British book spotlights Chicago River film locations
Loop North News


22-Dec-13 – With a Chicago crew doing most of the research, an updated book by a publisher in the United Kingdom can think of 75 films that were shot in Chicago, including a few along the Chicago River.

World Film Locations Chicago, published this month by Intellect in Bristol, notes three such films, including the documentary on downtown performance artist Vincent Falk. Scott Jordan Harris, a British film critic and the book’s editor, calls Falk “one of the city’s living landmarks.”

Photo by Steven Dahlman

(Above) Vincent Falk on the State Street Bridge near Marina City in 2009. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

Jennifer Burns, who directed Vincent: A Life In Color, contributes insight into her 2008 documentary about Falk. Also known as “Fashion Man,” Vincent dresses in brightly colored suits and twirls on bridges over the main branch of the Chicago River for the amusement of tour boats.

Both were drawn to the double-decker DuSable Bridge at Michigan Avenue – Falk, because its lower deck is closer to the boats. Burns, because the steel bridge provided “a striking contrast to Vincent’s wild suits.”

She says her favorite use of the bridge in the film is when tour guide Kevin Burrows describes Falk as an artist. “Vincent takes this one act,” she quotes Burrows as saying. “He stands on a bridge in a suit and does a fashion show. Something no one else has ever done.”

Peter Sobezynski, a Chicago native who writes about film for, writes about one of his favorites, The Hunter, that includes a celebrated car chase filmed at Marina City.

Paramount Pictures

(Above) A brand new Grand Prix Pontiac dives into the Chicago River from a spiral parking ramp at Marina City for a film released in 1980 that starred Steve McQueen.

“If ever there was a movie that landed a place in cinema history based solely on the success of one brief scene, this 1980 film from journeyman Buzz Kulick is it.”

Although “largely a formulaic and uninspired thriller,” Sobezynski says “things pick up immeasurably” with the Marina City scene.

Other films discussed in the book include a 1992 film, Straight Talk, that starred Dolly Parton, James Woods, and the Wabash Avenue Bridge. And Continental Divide, a 1981 drama starring John Belushi that included scenes at the old Chicago Sun Times Building, where Trump International Hotel & Tower is now located.

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News |

Published 22-Dec-13 8:32 PM

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