10 Greatest sets in cinema

Just another opportunity for me to wax lyrical about the fantastically expressive qualities of cinema set design. I've actually just given a paper at a great conference about this, so it's pretty appropriate.

In no particular order -

10. Le Jour se leve (1939) - isolated apartment perfect metaphor for Jean Gabin's descent into to suicidal despair.

9. Batman Returns (1992) - Gothic meets kitsch meets camp

8. Top Hat (1935) - art deco glitziness becomes perfect arena for Fred n' Ginger's shuffling.

7. The Shining (1980) - THAT red men's room.

6. The Cabinet of Caligari (1920) - cinema's first realisation that skewed angles and dark shadows could be used to complement the narrative and frighten the bejesus out of us.

5. The Apartment (1960) - Jack Lemmon trapped in the office from hell.

4. Playtime (1967) - Jacques Tati's ascerbic swipe at the soulessness of modern architecture.

3. The Terminal (2004) - not the real JFK but a mythic JFK filtered through Spielberg's masterful feel for places and spaces not usually explored in the cinema.

2. Blade Runner (1982) - still THE defining image of what we expect out future cities to look like.

1. Rear Window (1954) - perhaps the greatest of them all? Voyeurism, comedy, tragedy and pervsersion played against the backdrop of Hitchcock's ode to cinema, city living and what happeds when we have too much time on our hands.

Any others to add?


Edmund Hardy said...

I think Almodovar's films are always beautifully designed - sets, clothes, music - making even his less inspired outings compulsive. As for the sets: What colour will the walls be? What pattern on the curtains? He presents these kaleidoscopic spaces, the colours turned (when it all works) precisely and subtly to the melodrama.

Playtime - I especially like the block of flats with windows like cartoon-panels. Also, the way the sets allow several stories to happen simultaneously. The buildings (built especially?)look like the Paris suburbs which are the future in Alphaville.

louis said...

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Ericwipe287 said...

Good list! but I like The shining and blade runner much.

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