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Wednesday May 22nd 2024

Mighty Aphrodite | 1995

Mighty Aphrodite location: Teatro Greco, Taormina, Sicily
Mighty Aphrodite location: dire warnings from the Greek chorus: Teatro Greco, Taormina, Sicily | Photograph: iStock / Saro17

Ignoring the dire warnings of a classical Greek chorus, sports writer Lenny Weinrib (Woody Allen) goes off to track down the biological mother of his adopted child, Max, only to find she's a hooker who has graced films such as The Enchanted Pussy.

The film opens in an ancient theatre with the chorus sternly introducing “a tale as Greek and timeless as fate itself”, before gradually lapsing into NY vernacular. The amphitheatre is not in Greece, though it is called the Greek Theatre. It’s the Teatro Greco in Taormina on the east coast of the island of Sicily. The theatre is thought to be a Roman upgrade (it’s built of brick) of a Greek original, commanding stunning views across the sea and the coast to the volcano Etna in the distance. It’s not only open for visiting, the theatre is still used for concerts and performances.

Mighty Aphrodite location: The Eastbrook, 333 East 75th Street, New York
Mighty Aphrodite location: Linda’s East Side apartment block: The Eastbrook, 333 East 75th Street, New York

In New York, East Side residents Lenny and partner Amanda (Helena Bonham Carter) discuss adoption in the classy, zebra-patterned Italian restaurant Gino, which stood at 780 Lexington Avenue at East 61st Street. Unfortunately, it recently closed down. If you think you've seen the distinctive red wallpaper in another movie, that's because the design was copied for Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums.

The school that Lenny and Amanda check out for Max is down in Greenwich Village. It’s the City and County School, 146 West 15th Street, near 7th Avenue.

It’s back to the East Side (though not the really upscale section) to find the blandly modern apartment block to which Lenny tracks Linda (Oscar winning Mira Sorvino), which is The Eastbrook, 333 East 75th Street between First and Second Avenues.

As Lenny warms to the well-meaning Linda, he takes her to Belmont Park Race Track, 2150 Hempstead Turnpike, on Long Island, where she loses her money on Eager Beaver. Belmont Park has since featured in Allen’s 2004 Melinda and Melinda.

Mighty Aphrodite location: 85 Fifth Avenue, New York
Mighty Aphrodite location: Lenny works as a sports writer: 85 5th Avenue, New York

Lenny works on the old Ladies Mile stretch of department stores, out of 85 Fifth Avenue at East 16th Street, where Linda visits to warn him that her pimp is turning nasty. He hangs out at what was Kingsway Boxing and Fitness, now Lucille Roberts Health Club, 300 West 40th Street at 8th Avenue in Midtown, where he arrogantly decides that the none-too-bright Kevin (Michael Rapaport) might just be the man for Linda.

Mighty Aphrodite location: Naumberg Bandshell, Central Park, New York
Mighty Aphrodite location: the chorus slips into You Do Something To Me: Naumberg Bandshell, Central Park, New York

Lenny meets up with Linda as she leaves the David Barton Gym, in the basement of classy apartment block The Left Bank, 552 Sixth Avenue at 15th Street, only a block from where he works.

He sets her up on a date with Kevin in front of the Naumberg Bandshell at 72nd Street Drive in Central Park, where the chorus slips into Cole Porter's You Do Something To Me. This is also where the band of hippies hang out in Milos Forman's film of Hair.

The blind seer Tiresias (Jack Warden) passes on a warning to Lenny at the Acropolis. That's Manhattan's New Acropolis Restaurant, which stood at 767 Eighth Avenue on the corner of 47th Street. It’s now the Gift World store.

At the end of the movie, Lenny and Linda admire, unwittingly, each other's kids at toystore FAO Schwarz, 745 Fifth Avenue at 58th Street (famous for the giant keyboard seen in Big).