The Game, 1997
visit the film locations
San Francisco: Flights: San Francisco International Airport
The Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery Street at Market Street in San Francisco’s Financial District (tel: 415.512.1111)
Los Angeles: Flights:Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Eat at: Bob’s Big Boy Broiler, 7447 Firestone Boulevard, Downey.
The Game location: Nicholas van Orton's mansion: Filoli Estate, Woodside, California
A sinister survival game spirals out of control to turn the life of rich businessman Nicholas van Orton (Michael Douglas) upside down in David Fincher’s ultimately contrived follow up to the magnificent Se7en.
The set-up is promising, but we're expected to swallow a few too many improbabilities for the premise to be satisfying.
Van Orton's mansion is about 25 miles south of the city. It’s the Filoli Mansion, Canada Road, Woodside – familiar from the opening credits of Dynasty and also seen in Heaven Can Wait. The name ‘Filoli’ was concocted from the initial two letters of : “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life”, the motto of first owner William Bourn.
Inevitably, there was filming in Los Angeles. The offices of CRS, the ‘Consumer Recreations Services’ company, is the old Unocal Building, 1202 West Fifth Street at Beaudry Street – a veteran location, seen in The X-Files movie, among others. now fittingly converted into the LA Center Studios.
Among key San Francisco sites, the Merchant Exchange Club, 465 California Street, was transformed into the men’s athletic club, where van Orton overhears the CRS game being discussed, and its Julia Morgan Ballroom became the office of van Orton’s law firm (Julia Morgan was not only the architect of William Randolph Hearst’s castle at San Simeon – the inspiration for Citizen Kane's 'Xanadu', but also designed Herald Examiner Building, downtown Los Angeles where much of The Usual Suspects was shot.
Pier 24 on the Embarcadero waterfront, was the site of a stunt that sent a taxi flying off the Embarcadero, up the pier and into the water. The scene required an elaborate water housing for the three-camera shot. Back in Los Angeles, the close-ups would be shot on the Sony stages in two different water tanks.
Van Orton finds himself dumped by the gamesters in Mexico, in Mexicali, Baja California.
Making his way back to the US, he begs for a lift back to San Francisco in Johnie’s Broiler, a classic diner in Downey, Los Angeles. The classic 1958 restaurant, seen also in Michael Mann’s Heat, Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, Reality Bites, and Tina Turner biopic What’s Love Got To Do With It closed down and was largely demolished. Amazingly, it’s back from the dead and has been rebuilt as Bob’s Big Boy Broiler, 7447 Firestone Boulevard.
Van Orton tracks actor Feingold (James Rebhorn) to San Francisco Zoo, Sloat Boulevard at 47th Highway. Feingold leads van orton to the cafeteria of the CRS organisation, which was created in the Letterman Hospital on the grounds of The Presidio, a former military base stretching out over some of the city’s most scenic property at the entrance top the Golden Gate Bridge. The site is currently under development by George Lucas.
The cathartic, if unlikely, climax is set in the extravagant, glass-roofed Garden Court of the Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery Street in San Francisco’s Financial District. It’s the oldest grand luxury hotel in the city and, of course, extremely pricey.