‘Edison’s Greatest Marvel’ Vitascope Ad NY Herald 1896
Last week we talked about the Hamptons International Film Festival 2018. It seems quite fitting to progress to the subject of Hamptons Movies.
But, given how many movie industry types call the Hamptons “home” (or at least 2nd or 3rd home, or spend a lot of time here), there are too many “Hamptons Movies” to cover in just one blog! There are . . .
- Movies made in the Hamptons
- Movies about the Hamptons
- Movies made by Hamptons’ notables
- Casting Directors
- Costume Designers
- I think I should forget about producers – that might add up to almost every movie made in America!
- Studio films
- Independent films
- Foreign films
- Narrative films
- Documentary films
- Short films
- Animated films
- Student films
- TV films and series, and what the Academy calls “Limited Series”
- YOUTube videos – of every size, shape, and color
- Music videos
- I prefer to skip commercials
Have I missed anything? Please let me know!
Poster from ‘The Sheik,’ 1921
Hamptons Cinematic History
I have always been movie fan and a voracious student of film history. In fact, my minor at Sarah Lawrence College way back in the early ‘70s was Film History and Criticism. If you have read my blog Our Hamptons Reading List: Nonfiction Edition you will know I am also a fan of the history of the Hamptons. Combine those two passions, and maybe we will start with a little history.
The earliest mention of the Hamptons in the movies (that I am aware of) is the filming of The Sheik with Rudolph Valentino in 1921. There are conflicting versions of where it was shot, but my vote goes to the Walking Dunes in Napeague.
To quote Dan’s Papers, “This was in the early days of film, and it was supposed to be in the Sahara, but there was no budget to go to the Sahara, so they made it here.” It certainly looked more like the desert than New Jersey, which was where Thomas Edison held tight reins on the movie industry until his patent-breaking goons drove the movie industry to California.
Publicity Photo from Woody Allen’s ‘Stardust Memories’
Some Favorite Hamptons Movies
A few of the most notable (at least for me) Hamptons movies are:
- Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories (1980) – in which he plays a famous filmmaker who is accosted, when he arrives for a retrospective of his films at what looks suspiciously like the Hamptons International Film Festival, by a fan who tells him she preferred his “earlier, funnier movies” to his more recent artistic efforts . . .
- Barbara Kopple’s ABC Documentary mini-series The Hamptons (2002) – which was NOT well received by the locals! In fact, we paid more attention to the bad press she got than to her insipid depiction of high society, parties, scandals and supermodels. Not “life in the Hamptons” as we know and love it . . .
- Nancy Meyer’s delightful Something’s Gotta Give (2003) – a romantic comedy starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton – a surprise box-office hit despite fears that it’s lead characters were too old to be bankable. I was younger than them then (though older now, than they were then) but appreciated the concept that you are never too old for true love. And what’s not to love about the beach house in which it was filmed which made headlines when it sold in 2010 for $41 million.
Publicity Photo from ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton
- The Maysles Brothers’ documentary Grey Gardens (1975) – no, not the Broadway Musical (2007) for which Christine Ebersole won a Tony Award, or the HBO film (2009) starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. The latter were both really good but this is the real thing!
- John Canemaker’s Academy Award winning Animated Short Film The Moon and the Sun: An Imagined Conversation (2005). John and his husband and co-writer Joe Kennedy live in Bridgehampton and are old friends of ours. Joe worked with me at the BBC oh so many years ago. It really is a rush to see a dear friend accept an Oscar on TV!
- And here’s one which you probably haven’t seen unless you follow my blog: Masks (2015), a student film by Brian Gonzalez shot in our Graybarn Cottage. They liked filming there so much that they made us our own “Thank You” movie!
Screenshot of ‘Masks’ Filmed at the Graybarn Cottage 2015
Until then, watch lots of movies, or make your own.
And send me your suggestions – especially if the movies are rather obscure. Do you think I should really do a list of Dolly Grips, Gaffers, and 2nd 2nd Assistants from the Hamptons? How about Pyrotechnics Coordinators?
Come and share our love of movies and the Hamptons . . . Call us or email us to book your stay.