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REEL ESTATE: The Hollywood history of Greystone Mansion

Drew Tinnin

by: Drew Tinnin
August 8th, 2010

In our continuing efforts to keep you entertained and up to date on all things cinema, this new GATW segment hands over the blueprints to some of the most  famous pieces of real estate that have been featured in film over the years. We'll also be revisiting classic sequences that were made even more iconic by the locations they were filmed at (Mt. Rushmore in NORTH BY NORTHWEST, anyone?). We might even give you a heads up when some of these famous properties go up for sale! So enjoy the open house - where you can enjoy the free food and the history, but don't have to bust out your checkbook...

Since 2004, the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX has been pulling up stakes and taking their brand of badass cinema on the road. Each summer, the Rolling Roadshow screens classic movies in famous places, bringing the flicks we love to locales that have become virtually synonymous with the films themselves. Whether it's CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND at Devil's Tower, or the actual baseball diamond from FIELD OF DREAMS in Dubuque County, Iowa, movie fans come from miles around to transform Blockbuster nights into a truly magical evening. I know, I've been to a few.

This past weekend, the show is officially on the road again...JACKIE BROWN screened Friday in Los Angeles on the lawn of The Proud Bird restaurant adjacent to LAX airport, but Sunday night's movie is the one that serves as the inspiration for this first installment of Reel Estate. THERE WILL BE BLOOD will play in Bakersfield, in close proximity to an actual oil rig. But there's actually a much better place to show the film: Greystone Mansion.

The gloriously demented, explosively epic final confrontation at the end of THERE WILL BE BLOOD between Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Paul/Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) was filmed at Greystone Mansion, and although the basement bowling alley the ending takes place in had never been seen onscreen before, the property itself has quite a history.

Appropriately, the estate - built in the late 1920's - was built by real-life oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny. Ironically, Doheny built the house for his son Edward and his new wife - a gift certain to be more appreciated than the "bastard in a basket" Daniel Plainview received when left with a small baby to raise after the death of one of his laborers (worker's comp wasn't really around in 19th century Texas).

The 429-acre estate is still the largest family estate built in Beverly Hills (which should offer some insight into the ego of some of the Hollywood singles), spanning some 46,000 square feet. It has over 67 rooms, a ten-car garage, a domed greenhouse and even a few tennis courts.

The original Brunswick bowling alley featured in Paul Thomas Anderson's second masterpiece THERE WILL BE BLOOD (BOOGIE NIGHTS being the first) is also an impressive feature of Greystone, and it's now officially a part of movie history. As a sign of respect, no filmmaker should ever roll camera there again, but there is a billiard room that has not been featured in any film yet (that I know of), so that's a consideration I'm willing to grant.

If you're interested in visiting the estate (with your trusty portable DVD player and THERE WILL BE BLOOD Blu-ray in hand), visit www.GreystoneMansion.org for more information.

Thanks for reading, and as always thanks for hangin' with us here at Gordon and the Whale...

By the way, if you haven't listened to the latest GATW podcast, you can find it Here. We don't just report the news you know...we have oh, so many ways to entertain you.

More Reel Estate facts about Greystone Mansion:

1. Although the two bowling alleys look familiar, the final scene in THERE WILL BE BLOOD was not filmed at the Biltmore House, as previously thought.

2. Jack Nicholson's house in THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK was actually...you guessed it!

3. Greystone Mansion cost 3.1 million to build in 1927. That works out to over $50 million in 2010 dollars. Dayum!

Sources RollingRoadshow.com, Veranda, MountainX

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