SCARECROW ON SEATTLE
In appreciation and recognition of Seattle's long and illustrious film history, we are proud to partner with Scarecrow Video to bring you weekly reviews of historical Seattle films. Each week we will showcase a new movie, with special emphasis on how these films show Seattle's most filmable locations.
The Vanishing (1993)
Years before she became "America's Sweetheart" Sandra Bullock played a supporting role in this maligned remake of an earlier Danish/French co-production. Both films were called The Vanishing in the states and both were directed by the same guy (George Sluizer) but the American version features a tacked on, cop out ending that upset many fans of the original. Bullock plays Kiefer Sutherland's girlfriend and the two are on a road trip in the Cascades. They drive around Mt. St.Helens, then travel through a tunnel (the tunnel location was actually in Wyoming as I guess they couldn't find a decent tunnel in Washington), and end up at a gas station in North Bend. In real life it was a Texaco station but it is called "Titan" in The Vanishing. Sutherland's character (Jeff) plays with a hacky sack in the parking lot and both the lovely (Mt. Si) and tacky (Dairy Queen, the outlet mall) are visible in the background. While Sutherland is killing time his girlfriend gets abducted by a creepy guy with a strange accent (Jeff Bridges). We then jump ahead three years during which Jeff has been obsessively looking for his vanished lady friend. He meets a waitress with fork earrings (played by Nancy Travis) at a mountainside diner. The diner is supposed to be located somewhere near North Bend but it is actually a place in California. Once again, I guess they couldn't find the "right" diner here in Washington. The two become friends and, eventually, special romantic friends. The couple soon shacks up at Jeff's sweet apartment located in the lower Queen Anne neighborhood on Aloha Street with splendid views of the downtown cityscape as well as the Seattle Center. Eventually Jeff's obsessions compromise his new relationship and he ends up on Bridges' trail hoping to find out what happened to Bullock. Bridges' character is named Barney and, at the start of the film, we learn that he really wants to kidnap a woman. We see Barney in action by the Pike Place Market and in front of The Seattle Shirt Co. located across from the market. There are also some shots of the Pioneer Square bus tunnel where Barney picks up his daughter and the two get in his car, which is parked on Yesler Way. Barney has a mountain cabin whose location I am not sure of but I guess they used the same cabin in some episodes of Northern Exposure. Aside from a few specific scenes, most all of The Vanishing was filmed in Seattle and Western Washington. Oh yeah, Sutherland and Travis meet up at a restaurant called the Harbor Café that was probably shot in L.A. or thereabouts because somehow the filmmakers couldn't find a café to shoot at here in Seattle.