If you are a regular reader of this blog you have no doubt seen some of the movie “then and now” series we’ve posted here. Simply, we take a scene from a film shot in our area and revisit the location to see what it looks like today. If conditions allow we also try our best to duplicate the angle and composition seen in the film as closely as possible.
This movie, while not that old, was shot in and around Calgary and Southern Alberta and this provides us with lots of potential places to visit. For this post, we focus on the Thanksgiving house – the Monroe house in the film.
For most of these series we use our detective skills to find the spot where a scene was shot and do not relay on outside sources (like findingbrokeback.com). We’re hardcore! To make things interesting, Connie challenged me to find this location using Google Earth/Streetview only. Hmm, that’s a tall order, but what the heck. I’m in!
I was pretty sure the house is in Calgary (and it is) and given its architectural style it must be from the 1940s or 50s. With that in mind there must be perhaps ten or so suitable neighbourhoods from those eras where it could likely be located. The movie did provide one clue that may make this job easier – the house’s street number is clearly seen in the film. Did they keep it or change it? I assumed the former (why change it?) and so narrowed my search to include only streets where such an address could be found. Instead of 100+ blocks, I now had perhaps 20 to search.
As it turned out, it was indeed the actual street number as I had guessed and finding the little house took perhaps a half hour tops. It’s located in the northwest community of Mount Pleasant.
In the scene, Ennis visits his children and ex-wife Alma for Thanksgiving dinner. An argument ensues and he storms out of the house, jumps in his old jalopy of a truck and immediately heads to a bar (naturally).
The house seen in the shot has changed little since the movie was filmed. I guess that’s not surprising since less than ten years have passed since it’s debut. The only thing different is the missing post light in our shots, that’s it. Perhaps it was a movie prop anyway, who knows? Otherwise it’s the same, same colour and everything.
This is the only scene the house appears in and the earlier interior shots, I believe, were filmed not inside it but rather a second house. That hunch is based upon some information dug up while researching the movie. Finding its location is one of my future projects, which may be near impossible given only the interior was used (as I understand it).
While the dwelling we see here plays a minor role in the movie, none the less, we felt it would be fun to include it in one of these then and now posts. No mater how important or insignificant the scene, we want to try and find and photograph every location we can.
While we shot the house, the little old lady who lives in it, watched us from a window. I am sure she she thought “another one of those crazy Brokeback Mountain fans”. She must have encountered others before us!
Images from the movie are copyright Focus Features.
To see a “then and now” we did for the next chronological scene in the movie, go here…
Brokeback Mountain then and now – Riverton Wy bar.
To see some other movie then and now posts, follow these links…
Superman 3 then and now – opening scenes.
Silver Streak movie then and now – walking the tracks.
Then and now, the National Dream.
If you’d like to know more about what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: December, 2013.
Location: Calgary, AB.