Batman Forever | 1995
As the directorial reins were handed over to Joel Schumacher, the series came up with an eclectic mix of East and West Coast locations.
‘Wayne Manor’ undergoes another transformation, to a Long Island mansion. This time it’s the Webb Institute of Naval Architecture (previously The Braes), Welwyn Preserve on Crescent Beach, Glen Cove on the north shore of Long Island.
‘Pan-Asia Town’, scene of Two-Face’s opening robbery, is over on the West Coast. It’s a section of Figueroa Street, downtown Los Angeles, dressed with a flurry of neon signs. The ‘Gotham’ backstreets, where Robin (Chris O'Donnell) takes the Batmobile for a spin and encounters the dayglo street-gang, filmed on the old Hennessy Street set, a section of New York’s Greenwich Village built on the backlot at Warner Bros’ Burbank Studios.
But more ‘Gotham City’-scapes were found in New York, on Exchange Place, the ultimate concrete canyon, running between Broadway and William Street, a block north of Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.
Not far away is the grandiose entrance to the ‘Ritz Gotham Hotel’, where Ed Nygma (Jim Carrey) holds his wild bash. It’s the National Museum of the American Indian – previously the old US Customs House – Broadway at Bowling Green, Lower Manhattan (the art museum seen in Ghostbusters II, the 'Public Archives' in The Royal Tenenbaums, and the ‘Social Services department’ in Adam Sandler comedy Big Daddy).
In a flash, it’s back to the West Coast for the ‘Ritz’ interior, which is the black-and-gold zigzag moderne foyer of the venerable Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, a venue for the Oscar ceremony in the 50s and a location seen in The Bodyguard, Species and Tim Burton’s Ed Wood.
The office of Dr Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman) is New York. The exterior, where the Batmobile arrives, and the imposing arched marble foyer with its double staircase, are those of the 1911 Surrogate’s Court, 31 Chambers Street at Center Street, Lower Manhattan, also the site of the climax of Romeo Is Bleeding. You can see the exterior again as the nightclub in John Wick.
The building is open to the public. Meridian’s bizarre nouveau-ish apartment is a studio set, but you can see the room it’s based on in Prague Castle.
Similarly with the ‘Gotham City’ Police headquarters rooftop, where the bat-signal is located. Although this is a set, you can see the two real art-deco buildings that inspired it: one in lower Manhattan, at 60 Wall Street, the other over in downtown Los Angeles – the turquoise terra-cotta Eastern Columbia Building, 849 South Broadway (see the real thing in quirky romance (500) Days of Summer and Predator 2).
Still on the west coast is the dazzling Los Angeles Theatre, 615 South Broadway, whose glittering lobby is used as ‘Gotham’s Excelsior Grand Casino’. See the same location again in Richard Attenborough’s Chaplin and Charlie’s Angels.
The exterior of Two-Face’s lair is the monumental façade of New York’s Manhattan Bridge, while the Riddler’s ‘Claw Island’ lair is a, slightly enhanced, view of Alcatraz Island in the bay at San Francisco in longshot, and the old ARCO Refinery, Carson, California, for closer views.