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Tuesday September 17th 2019

The Cincinnati Kid | 1965

The Cincinnati Kid filming location: Jackson Square and St Louis Cathedral, New Orleans
The Cincinnati Kid location: The Kid walks through the rain, waiting for the big game: Jackson Square and St Louis Cathedral, New Orleans | Photograph: Shutterstock / evenfh

The Kid (Steve McQueen) is the up-and-coming stud poker player eager to take on legendary player Lancey Howard (Edward G Robinson), aka The Man, in this Depression era drama, which began as a Sam Peckinpah project.

After two weeks, Peckinpah was fired by the studio when he insisted on filming (albeit fleetingly) nudity – a definite no-no for a major studio in 1965. He was replaced by Norman Jewison and the footage he'd shot (which was in black and white) was discarded.

The film’s interiors were filmed at the MGM Studios in Culver City, Los Angeles, but the setting is New Orleans, quickly signalled during the credits sequence with a traditional jazz funeral heading to St Louis Cemetery No.1, 425 Basin Street. You can visit the cemetery but, now, only if you're accompanied by a licensed tour guide!

Since the production was based in Los Angeles, there’s the inevitable use of a location closer to the studio so, when the Kid leaps out of a bathroom window after being accused of cheating and runs across the rail yard, this is Redondo Junction, the site of the LA Amtrak maintenance facility about three miles south of Union Station, just north of East Washington Boulevard alongside the Los Angeles River.

That 120-foot turntable across which he escapes was once housed in a 25-track roundhouse. The turntable remains but the Roundhouse, which dated from 1914, was demolished in 2000.

The rest of the exterior s are New Orleans. The Kid discusses the fearsome prowess of Howard with fellow card-player Shooter (Karl Malden) as they cross the river on the Mississippi Ferry.

Meanwhile good-girl Christian (Tuesday Weld) and bad-girl Melba (Ann-Margret) are eyeing the bathing costumes displayed in a shop window on St Peter Street near Cabildo Alley in the French Quarter. The Gumbo Shop Restaurant, 630 St Peter Street, which you can see in the background, is still in business.

The Cincinnati Kid filming location: Lafayette Hotel, St Charles Avenue, New Orleans
The Cincinnati Kid location: the venue for the big game: Lafayette Hotel, St Charles Avenue, New Orleans | Photograph: Google Maps

Christian and Melba come across the Kid getting his shoes shined as he leans on the railings of Jackson Square on Decatur Street at St Ann Street.

Later, stressed out has he impatiently waits for the big game against The Man, the Kid walks through Jackson Square in the pouring rain, with the landmark St Louis Cathedral, 615 Pere Antoine Alley, behind him.

The climactic poker game is held in New Orleans’ historic 1916 LaFayette Hotel, 600 St Charles Avenue, overlooking LaFayette Square.

The hotel's elaborate entrance is seen but, of course, the interior was recreated back in the MGM Studios.