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Friday June 22nd 2018

The Client | 1994

The Client film location: Sterick Building, Memphis, Tennessee
The Client location: the office out of which Reggie Love works: Sterick Building, Memphis, Tennessee | Photograph: wikimedia / Samuel Grant

Another legal thriller from the John Grisham factory, with Reggie Love (Susan Sarandon) acting for underage witness Mark Sway (Brad Renfro). Inevitably, it was filmed in the South, around Memphis and New Orleans.

The movie kicks off in Memphis as young Mark, sneaking a furtive smoke with his little brother, gets tangled up in the suicide of a mob lawyer who has let slip where the body of a murdered senator is buried.

The woods where the lawyer shoots himself are in the John F Kennedy Park, 4575 Raleigh-LaGrange Road in Memphis.

Mark and his traumatised brother are whisked off to the ‘Elvis Presley Wing’ of the ‘Saint Peter Charity Hospital’, which is actually The Med (the Regional Medical Center at Memphis), 877 Jefferson Avenue.

In Hollywood, no matter how poor someone is, there’ll always be a high flying lawyer willing to work for nothing, and sure enough, Mark stumbles across Love, who works out of the Gothic tower of the (currently empty) 1930s Sterick Building, 8 North Third Street at Madison Avenue, the location actually specified by Grisham in the book.

The Client film location: Arcade Restaurant, Memphis, Tennessee
The Client location: a PI keeps an eye on Mark: Arcade Restaurant, Memphis, Tennessee | Photograph: wikimedia / Thomas R Machnitzki

The seedy café where the bad guys hire a PI to keep an eye on the kid is a familiar Memphis location seen in Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train and in the Jerry Lee Lewis biopic Great Balls Of Fire, as well as The Firm, 21 Grams, Elizabethtown, Walk the Line, and My Blueberry Nights. It’s not seedy at all of course, it’s the Arcade Restaurant, 540 South Main Street, the oldest restaurant in Memphis. A historical marker, ‘Modern Movie Making in Memphis’, has been erected by the Memphis Film Commission on the sidewalk outside.

The courthouse of Harry Roosevelt (Ossie Davis) is the Memphis County Courthouse, 140 Adams Avenue, and the ‘Women’s Detention Hall’, in which Mark gets banged up, is the Criminal Justice Center, 201 Poplar Avenue.

The Client film location: Antoine's Restaurant, St Louis Street, New Orleans
The Client location: Muldano is bugged in the restaurant: Antoine's Restaurant, St Louis Street, New Orleans | Photograph: wikimedia / Infrogmation

The bad guys operate out of New Orleans. Barry Muldano (Anthony LaPaglia) and his uncle are bugged in Antoine’s Restaurant, 513 St Louis Street. Established in 1840, Antoine’s is the country's oldest family-run restaurant, and another Grisham favourite, also seen in The Pelican Brief and in Oliver Stone’s JFK.

The movie’s climax supposedly takes place in ‘New Orleans’, with Love driving over the Huey P Long Bridge, but the boathouse, where the senator is buried, is of the Snowden House Bed & Breakfast, Hwy 147, Hughes, a country inn on Horseshoe Lake, Arkansas, about 30 miles west of Memphis.