Dirty Rotten Scoundrels | 1988
A remake of 1964’s Bedtime Story, with Michael Caine and Steve Martin taking over from David Niven and Marlon Brando as Lawrence and Freddy, two conmen vying for the hand of Janet Colgate (Glenne Headly) among the pleasantly glitzy environs of the French Riviera.
This stretch of coastal resorts centering on Nice, and running from Cannes to Monte Carlo, has been the playground of the British aristocracy since the 18th century. The brilliant, clear light later attracted artists such as Renoir (whose home you can visit in Cagnes-sur-Mer), Matisse and Picasso. In the Sixties, it became synonymous with the jet set and, of course, the annual Cannes Film Festival.
The setting of ‘Beaumont-sur-Mer’, though, is fictitious. It’s mainly Beaulieu-sur-Mer, an elegant Edwardian resort east of Nice, where the Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, 71 Boulevard du Général de Gaulle, south of Beaulieu on the tip of the peninsula of Cap-Ferrat, stands in for Beaumont’s ‘Grand’.
The luxurious hotel, once frequented by the likes of Somerset Maugham and Charlie Chaplin, boasts a Rotunda designed by Gustave Eiffel (yes, the architect of the Tower) in 1909, and a soaring lobby featuring a crystal table by René Lalique and a baroque silver chandelier by Tisserant.
More Riviera locations were found at Nice itself; and in the fishing port of Villefranche-sur-Mer to the east. The picturesque village, with its maze of narrow streets has been seen in many films, including Ronin and rogue Bond movie Never Say Never Again.
The airport at ‘Beaumont’ is the Aerodrome International Cannes-Mandelieu, while the resort’s casino is Beaulieu-sur-Mer’s glass-enclosed Rotonde Lenôtre, Avenue Fernand Dunan, a belle époque structure that was once the dining room of the former Hotel Bristol, now used as an exhibition space.
The Fondation Ephrussi de Rothschild, Villa Ile-de-Frances, on Cap Ferrat, becomes the art gallery. Built on the narrowest part of the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula, the villa was built for Baroness Béatrice de Rothschild, of the Rothschild banking family, who filled it with antique furniture, old master paintings, sculptures and porcelain. On her death in 1934, the property was gifted to the Académie des Beaux Arts division of the Institut de France, and is now open to the public.
To the southwest, the yacht harbour is that of Juan les Pins, while Villa Hier, a private home on the coast of Cap d’Antibes, became Lawrence’s luxury pad, where the naturally stony beach had to be disguised with tons of sand.