Venice | 1955
Armored in a fierce independence that disguises her loneliness, Jane Hudson (Katharine Hepburn) travels to Venice, where she falls in love with a dashing Italian shopkeeper (Rossano Brazzi). Director David Lean was heard to remark during the shooting, “I want Venice to be the star of this picture!” Is it ever. The story also has some good lessons about leaving your guidebook and camera in the hotel and throwing yourself fully into a destination—just, please, not into the canals.
Your Turn: The Pensione Fiorini in reality is called the Pensione Accademia, a hotel occupying the 17th-century Villa Maravege, at the confluence of two canals (011-39/041-521-0188, pensioneaccademia.it, $160). The spot where Kate fell in is the small square in front of the church of Santa Barnaba. Due to high pollution levels, we strongly recommend against a swim; Hepburn picked up a nasty chronic eye infection during filming. But you can re-create the romantic day trip to Burano, a village-size version of Venice in the northern end of the lagoon, where each house is painted a different, super-saturated color (take vaporetto LN from Venice’s Fondamente Nuove stop, $4.30).
Los Angeles | 1996
A fledgling comedian named Mike (Jon Favreau) leaves his girlfriend in New York to search for stardom in L.A. His friends—Trent (Vince Vaughn), Rob (Ron Livingston), Sue (Patrick Van Horn), and Charles (Alex Desert)—thrust him headfirst into the singles scene, and Mike struggles. The clever script (written by Favreau) makes the most of spirited stops in classic Hollywood haunts. The movie cost $250,000 to make, but Miramax bought it for $5 million. “You’re so money,” indeed.
Your Turn: The title refers to the rebirth of the 1940s swing-dancing scene in L.A. At its epicenter was the neighborhood of Los Feliz. Mike and his buddies dance at The Derby, which hosts a swing night every Sunday (4500 Los Feliz Blvd., 323/663-8979, the-derby.com, $10, lessons at 6 p.m. and a live band at 8:30 p.m.). About a mile away is the Dresden Room, where you can catch lounge singers Marty and Elayne, who spoof themselves in the film, and try a Blood & Sand, the signature cocktail (1760 N. Vermont Ave., 323/665-4294, drink $7). The boys also play the nine-hole pitch-and-putt at the Los Feliz Golf Course (3207 Los Feliz Blvd., 323/663-7758, weekdays $4). The Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop, where the film starts and ends, has moved; in its place you’ll find The 101 Coffee Shop (6145 Franklin Ave., 323/467-1175, chorizo and eggs $6.25).
13) Roman Holiday, Rome | 1953
Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) doesn’t tell Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) that she’s playing hooky from royal life; he doesn’t tell her that he’s a journalist taking notes on the sly. Of course, they end up falling in love—with each other, and Rome.
Your Turn: Joe gives his address as Via Margutta 51, and that’s where his apartment scenes were shot. You can still glimpse the glassed-in balcony on the top floor. Ann puffs her first cigarette at an outdoor café on Piazza della Rotonda. That café is now a shop, but there are plenty of other outdoor tables on the piazza. To really follow in the couple’s tracks, you’ll want to rent a Vespa. They start at $12 per hour, from Bici & Baci (011-39/06-482-8443, bicibaci.com) or Happy Rent (011-39/06-481-8185, happyrent.com). Begin at the Trinità dei Monti church at the top of the Spanish Steps, and make your way to the Colosseum—for the first time in decades, you can wander around inside just as they do in the film (011-39/06-3996-7700, $8). A few blocks south of the Campidoglio, on Piazza Bocca della Verità, is the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, which preserves on its portico a monstrous stone face that is known as the Mouth of Truth (011-39/06-678-1419, free). As Joe explains, if you stick your hand into the mouth and tell a lie, it’ll bite off your fingers. Peck pulled down his sleeve so it looked as if his hand really did get chopped off. Hepburn fell for it, and her scream in the film is real.
12) The Endless Summer
California, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii | 1966
In his first-of-its-kind documentary, director Bruce Brown followed surfers Robert August and Mike Hynson in their quest for the perfect wave—a yearlong journey to a dozen locations around the world. As dramatic as the surfing is, what lingers long after is the can-do, must-travel spirit.
Your Turn: Shot in eight countries, the movie begins and ends in California. Start at Malibu Beach with lessons from Malibu Longboards (818/990-7633, malibulongboards.com). A private 90-minute session costs $125 and includes surfboard, wet suit, and free video. Catch waves or get your money back. More-experienced boarders will want to head north to Steamer Lane, a surf spot in Santa Cruz. It’s where Brown filmed Henry, a bodysurfing seal. The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum (Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse, W. Cliff Dr., 831/420-6289, donations accepted) is in a lighthouse with spectacular views of Monterey Bay; afterward, go to Taqueria Vallarta, a favorite of the surfing set (608 Soquel Ave., 831/457-8226, burrito $5.50). The Darling House is the only B&B right on the water, overlooking Steamer Lane (314 W. Cliff Dr., 831/458-1958, darlinghouse.com, from $95). Brown and company did find the perfect wave—six to seven hours south of Durban, South Africa, at Cape St. Francis. Time your visit so you can check out the Mr. Price Pro competition, held each July on North Beach (aspworldtour.com).
11) From Here to Eternity
Hawaii | 1953
Doomed lovers, cruel officers, deadly knife fights, and a brooding Montgomery Clift—not exactly standard 1950s Hollywood fare for an army story taking place in the last days before Pearl Harbor. And yet, the film won eight Oscars and produced one of the most famous love scenes in silver screen history.
Your Turn: To do it right, first meet your own personal Burt Lancaster or Deborah Kerr for a tryst on a bench at Kuhio Beach—along Kalakaua Avenue, starting at Uluniu Avenue—with Diamondhead in the background. Then head east out of Waikiki on the H1, past Hanauma Bay, and park in the lot for the Halona Blowhole. Climb over the low wall on the south side of the parking lot, and scramble down the rocks into tiny, protected Halona Cove. Lie in the surf. You can take it from there.