Lorraine B. Diehl, author of "The Late, Great Pennsylvania Station", has picked these films because they feature Penn. Station, but they are also terrific movies.
Most of these films are on video and can be ordered from this page by clicking on the link. The actual processing of the order is done by Amazon.com and items are shipped directly to you. Near the end of the page is also a link to browse through Amazon.com's huge collection of movies, books and music.
|STRANGERS ON A TRAIN - (1951) D: Alfred Hitchcock. Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman. (b/w) In this psychological thriller, Farley Granger takes a taxi to Penn Station where he is dropped off in one of the station's carriageways. Then, indulging in some cinematic license, Hitchcock has Granger rush down the steps from the arcade into the station's Main Waiting Room. (He would have come through the arcade if he were entering the station on foot from its Seventh Avenue entrance.) The result for us is some rare footage of both the carriageway and the arcade, with some lingering shots of the station's Main Waiting Room.|
THE KILLER THAT STALKED NEW YORK- (1950) D: Earl McEvoy. Evelyn Keyes, Charles Korvin, Dorothy Malone. (b/w) The best things going for this noir film are the shots of New York, particularly Pennsylvania Station. The film opens with Evelyn Keyes exiting a train on track level, then making her way upstairs to the Concourse, where she slips into a phone booth. She remains in the phone booth long enough to give us a view of the station's magnificent train shed as it was in the 1950s. That's the only shot of Penn Station in the film, but it's enough to justify a rental.
|THE CLOCK - (1945) D: Vincent Minnelli. Judy Garland, Robert Walker, James Gleason. (b/w) This valentine to New York City begins and ends in Penn Station. When it opens, we see soldier-on-leave Robert Walker ambling through the Main Waiting Room and up the steps to the arcade in time to catch up with Judy Garland, who has ridden the escalator. Although the station's interior is glorious in this film, it is a reproduction, shot on a Hollywood set. Catch the escalator's lack of steps as people get off.|
|THE PALM BEACH STORY - (1942) D: Preston Sturges. Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Rudy Vallee, Mary Astor. (b/w) There is a quick shot of Penn Station's Seventh Avenue entrance in this sophisticated comedy as Claudette Colbert pulls up in a cab. Then we're inside the Concourse with Joel McCrea pursuing her to a train gate. We spend some time in here, but as with The Clock, this train shed is a mock. Although this is an excellent replica of the famous train shed, it is full of inconsistencies. Note the metal paneling at the top of the steps backdropping McCrea. It never existed in the real station. Also, note the clock that Colbert looks at. The ones in Penn Station were suspended beneath the steel and glass arches, not hung on a wall.|
|AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER - (1957) D: Leo McCarey. Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Richard Denning. (color) If you've seen the movie, you remember the pivotal scene when Deborah Kerr exists a taxi on 34th Street for her star-crossed meeting with Grant at the top of the Empire State Building. Watch the film again and you will see that Kerr gets out of the taxi near Pennsylvania Station, two long city blocks away from her destination. This cinematic indulgence gives us a rare color viewing of the station's Seventh Avenue facade.|
|THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH - (1955) D: Billy Wilder. Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes. (color) Keyes gets her second chance to appear in Penn Station, this time as the wife of book editor Ewell, who is seeing her and their son off as they enter the Concourse to board a train for a Maine vacation. A rare glimpse of the Concourse in color. Notice McKim's handsome black iron pillars defaced by a metallic grey paint. This film was shot during the station's last days, before it succumbed to the wrecker's ball.|
|SPELLBOUND - (1945) D: Alfred Hitchcock. Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Leo G. Carroll. (b/w) Another suspense thriller draws Hitchcock to Pennsylvania Station. This time Ingrid Bergman and her patient, Gregory Peck, are escaping from the police. When they arrive at Penn Station, we see a long shot of the Concourse, and then we meet Bergman and Peck in the Main Waiting Room, where they are standing in line to purchase a ticket. The Concourse shot is authentic, but the scene in the Main Waiting Room is back lot Hollywood.|
|Order Killer's Kiss on VHS||KILLER'S KISS - (1955) D: Stanley Kubrick. Frank
Silvera -- Look for Penn Station's concourse at the beginning and end of Stanley Kubrick's
1955 noir thriller. Actually, the shots are long enough for the eye to linger a
while and take in Charles McKim's dramatic steel and glass train shed. You
will also get a sense of the city of the Fifties, a treat in itself.
|Order on VHS||DEAR HEART-(1964) with Glenn Ford and Geraldine Page
ends with a romantic clinch on the concourse. You can see several missing,
broken and covered over window panes high above them.
|Order on VHS||YOU'RE A BIG BOY NOW - (1966) D: Francis Ford Coppola. Elizabeth Hartman. It has Peter Kastner roller skating down 7th avenue, right past the partially demolished 7th Ave. facade. You can see the Madison Square tower rising in the back.|
Head back Home | Order the Book | Live Tour Schedule| On-Line Tour Through Photographs
Penn Station in American Film | Launch of the Penn Station Redevelopment Project
Links and Other Related Web Sites | About the Author, Email, Speaking Engagements
Books the Author Recommends