opportunity to visit the Hollywood-envisioned world of Katniss, Peeta and the other Tributes. READ MORE

The Descendants

With the Oscars this Sunday, we’ve pulled together our own awards list: 2011′s Most Travel-Worthy Flicks. The Descendants is a no-brainer. Who doesn’t daydream about walking barefoot on a beach in Hawaii (and with George Clooney)?

But we were equally inspired to pack our bags for the City of Lights to find the “Lost Generation” in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. Even the dark thriller Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had us eying Stockholm to see where the stories took place.

Postcard-perfect scenes in movies we saw years ago still influence our travel plans.  Even though it’s been years since we saw The Beach, we still have Maya Bay in Thailand on our bucket list. And its cinematic merits aside, Twilight couldn’t help but make us want to see the town of Forks, WA, for some of them most stunning scenery on the Olympic Peninsula.

Has a movie ever inspired one of your vacations?

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