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Vermont’s own Hollywood tour (sarah michelle gellar mention)

Brent Hallenbeck

Saturday 5 August 2006, by Webmaster

There’s something a little absurd about the idea of sitting inside and watching a movie when there’s so much gorgeous scenery to enjoy in Vermont at this time of the year.

If you absolutely, positively must have a touch of Hollywood, though, consider this: a tour of places where Hollywood has come to Vermont.

Hundreds of films have been made in the Green Mountain State since D.W. Griffith shot scenes for the silent melodrama "Way Down East" in the White River Junction area in 1920. Some of those films became huge, some were busts, some were simply made in Vermont by Vermonters mostly for Vermonters.

You could spend an entire day wandering around the Northeast Kingdom looking for places where Peacham director Jay Craven has made films such as "Where the Rivers Flow North" (with Rip Torn, Michael J. Fox and Treat Williams) and "Disappearances" (starring Kris Kristofferson). But here are 10 other films featuring scenes shot in Vermont. Danis Regal, executive director of the Vermont Film Commission, and J. Gregory Gerdel, research and operations chief for the state Department of Tourism and Marketing, fill in many of the details.

"The Trouble With Harry" (1954), directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Edmund Gwenn, John Forsythe and Shirley MacLaine — The covered bridge shown in this dark comedy was shot in South Randolph. The set was built in what’s now the American Legion hall on Main Street in Morrisville. Hitchcock stayed in Stowe. The foliage scenes were shot in Virginia, according to Regal, because it had become too late in the season to film the leaves in Vermont.

"The Four Seasons" (1980), directed by Alan Alda, starring Alda, Carol Burnett, Rita Moreno and Jack Weston — Alda, a big television star at the time in "M*A*S*H," filmed much of this comedy-drama, including the cross-country ski scenes, at Edson Hill Manor in Stowe. A couple of brief scenes were filmed on the commons in Waitsfield.

"Something Wicked This Way Comes" (1982), directed by Jack Clayton, starring Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd and Pam Grier — This spooky Disney movie, based on the Ray Bradbury story, was filmed partly in East Montpelier and at the Morse maple-sugar farm. Several members of the Morse family can be seen in the film.

"Beetlejuice" (1987), directed by Tim Burton, starring Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis and Winona Ryder — The covered bridge for the accident scene was constructed over an existing one-lane bridge in East Corinth. According to Gerdel, when Burton started searching for a location, he and his crew specified a town of about 3,000 people (such as Waterbury, Bristol, Stowe, Richmond or Newbury) but decided tiny East Corinth provided the best fit for this wacky film about the afterlife.

"Funny Farm" (1987), directed by George Roy Hill, starring Chevy Chase, Madolyn Smith and Sarah Michelle Gellar — This city-mouse-in-the-country comedy was filmed primarily in a house just outside Grafton, where most of the road shots were also filmed. The picnic scenes were made on the recreation field in Windsor.

"Ethan Frome" (1992), directed by John Madden, starring Liam Neeson, Patricia Arquette and Joan Allen — The heavy drama based on Edith Wharton’s novella was filmed in and around Peacham village, which was retrofitted for a 19th-century look. "The winter actually cooperated with timely snowfalls," according to Gerdel.

"The Spitfire Grill" (1994), directed by Lee David Zlotoff, starring Ellen Burstyn and Marcia Gay Harden — Though this melodramatic film was set in Maine, scenes were shot at the Peacham General Store.

"The Cider House Rules" (1998), directed by Lasse Hallstrom, starring Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron and Michael Caine — John Irving lives in southern Vermont (Dorset), so it makes sense that they’d film the author’s story (about an orphaned young man in the 1940s) in southern Vermont; specifically, Scott Farm on Black Mountain Road outside Brattleboro. The film earned Irving an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and Caine a supporting-actor statue.

"Me, Myself & Irene" (1999), directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, starring Jim Carrey and Renee Zellweger — One of the few Hollywood productions with a strong Chittenden County presence, locations for this rare Farrelly brothers flop ranged from the railroad tracks at Waterfront Park in Burlington to the Go Go Gas station on Susie Wilson Road in Essex. Carrey and Zellweger (briefly) found love during the filming of the movie.

"What Lies Beneath" (1999), directed by Robert Zemeckis, starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer — This drama of death and haunting from the great beyond took over D.A.R. State Park in Addison for several weeks during the summer and fall. In big-budget-Hollywood-blockbuster fashion, the crew tore down a stone pavilion at the park, built the home that was central to the film, then tore down the house and rebuilt the pavilion.