You know when you get outside and look around your neighborhood and think, “Wow, this looks just like Depression-era Hollywood?”
… Okay, probably not. I admit that I never thought that. But that’s probably why I’m not a location scout for movie studios. Because Westchester was transformed into Depression-era Hollywood for the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce — and it looked pretty gorgeous.
Downtown Peekskill became the spot where our Mildred landed her first job as a waitress in a Hollywood diner. Full-size palm trees were trucked up from Florida and kept in a greenhouse until they were needed, just to give Westchester more of that tropical California feel. The streets were also lined with 1930s-style cars.
“Peekskill had sort of a nice, open feel to it,” Ilene S. Landress, the co-executive producer, notes in the making-of clip. “And it has these amazing buildings that really you can’t believe it’s not California.”
You can see more about it in this making-of documentary. The parts about Peekskill start at about the 10:20 mark:
You can also see a slideshow of before-and-after photos done by the production designer. Slide Nos. 6 and 8 do a great job of showing you the polish they put on Peekskill — WCC and the Westchester Art Workshop are transformed into S.S. Kresge Co, with prices advertised as being 5¢, 10¢, and 25¢. If only!
If you haven’t caught it yet, it’s worth investing the five-plus hours. HBO always comes out with a movie that winds up winning lots of honors come awards-season. (Last year, it was Temple Grandin.) This year, the work is being done by Kate Winslet — who, after Revolutionary Road, is a veteran at looking put-upon in period garb — and director Todd Hanyes, who has experience directing put-upon women in period garb after doing Far From Heaven. No wonder it’s been pulling in some good reviews. Let me know what you think in the comments.