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Tuesday September 18th 2018

Blow Out | 1981

Blow Out location: Philadelphia City Hall, Philadelphia
Blow Out location: John Travolta careers through Philadelphia City Hall, Philadelphia

This aural version of Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup, with John Travolta as Jack Terry, a movie sound engineer who captures the suspicious death of a state governor on tape, was filmed around director Brian de Palma’s home town, Philadelphia.

The car ‘accident’ – with its echoes of Chappaquiddick – is on Wissahickon Bridge over Wissahickon Creek southwest of Philadelphia.

Jack Terry meets Sally (Nancy Allen) at the city’s elegant 30th Street Station, 30th Street just over the Schuylkill River (site of the murder in Peter Weir’s Witness), and it’s here that Burke (John Lithgow) garrottes a prostitute and later stalks Sally.

From the 30th Street Subway, Burke and Sally take the Franklin Bridge Express to Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River. Following in his jeep, Terry careers through the central plaza of Philadelphia City Hall, Penn Square at Broad Street, before crashing into the window display at Wanamaker’s Department Store, Market and 13th Streets (the department store was also featured in 1987’s Mannequin, with Kim Cattrall as the shop-window dummy come-to-life).

Terry finally catches up with Burke and Sally (but is he in time?) atop the Port of History Building at historic Penn’s Landing.