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Tuesday March 5th 2024

Death Wish | 1974

A huge box-office success, and an equally huge controversy over vigilantism.

The casting of grizzly tough guy Charles Bronson undermines the potentially interesting concept of drippy-liberal conscientious objector transformed into an avenging anti-hero only after his wife and daughter have been viciously attacked.

Set, and largely filmed, in New York. The apartment of architect Paul Kersey (Bronson) is 33 Riverside Avenue at West 75th Street on the West Side, and it’s in nearby Riverside Park, overlooking the Hudson River, that Kersey blows away his first mugger.

The architectural office, in which Kersey works, is 2 Park Avenue at 32nd Street in the Murray Hill district.

Kersey’s crusade was originally to have been inspired by a viewing of High Noon, but when it proved impossible to use clips from the Fred Zinnemann classic, Kersey’s inspiration became a business trip to Tucson, Arizona, where he watches the Old West shoot-out at the Old Tucson, 201 South Kinney Road, a movie-lot turned tourist attraction near Tucson.

Films have been made on the site since the Western Arizona, in 1939. Classic Westerns made here include Anthony Mann’s Winchester ’73, with James Stewart; Gunfight at the OK Corral, with Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster; and Howard HawksRio Bravo and El Dorado, with John Wayne.