Friday, August 01, 2014

Vancouver stars as itself

While researching the history of Shaughnessy, I looked around for noteworthy filming locations (sidenote: I was an extra in a (forgettable) movie starring Faye Dunaway in 1994 for which I spent many hours in one of the mansions.) That's how I discovered the 1975 UK/Canadian action film Russian Roulette starring George Segal as an RCMP officer. Vancouver is most often disguised as an American city, but here, it's proudly displayed in all its scruffy, pre-gentrified glory (did we actually have caché at some point?). There is a pleasant oddness to the whole thing, including the soundtrack, which makes it strangely compelling. Not to mention the giddy pleasure in recognizing all of the landmarks. If you want to see 1970s West End, Gastown, Chinatown, downtown, Lions Gate Bridge, Shaughnessy, RCMP building, the Timber Club, YVR airport, Grouse Mountain Skyride (heck, just about all of Vancouver), the only place to watch Russian Roulette is here on Youtube. If you can stick it out, you'll be rewarded with a climactic shootout on the copper rooftop of the Hotel Vancouver.

Ho Ho Restaurant (1954), 100 East Pender St.  Pre-neon sign removal.
There is filming inside the restaurant as well where Segal flips over the dinner table – classic!

Hotel Europe (1908), 43 Powell St.
The Special Branch officer has a seedy room here.

Buckley House (1913), 3498 Osler St., Shaughnessy
The stately Russian embassy

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