Friday, April 2, 2010

Filming in Old Town: The Color Of Money

Rather than do a single post of all the films shot in or immediately adjacent to Old Town, I've decided to break the subject down into individual posts to allow more room to explore both the film and the setting in detail.

In the 1986 film the Color of Money, directed by Martin Scorsese, Fast Eddie Felson (The iconic role which the late Paul Newman won the Academy Award for Best Actor), an aged liquor dealer and former pool hustling, takes the young Vincent Lauria (played by a young Tom Cruise), a cocky but talented pool player with a "sledge hammer break" to a fictional restaurant and bar 'Sir Loin Inn' .  This was actually shot in O'brien's Steakhouse, at 1528 N. Wells Street in Old Town.    In the scene, Eddie hustles Vincent and his street smart girlfriend, Carmen (played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) into picking up  the tab for dinner.  This scene occurs early in the film and is important in establishing the tenor and back and forth, hustle or be hustled dynamic that is explored several times throughout the story.  The Color of Money has several other scenes shots near Old Town, including local bars and pool halls.  tI is a gritty, character film with some excellent performances by Newman, Cruise, Mastrantonio and even has some nice appearances by a young John Turturro and as well as a young Forest Whitaker respectively.  This is isn't a movie review site, but if you'll give me the latitude, I'd recommend it, if for nothing else than the opening scene which believe it or not, uses a Phil Collin's song to incredible effect.

Obrien's Restaurant & Pub is a popular Old Town Mainstay on Wells Street .that "welcomes you to an atmosphere of casual dining with a Continental cuisine specializing in prime steak & fresh seafood."  Obrien's is especially popular during the warm spring, summer, and fall when they have an outdoor garden cafe for open air dining.  By virtue of its location it is especially convenient for people watching comedy shows at Zanies (at 1548 N. Wells.Street) or the Second City (at 1616 N.Wells Street).  Wells street has long been a popular strip for Old Town residents with its diverse restaurants such as Kamehachi, The Fireplace Inn, Topo Gigio, The Adobe Grill, Los Pinatas, and Club 33.  In addition to the many restaurants, Wells street is populated by interesting boutique shops, such as the Old Town Aquarium, The Spice House,The Twisted Baker, The Fudge Pot, and the Up Down Tobacco Shop. 

The Color of Money will always hold a special place for me, given that Paul Newman is my all time favorite actor.  Newman had an incredible screen presence and was a truly great humanitarian (having given over $250,000,000 in charitable donations through his Newman's Own food products, as well as many, many other large donations to various charities, causes and colleges.)


  1. Oh, the Spice House. Fun just to walk into and inhale.

    Good movie too.

  2. Yeah, even walking by gives a small taste of what is in store at the Spice House.

    The Color of Money is one of those movies that kind of gets overlooked, but I really think it has a lot of great scenes, and is a joy to watch the actors play off one another.