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Wednesday December 19th 2018

Thelma And Louise | 1991

Thelma and Louise location: Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah
Thelma and Louise location: the ending: Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah | Photograph: iStockphoto / Adventure_Photo

Feminist road movie or male fantasies in drag? You takes your choice.

The movie’s journey is from ‘Arkansas through Oklahoma and Colorado to Arizona’, but the master of deceptive locations, Ridley Scott, filmed only the last third of the movie, in the desert, outside greater Los Angeles and Bakersfield. And that was in mainly in Utah.

The green, wet landscape of ‘Arkansas’ is actually an area around Gorman, north of Los Angeles and the Lockwood Valley, dressed with appropriate cattle.

The gradual descent into the central valley of California at Bakersfield is used for the transition from the crowded, narrow mountains of ‘Arkansas’ to the open plains of ‘Oklahoma’. It’s north to Shafter for the train sequence, then to the dust fields and oil rigs of Taft in the west central valley.

The 'mid-west' C&W bar, where the attempted rape that turns the adventure sour takes place, is in southern Los Angeles. It was the Silver Bullet, and is now Cowboy Country, 3321 South Street, between Obispo and Downey Avenues, Long Beach.

Thelma and Louise location: Vagabond Inn, South Figueroa Street, downtown Los Angeles
Thelma and Louise location: Meeting JD at the ‘mid-west’ motel: Vagabond Inn, South Figueroa Street, downtown Los Angeles

The motel, where the pair meet up with studly JD (Brad Pitt), can also be found, not in the wide-open spaces, but just south of Downtown Los Angeles. It’s the Vagabond Inn Los Angeles at USC, 3101 South Figueroa Street, near the University of Southern California campus and the Shrine Auditorium.

Thelma and Louise location: Bedrock General Store, Bedrock, Colorado
Thelma and Louise location: Louise phones the FBI: Bedrock General Store, Bedrock, Colorado | Photograph: Wikimedia / David Coggins

There’s some filming in the real Colorado, at Unaweep Canyon, Grand Junction on I-70 in the west of the state. Louise (Susan Sarandon) phones the FBI agent from Bedrock General Store, 9812 CO-90, Bedrock, Colorado.

The desert scenes, while pretending to be the rather flat ‘New Mexico’, are the spectacular sandstone landscapes of the La Sal Mountains, Route 46, southeast of Moab in eastern Utah; Arches National Park, to the north of Moab and Canyonlands National Park to the southwest.

The police chase is at Cisco, Utah. Filming also took place at Thompson Springs and Valley City.

And the Grand Canyon? Nope. The spectacular gorge of the final scene is not the Grand Canyon, but the Colorado River flowing through Dead Horse Point State Park, on SR 313, 18 miles off Hwy 191 about 30 miles southwest of Moab.