”Out of the Furnace,” is just one of the latest films over the past century that has used Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania as a location for movies set in and around down and out steel mill towns. Although well known for it’s gritty working class neighborhoods, the Steelers, the Duquesne Incline and the long-gone Three Rivers stadium, it was also the home of Andy Warhol, Gilded-age tycoons Andrew Carnegie, Andrew W. Mellon & Henry Phipps Jr.
Pop Quiz: Can you name the three rivers that converge at the city’s point? Mull it over while seeing if your favorite Pittsburgh film made the list.
11. The Deer Hunter (1978) Working class steel workers Robert DeNiro, Christopher Walken and John Savage go to war and play Russian roulette with the Viet Cong.
10. Unstoppable (2010) Chris Pine and Denzel Washington try to stop a runaway freight train loaded with toxic chemicals racing toward the city. The last film directed by Tony Scott.
9. Mrs. Soffel (1984)
Diane Keaton is a bored jail warden’s housewife who falls for a hardened criminal who happens to be Mel Gibson during his sexiest man alive days. She abandons her husband and children, breaks Mel out of jail, then goes on the lame together. Based on the true story of Jack and Ed Biddle, two brothers who escaped from Allegheny Country Jail in 1902.
8. Striking Distance (1993)
Bruce Willis is a cop demoted to patrolling the three rivers with Sarah Jessica Parker while searching for a serial killer. This film placed higher in the list for the best showcasing of the city’s famous rivers, skyline and landmark locations.
7. Groundhog Day (1993)
Bill Murray is a Pittsburgh weatherman who finds himself living the same day over and over again. Set in Punxsutawney, about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
6. The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh (1979)
In the sports/fantasy/comedy category, a struggling basketball team reinvents themselvesas the astrologically compatible Pittsburgh Pisces accompanied by a funky disco soundtrack featuring NBA star Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Stockard Channing and Flip Wilson with a cameo by longtime Mayor Richard Caliguiri.
5-3. Night of the Living Dead (1968) Dawn of the Dead (1978) Day of the Dead (1985)
The original Walking Dead. This trilogy of zombie flicks was directed by George Romero, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. Locals felt a certain pride and strong attachment for the second installment which was filmed at the Monroeville Mall, which led to the awesome tagline:
“WHEN THERE’S NO ROOM IN HELL, THE DEAD WALK THE MALLS!”
2. All the Right Moves (1983)
A football scholarship is the only way out of a dying steel mill town for a pre “Top Gun” Tom Cruise. Craig T. Nelson plays the coach that nearly crushes his dreams of going to college. Any time anyone asks me what it was like growing up around the Pittsburgh area I tell them to watch this movie.
1. Flashdance (1983)
A sexy welder by day and stripper at night has aspirations of attending ballet school. Inspired a generation of girls to cut up their shirts. A nice blending of the city’s arts and culture scene and working class stiffs. What-A-Feeling!
*Liesl Bradner was raised in Monroeville and Greensburg, PA
To mark the 80th anniversary of the end of Prohibition today- a couple creative and not very discreet fashions designed to stash booze. More photos from that era here.If its a speakeasy you’re nostalgic for - Jack & Charlie’s 21 club in New York City was one of the most famous, known for its disappearing bar, false doors and secret wine cellar. It still stands today…Life features photos of the speakeasies. by Margaret Bourke-White.
" …On one of the barricades I saw this guy waving the Turkish flag, collapsing from the tear gas and retreating when it was too much too take. Even though I wore a gas mask, I had problems breathing. He did that a few times without any protection. I followed him for a while and took this frame.
The photo went viral within minutes after I posted it on Facebook and a Turkish friend shared it. Within hours 10,000 people posted it, made it their profile picture and appropriated it. It appeared on t-shirts and posters and, oddly, was turned into a monument in Turkey’s third biggest city, Izmir.”
Two stellar photo books published this year focus on the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq both worth taking a look. “Vietnam the Real War,” (Abrams) and “Photojournalists On War: The Untold Stories From Iraq,” (Univ. of Texas Press)
After an illustrious 24-year career, the David Beckham of Cricket announced his retirement this week. It was just a few years ago that luxury publisher Kraken Opus offered a $75,000, book celebrating the cricket star’s career. A pint of Tendulkar’s blood was mixed with paper pulp for the signature page of the book. Only 10 editions of the Tendulkar Opus were made and all of them have been sold out. One can only hope they’ll publish a more affordable trade edition for the low price of say, $25,000? Ha!
Henry Grossman’s portraits of both JFK and Johnson appeared on the cover of the New York Times the day after the assassination. He will be on 60 minutes tonight on CBS at 7 p.m. to talk about his time with The Kennedy’s and the Beatles.
Photos: Cover of New York Times Nov. 23, 1963. John Lennon combing Grossman’s hair Beatles style while on a break from filming “Help” in the Bahamas 1965. Ed Sullivan Show 1964. Copyright: Henry Grossman
Select images from the book “#Sandy: Seen Through the iPhones of Acclaimed Photographers,” are currently on view at the exhibit “Rising Waters: Photographs of Sandy,” at the Museum of the City of New York.
More here from my piece on the story behind the book of iphone photos of Hurricane Sandy.
"Rose Kennedy’s Family Album: From the Fitzgerald’s Private Family Collection 1878-1946" with a foreword by Caroline Kennedy (Grand Central Publishing, $45) provides a visual history of the dynastic brood with 300 images from matriarch Rose Kennedy’s private collection taken between 1878 to 1946. Photos of beach vacations, birthday parties and first communions captured the carefree younger generation long before they entered the political arena.
"John F. Kennedy Sites in Dallas-Fort Worth" by Mark Doty and John H. Slate (Arcadia Publishing) shows how the president’s politicking trip to Texas was planned as a two-day, five-city tour. The majority of the sites associated with that day still stand. Two hundred vintage black-and-white photos from the Dallas Municipal Archives show buildings and neighborhoods Kennedy visited, such as Fort Worth’s Hotel Texas, as well as Lee Harvey Oswald’s grave and the Texas Theatre, where he was arrested. The image on the left show Lee Harvey Oswald’s family at his funeral. Picture on the right: " In October 1981, with his widow’s support, Oswald’s grave was opened to test atheory that during Oswald’s stay in the Soviet Union he was replaced with a Soviet double. Some believed that it was this double, not Oswald himself, who killed Kennedy and who was buried in Oswald’s grave. However, dental records positively identified the exhumed corpse as Oswald’s and a unique surgical scar of his was also present.” (Dallas Morning News.)
Credits: Kennedy Family Collection, JFKL 1934 (top 2) & “John F. Kennedy Sites in Dallas-Fort Worth”
In 1938, the UK’s Picture Post magazine anointed photojournalist ROBERT CAPA ‘The Greatest War Photographer In The World’.
Born Endre Friedmann, Capa’s reinvention, fearless bravery and voracious appetite for life led him to cover 5 major conflicts from the Spanish Civil War onwards – famously stepping onto the beaches of Normandy with the first wave of allied infantry during the D-Day landings. Co-founder of Magnum Photos in 1947 Capa once said ‘if your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough’ a mantra that would eventually end his life whilst covering the Indo-China war. It was a death that would forever symbolize the line between the very best place and the very worst place for a war photographer as a precariously thin one.
Robert Capa (1913 - 1954) at a meeting of the Magnum photographic co-operative, Paris, circa 1947. Photo by Ernst Haas