Fletch | 1985
Chevy Chase’s finest hour (and 38 minutes) as investigative reporter Irwin ‘Fletch’ Fletcher in this adaptation of Gregory McDonald’s novel, which skips along with a pace and a lightness of touch that’s beginning to seem like a lost art.
It’s set largely in Los Angeles, where Fletch is working on a story about drug-dealing on the beach alongside Santa Monica Pier, when he’s approached by dubious businessman Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson). Claiming to be in the final stages of terminal cancer, Stanwyk offers Fletch – on the assumption he’s a down’n’out beach bum – $50,000 to shoot him dead. The reasoning is that it spares Stanwyk a protracted death and dodges an insurance-nulling suicide.
Clearly not short of a bit of property, Stanwyk takes Fletch to his home in Beverly Hills, at 1011 Beverly Drive. You might recognise the grounds from two more famous screen appearances – as the estate of singer Rachel Marron (Whitney Houston) in The Bodyguard and, most famously, the estate of studio head Jack Woltz in The Godfather. Not surprisingly, there’s not a great deal to see from the street apart from very secure gates.
Fletch’s apartment, where he’s obliged to devise ever more ingenious methods of avoiding his ex-wife’s alimony-chasing lawyer, is 827 4th Street, near Montana Avenue in Santa Monica.
Following up Stanwyk’s dubious story, Fletch discovers devious financial chicanery going on at ‘Provo’ in Utah. In a pre-CGI age, you couldn’t fake those mountains and there is filming in Utah, though not at ‘Provo’, which is south of Salt Lake City, but 80 miles further north in Ogden.
Fletch’s plane touches down at Ogden Airport, 3909 Airport Road. The motel at which he stays has closed and is now the Mountain View Apartments, 563 West 24th Street, between B and C Avenues, north of Fort Buenaventura Park in Ogden. The real Provo and its surrounds can be seen in the previous year’s Footloose.