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Sunday December 3rd 2023

1408 | 2007

1408 film location: The Reform Club, Pall Mall, London SW1
1408 film location: the lobby of the fictitious 'Dolphin Hotel': The Reform Club, Pall Mall, London SW1 | Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo / Timeline Images

Skeptical writer Mike Enslin (John Cusack), a professional debunker of the paranormal, persuades reluctant hotel manager Gerald Olin (Samuel L Jackson) to allow him to stay in the dreaded Room 1408 of New York's 'Dolphin Hotel'. If he debunked the legend of this cursed place, there wouldn't be much of a film, would there?

The opening prologue is set in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, just to the south of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), where Enslin surfs at El Porto alongside Dockweiler Beach, overlooked by the ominous bulk of the Scattergood Power Plant in El Segundo, which you may recognise from Kathryn Bigelow’s surfing classic Point Break.

He lives a little further south at Hermosa Beach, like Natalie (Cameron Diaz) in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. You can see Hermosa Beach Pier, scene of the climax of Curtis Harrington’s underrated thriller Bad Influence in 1990.

1408 film location: The Roosevelt Hotel, East 45th Street, New York
1408 film location: entrance to the fictitious 'Dolphin Hotel': The Roosevelt Hotel, East 45th Street, New York

The ‘Dolphin Hotel’, supposedly at ‘2254 Lexington Street’, is the Roosevelt Hotel, 45 East 45th Street at Madison Avenue, midtown. The Roosevelt is a regular screen star, having appeared in Boiler Room, The French Connection, Presumed Innocent, Maid in Manhattan, Quiz Show, Malcolm X, Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator, and it’s in the Roosevelt’s Grand Ballroom that Gordon Gecko (Michael Douglas) delivers his era-defining ‘Greed is good’ speech in Oliver Stone’s 1987 Wall Street.

It’s not quite that simple, though. Despite the American setting, the film was based at Elstree Studios, Hertfordshire, in the UK, where sets were built.

The ’Dolphin’s’ lobby is the Reform Club, 104 Pall Mall, seen in Guy Ritchie’s revamp of Sherlock Holmes, the 2001 remake of The Four Feathers with Heath Ledger, the 1998 big screen version of The AvengersLindsay Anderson’s anarchic O Lucky Man!Roger Donaldson’s The Bounty and as gentlemen’s club ‘Blades’ in 2002 Bond movie Die Another Day. The Reform is a private members' club so, unless there's a special event you're invited to, chances are you won't get to see its interior.