Las Vegas in the movies
Caesars Entertainment © 2017 MGM Resorts International
The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll singing ‘Viva las Vegas’ is, of course, part of the history of cinema. But its far from the only time Hollywood has comes to Sin City. Remember the moment when the friends in “The Hangover” (2009) arrive at Caesar’s Palace and Alan Garner asks if Caesar really lived there? The buddies then make their way round The Strip trying to reconstruct the events of the previous night and find the missing groom-to-be, giving us a boozy tour of the city. And reconstruction is exactly what was needed in “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid” (1992) after the 50 feet tall two-year-old boy causes chaos as he stumbles around the neon lights of Fremont Street. Destructive, can also be used to describe Nicolas Cage's character in “Leaving Las Vegas” (1995) for which he won an Oscar. The alcoholic scriptwriter drinks himself into oblivion in Bally's Hotel, the Flamingo, Circus Circus, Excalibur, The Mirage and various other places on The Strip
Scorsese's film, Casino (1995) is based on a real story: that of two Mafiosos, Frank Rosenthal, played by De Niro under the name Sam “Ace” Rothstein, and Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro, known as Nicky Santoro in the film, interpreted by Joe Pesci. Rosenthal directed several casinos from the shadows, among them the Stardust, which inspired the film, although in the fictional version it’s called the Tangiers. The exteriors of the Tangiers were filmed at the Landmark Hotel before it was knocked down, and the interiors in the Hotel Riviera, which closed its doors in May 2015. This is the downside of this city. Its a place constant reconstruction; mythomaniacs have to live with the disappointment of not being able to visit places that now only exist on the silver screen. Just as well there is the Neon Museum, where neon signs taken from the facades of these movie hotels can be seen. What can still be visited is the downtown “Atomic Liquors” bar, where Nicky Santorno repeatedly stabs a man with a ballpoint pen, and the Main Street Station, which appears in the film's first scene, in which Rothstein narrowly escapes death when his car explodes. The Mob Museum also appears in the film, in its former role as the Federal Court.
In addition to movies about the Mafia, most notably “Casino” or “Bugsy” (1991), those about gambling and thefts at the casinos are a genre of their own within the movies set in Las Vegas. The most notable examples here are, “21” (2008) and the “Ocean's Eleven” trilogy (2001, 2004, 2007). The first in the trilogy is famously a remake of the original “Ocean's Eleven” (1960) in which the swindlers are Sinatra and the Rat Pack rather than George Clooney, Brad Pitt and friends. And instead of carrying out their scam in the modern Bellagio, Mirage and MGM Grand, the original band does so in the Sahara, Riviera, Desert Inn, Sands and the Flamingo.
These aren’t the only films that have been made here, and, since the romance between Hollywood and Las Vegas doesn't look like it’s going to end any time soon, it's likely there will be plenty more to come. The sets, the characters and the stories may change, but Las Vegas will continue to be a city in which to meet (or meet again), have fun, fall in love; but most of all, a city in which to dream. To be continued ...