The movies with the best interiors

“Best” being the interiors where the design is critical to the movie, where the interior is almost another character.

Holy schmoley, I just watched Fanny and Alexander. The Ekdahl house was welcoming and warm, the Bishop’s house was coldhearted and dead, and Isak’s house was mysterious and fantastical. The movie almost didn’t need actors to tell the story.

IMHO some other spectacular and resonant interiors are the house in The Others and the hotel in Kubrick’s version of The Shining.

What interior settings have added greatly to your enjoyment and understanding of a movie? Or a TV show – I can’t think of any right off, but there must have been some on TV.

Woody Allen’s Interiors, of course.

I love the interiors in The Magnificent Ambersons. That staircase is unforgettable.

I loved Will’s apartment in About A Boy and would argue it was critical to his character.

Gone With the Wind- the Tara set were just absolutely works of immortals in quality. Forgetting how much they differed from the book description or reality, how they turned the big comfortable mansionette from the beginning into the ruined postbellum wreck Scarlett returned to was just jawdropping, from the cracked mirrors and slashed paintings to the rainstained wallpaper and once varnished floors no longer managable by the remaining folks- stunning. Dr. Zhivago (the Lean version- haven’t seen the remake) was also impressive in this regard, as was the iced over country villa he and his wife return to with her father and find seized).

Also any Merchant/Ivory piece- the interiors (stuffy, too heavy, old, elegantly decaying) are essential and masterpieces.

How about Apollo 13? Much of the action takes place in the claustrophobic confines of crew modules with about as much habitable volume as a minivan. Maybe not what the OP was thinking but certainly a crucial part of the movie.

It’s been quite a while since I last saw the deliciously wonderful Sleuth, but I still remember how its superb and sublime interiors complemented the movie.

Citizen Kane – the interiors mostly mirrorred the state of Kane’s life at the moment, from busy newsroom to overdecorated upper-crust breakfast nook to the isolated, self-reflective palace of Xanadu.

The Astronaut’s Wife wasn’t a great movie but it did have amazing set design. The Astronaut’s apartment in that movie was possibly the nicest (and swankiest) apartment I’ve ever seen in a movie. Also I think Johnny Depp looks better in this movie than any other movie he is in. [(Image.)]( This haircut is definitely the best look for his face.

You bastard.

With the new semi-sequel on the way, I’m reminded of Superman: the Fortress of Solitude, the Daily Planet, the Kent farm, even Lex Luthor’s ‘decadent fugitive’ base of operations. Each set has to present a complete change in tone, and IMHO they do a pretty terrific job of it.

And for bonus points, there’s the placement of the mirror in Lois Lane’s apartment.

I ended up zoning out much of the plot of Road to Perdition because the interiors were so great. Very true to the period and underscored the contrasts between the Norman Rockwell-esque family arena, the seedy-yet-somehow-heartfelt disenfranchised life of the drifter, and very toney “Am I a criminal, or am I the Establishment? Or both? Muahahahaha.” opulence.

I don’t think this is too spoilery – there’s a violent shooting scene that happens right after we get a glimpse of a table setting. The glassware was so amazing I rewound it about a million times to see the table. (You don’t really “rewind” on a DVD, but you can still say rewind, right? It’s like dialing a phone. Or am I living in the Dark Ages?)

“The cook, the thief, his wife and her lover” is worth seeing for the interiors alone. If you can stomach the disgusting story and images, it’s worth a rent. The sets and costumes are hypnotic.

The interiors in “Far from Heaven” evoked the 1950’s period really well, in a heightened and stylized way. Everything about the main characters’ home was House Beautiful perfect, which of course was in complete contrast to their sham marriage.

Another good set is Elliott’s house in E.T. – it looked lived in, with the disarray you get with kids and a harried mom.

I was pleasantly surprised at the details of the interiors in the recent Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightly. The family house had smudges of soot and dirt on the woodwork, the dance looked cramped and stuffy and the sort of too hot and humid that you only get indoors from too many people moving about. The whole movie just looked as if people were actually living that way, instead of so many costume dramas which are obvious artiface and way too clean.

Jacques Tati’s **Playtime**
Kubrick’s **2001: A Space Odyssey** and **Dr. Strangelove**
Spielberg’s **Raiders of the Lost Ark**
Powell & Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death and The Red Shoes

And, needless to say, the entirety of Russian Ark

The Ninth Gate. IMHO this was one of the worst, but I could see it being one of the best, if you think minimalist sets wherein half of the rooms’ only decorations consist of piles of books placed in the center of them adds “atmosphere” to the story.

I’d give it credit for trying, worth an honorable mention here, if I hadn’t found out that Polanski was accused of absconding with the production money. That explains a lot, actually…

ArchiveGuy mentioned Dr Strangelove. Only saw the movie once, but the only interior I remember of note was the first appearance of the secretary which was obviously meant to nearly mimic Kubrick’s first appearance of Lolita.

Barton Fink, by the Coen Brothers. That hotel felt like a living, breathing, sinister presence. The color of the rooms and the corridors contributed to the icky paranoid feeling. When the wallpaper first started peeling away, I jumped out of my seat at the sound!

And I liked the way they used that ugly wallpaper pattern as a backdrop for the credits at the beginning, IIRC.

Star Wars III had some great interiors to go with the incredible exteriors. Great art direction all around.