Posts Tagged ‘set design’

For my first Film Friday blog, Cate asked me to think of some films with beautiful interiors, and immediately I thought of the 1998 version of Great Expectations. I first saw this modern adaptation of the Dickens novel when I was fourteen, and I was completely taken with the theatrical nature of the old ruins of Ms Havisham’s mansion. It’s been a film setting that has stuck in my mind over the years and despite its derelict appearance in the film, there is something very special about the building, perfectly capturing Ms Havisham’s character.

The dusty old home is located in Florida, where the film is set and scrubs up nicely. The Cá d’Zan in Sarasota, Florida was the home to circus owner and art collector John Ringling and his wife and today is open to the public for tours and visits all year round.

Built in the 1920s in a Mediterranean Revival style the building is truly mesmerising and was the perfect location for the Great Expectations film.

I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for film adaptations of famous novels, especially modern versions. Having studied Great Expectations in school, I’ve always had a little soft spot for it, but even more so for this film. For me, there’s something about exciting about forgotten buildings left to be covered in dust and vines, whilst hidden underneath are architectural masterpieces. They’re grand old houses, completely impractical for modern day living but works of art none the less; they’re the kinds of buildings that have souls.

This beautiful ballroom, where Pip and Estella learn to dance, leading out onto a ocean view is my particular favourite. It’s authentic in its elegance, from the beautiful stained glass, to the chandelier, to the balcony, there’s something magical about it.

In the film the house is rather fittingly named ‘Paradiso Perduto’ which translates to Lost Paradise. Great Expectations is one of those films where a lot of credit and admiration should be given to the set decorator, Susan Bode, and her ability to turn a well-kept historical home into a well-orchestrated forgotten land of mystery.

This truly is a beautiful location for an interesting take on some classic literature, so if you’ve never seen it, it may be worth taking a look, even if it is just for the stunning scenery!

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Quite unexpectedly, I loved this film. I saw it about two weeks ago, which I admit is about five years too late, and I have no idea why I expected it to be an overly cutesy Rom Com but I was completely wrong. I was captivated by the two driven women, in roles that were not already established (female food writer and blogger) who did things in their own way. Good for them I say. I also say, lovely interiors. The storyline covers Julia Child’s time in Paris in the 1950s – hello the interiors – attending Le Cordon Bleu to learn to cook and writing a book about French cooking for American housewives and Julie’s time set in Queens in the 2000’s blogging about her attempt to cook each recipe in Julia Child’s book during the course of a year. The backdrops to both storylines are very inviting and beautifully presented.

Julia's kitchen



Stanley Tucci as "Paul Child" in Columbia Pictures' JULIE & JULIA.

Julia's kitchen 3


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Julie's desk

Julie's kitchen


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Roof terrace

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