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Tuesday April 16th 2024

Red Dragon | 2002

Red Dragon filming location: Mount Vernon Square, Baltimore
Red Dragon filming location: the home of Hannibal Lecter: Mount Vernon Square, Baltimore

An A-list cast brings a return to form for the third in the Hannibal Lecter movies, following the campy disappointment of Hannibal. Based on the same novel as Michael Mann’s excellent Manhunter, it’s also photographed by the same cinematographer, Dante Spinotti.

Red Dragon location: Pasadena Civic Auditorium, East Green Street, Pasadena
Red Dragon location: the ‘Baltimore’ concert hall: Pasadena Civic Auditorium, East Green Street, Pasadena | Photograph: flickr/Michelle Chiang

The ‘Baltimore’ concert hall, where a bumbling flute player is unfortunate enough to irritate the fastidious Dr Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), is the 3000-seat Pasadena Civic, 300 East Green Street (location for the Bette Midler concert movie Divine Madness). Veteran composer Lalo Schifrin puts in a cameo appearance as the conductor. For more than 20 years, the Civic was host to the Prime Time Emmy Awards, and is well known for TV such specials as Ray Charles 50 Years in Music and the Motown 25th Anniversary Television Special. More recently, the Civic has become a regular stop on the Broadway musical touring circuit.

Lecter’s white-brick home, the fictitious ‘5 Chandler Square’ really is Baltimore, though, on Mount Vernon Square. The interior, where there’s a bloody confrontation with investigator Will Graham (Ed Norton) is modelled on Sigmund Freud’s Viennese office. Surviving his injuries, Graham retires with his family to a quiet life on the coast, at ‘Marathon’ in the Florida Keys, though in reality the beachfront estate is a little to the northeast at Islamorada.

The Pittsburgh building used in Silence Of The Lambs as the exterior of ‘Baltimore State Forensic Hospital,’ has been partly demolished, so a shot from the Jonathan Demme movie was recycled.

Red Dragon filming location: Baltimore Sun Office, North Calvert Street, Baltimore
Red Dragon filming location: the the ‘Chicago’ newspaper office of hack Freddie Lounds: Baltimore Sun Office, North Calvert Street, Baltimore

Baltimore supplies two more key locations: the ‘Chicago’ office of opportunistic hack Freddy Lounds’ (Philip Seymour Hoffman) National Tattler magazine is the Baltimore Sun Building, 501 North Calvert Street (where Meg Ryan works in Sleepless In Seattle), and the ‘Brooklyn Museum’, where Tooth Fairy Francis Dolarhyde (Ralph Fiennes) attempts to silence the voice in his head by consuming William Blake’s Red Dragon picture is the Baltimore Museum of Art, Art Museum Drive, at North Charles and 31st Streets in Wyman Park. There’s no William Blake, but among the 90,000 works of art – which include the largest holding of works by Henri Matisse in the world – are major pieces by by Picasso, Cézanne and van Gogh, as well as a collection of contemporary art. And admission is free!

Red Dragon location: Baltimore Museum of Art, Art Museum Drive, Wyman Park
Red Dragon location: the ‘Brooklyn Museum’, where Dolarhyde consumes the William Blake picture: Baltimore Museum of Art, Art Museum Drive, Wyman Park

The entrance to the Dolarhyde mansion, and the actual house on which the set is based, is at Darlington, Maryland, but even Hollywood occasionally balks at burning down a historic property. The house itself was duplicated in California, on the Disney Ranch in Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles.

Red Dragon location, Country Club Drive, Long Beach
Red Dragon location: the home of the doomed Leeds family: Country Club Drive, Long Beach

Several other locations were found around Los Angeles: the ‘Chromolux’ photolab interior is in Van Nuys, in the San Fernando Valley; the newsstand, where Dolarhyde gets an early paper, is the rear of the Los Angeles Theatre, 615 South Broadway, downtown; and the ‘Atlanta’ home of the slaughtered Leeds family is 4160 Country Club Drive, Long Beach, south Los Angeles.

This house really enjoys being in the movies; it was not only Matthew Broderick’s ‘Chicago’ home in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but also the house of Preston Wasserstein in the Risky Business parody in Not Another Teen Movie.

To the east of Los Angeles, the Central Library, Pasadena, (seen in Arachnophobia and Matilda) became the ‘Library of Congress’, where Lloyd Bowman (Ken Leung) decodes Lecter’s message to the Tooth Fairy (“Save yourself. Kill them all”).

The safe house, to which the Graham family is optimistically whisked, is at Westminster, Maryland.