Saturday, May 29, 2010

Film: Kate Winslet visits MMPHD for remake of "Mildred Pierce"

HBO's mini-series remake of Mildred Pierce, featuring Kate Winslet, will be filming in the Mount Morris Park Historic District on Tuesday, June 1st.  Mildred Pierce was originally a movie (adapted from a book by James Cain) which premiered in 1945, starring Joan Crawford (who won a Best Actress Academy Award for her performance.  Brief synopsis:

Set in Glendale, California in the 1930s, Mildred Pierce is the story of a middle-class housewife's attempt to maintain her and her family's social position during the Great Depression. Frustrated by her unemployed cheating husband, and worried by their dwindling finances, Mildred separates from him and sets out to support herself and her children on her own.
After a difficult search, she finally finds a job as a waitress, but she worries that it is beneath her middle-class station. Actually, Mildred worries more that her ambitious elder daughter, Veda, will think her new job is demeaning. Mildred encounters both success and tragedy, opening five successful restaurants and coping with the death of her younger daughter, Kay. Veda enjoys Mildred's newfound financial success, but increasingly turns ungrateful, demanding more and more from her hard-working mother and letting her contempt for people who must work for a living be known. Mildred's attachment to Veda forms the central tragedy of the novel. - Wikipedia, Mildred Pierce
The HBO "set" will include West 122nd Street, between MMPW and Lenox, and Mount Morris Park West, between 120th Street and 124th Street.  The letter above, posted on area lamp posts, says that cars on those streets may be towed to another location, but no fines will be assessed.

While I can certainly understand those who dislike the inconvenience film productions in the area can cause, I'm mostly really happy to have filming here.  When filming is an endorsement of our historic brownstones and beautiful architecture, as it most often seems to be, how wonderful!  Not so much when the backdrop is supposed to show urban blight and crime, as CSI and Law & Order sometimes do.

Film also ties into tourism.  Tourism is a vital part of the Harlem economy and the more Harlem is shown on film and TV, the better for tourists wanting to come to central Harlem to visit.  That brings business to our local retailers, local tour operators and will drive demand for hotels (the Aloft being built on West 124th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd is the first beneficiary).  More dining and entertainment options will follow.  So bring on the film crews!

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