Friday, August 21, 2009

East of Eden: Film Locations

East of Eden
Much of James Dean's first major film, East of Eden, was filmed on location in central California, but there were a few scenes filmed on the Warner Bros. backlot in Burbank. One scene in particular, the parade scene, was shot on the Midwest Street backlot. Here are some screenshots from the parade scene matched with some of my photos of the Midwest Street backlot. [scroll down to see additional updates added on November 18, 2013].

Click images to see larger.

East of Eden - Parade Scene
Above, the parade goes through town in what is supposed to be the Salinas Valley, but really it is the Warner Bros. Midwest Street backlot. Below is my photo showing the same area as it appears today. Notice one big difference? No dirt in the streets. Yes, dirt was brought in to cover the streets of the backlot in order to establish the time period of when the film takes place - 1917.

Midwest Street, Warner Bros. Studios

Chapel as seen in East of Eden
Above is a screenshot showing a chapel that can be seen during the parade scene. Below is the same chapel as it appears today.

Chapel on Midwest Street, Warner Bros. Studios

Drug Store - East of Eden

Above is a screenshot of the drug store. Julie Harris and Richard Davalos can be seen cutting between the cars.

Drug Store Location - Warner Bros. Studios, Burbank

Watching the Parade from the Park
Above Julie Harris and Richard Davalos watch the parade go by from the middle of the park. Below is a photo showing the park looking further out. That fountain in the middle is actually a set piece for a new TV show called Eastwick, based on the film The Witches of Eastwick. The show will be airing on ABC this fall.

Park in Midwest Street Backlot, Warner Bros. Studios

James Dean Stands Along Parade Route
Below is a photo I took of the buildings that appear behind James Dean when he stands along the parade route. Although the buildings have been repainted and changed slightly you can still make out the patterns on the windows.

Midwest Street, Warner Bros. Studios

Updated November 18, 2013

Raymond Massey, Julie Harris and James Dean

The "Trask" house located on Kings Row on the Warner Bros. backlot.

Previously this post on East of Eden film locations only included those locations seen on Warner Bros. Midwest Street backlot. Today I've updated this post to include the "Trask" family home set where James Dean, Raymond Massey, and Richard Davalos live in the film. The house is also located on the Warner Bros backlot, on a residential street just off of Midwest Street that is sometimes referred to as Kings Row (after the 1942 film titled Kings Row). Above is a comparison of the house and below is a comparison of the view looking down the sidewalk in front of the house.

Looking down the sidewalk from the Trask home on Kings Row.

A contemporary view looking down the sidewalk in front of the Trask home.

I also recently came across this brilliant video put together by Herve Attia which does an excellent job of doing a video comparison of the central California locations seen during the opening scene of East of Eden. You can push a button on the lower right corner of the video to expand to full screen.

 
East of Eden (1955) Opening scene filming locations comparison.

If you want to see where James Dean lived when he left New York for California to film East of Eden check out an earlier post of mine here.
If you want to see some film locations from another James Dean film click here.
You're thoughts?

8 comments:

MH said...

So cool! I'm glad all of it is still there. It was SUCH a great film.

kittypackard said...

Great post, Robby! East of Eden has long been my favorite James Dean film.

I wonder just how many films that midwest street chapel appears in ...

The Kid In The Front Row said...

woah this is really cool, i wanna go see these locations!

Dr Bitz said...

Nice work! Wasn't "The Music Man" both Universal and WB lots?

Robby Cress said...

Hi Dr. Bitz,

Thanks. You're right, "The Music Man" was also filmed here at the WB backlot as well as at the Universal lot. That would be a good post for another time :)

Dr Bitz said...

I watched it yesterday and the infamous "pool hall" was the Corner Store with the turret that you show. The funny thing is how much of the residential streets, etc were shot on Stage 16.

Tom said...

Great post and pictures!

frenchjr25 said...

East of Eden was filmed in the town of Mendocino, on the Northern California coast. Shows such as Murder She Wrote also filmed there.

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