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Old Pennsylvania Station on Film


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SPELLBOUND's railway scenes take place at Grand Central Station, not Penn Station (they weren't filmed on location, anyway, but at Selznick's studio).


Pennsylvania Station, based by its architects, McKim, Mead & White, on the ancient Roman Baths of Caracalla was very different in character from the Beaux Arts design of Grand Central, and there's no mistaking one for the other when seen onscreen.


Among other films, Penn Station is depicted in Vincent Minnelli's THE CLOCK (1945), with Judy Garland and Robert Walker. Other films that use the station are:



Rouben Mamoulian's APPLAUSE (1929)

Stanley Kubrick's KILLER'S KISS (1955)


These three films were shot on location in and around the real Penn Station. Paramount Studios in Hollywood had a semi-permanent set of parts of the Station, which was brought out of the scene docks and re-assembled as needed; for THE CLOCK (Minnelli's first film), MGM built an exceptionally elaborate recreation of the station's waiting room on Stage 27 in their Culver City studios at a cost of $66,450, that even included the grand staircase flanking twin escalators that employed moving belts to substitute for a real escalator mechanism (nearly impossible to obtain during World War II).


Plans are afoot to convert the adjacent McKim, Mead & White-designed Post Office on Eighth Avenue to a new Penn Station (to be called Daniel Patrick Moynihan Station, in honor of the late New York US senator who championed the renovation), replacing the dreadful underground warren under the current Madison Square Garden, but there are still some doubts as to whether the money will be available to make it a reality.

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