Miller's Crossing, 20 Years Later
My favorite movie of all time is the Coen Brothers’ Miller’s Crossing. I have no idea how many times I’ve watched it, but I love it more every time and that’s no exaggeration. The first time I watched it was in 1994 and I don’t know if it was the size or volume of the television or everyone else there watching it, but I missed so much. My eyeballs were pointed at the screen the whole time but there were so many lines and situations that I didn’t really grasp. I think that’s part of why I like it so much – every time I watch it I see something new. Those things are getting less significant each time, with as many times as I’ve watched it, but it still holds true. I would love to have seen it in the theater on the big screen.

The first time I watched it I had never even been to New Orleans. Some time after I moved down here I watched it again and I’m ashamed to say I missed it. Then I was reading an article about Miller’s Crossing and it said, “filmed in New Orleans” and I heard that record needle sound effect and had to go watch the movie immediately and there it all was! New Orleans is all over this movie! It’s set not in NOLA but in some nameless city, yet it was filmed here and it shows.

Later while searching for information about the movie I found Mike McKiernan’s Miller’s Crossing production notes page wherein he lists several of the filming locations. I can’t thank Mr. McKiernan enough for this information, for it made this whole writeup possible.

Miller’s Crossing was filmed in 1989. Before Katrina I always meant to walk around and photograph some of the locations to show what they look like now, but at that time I wasn’t into photography and just never had much motivation. Now I’m here and I realized I need to take the pictures because A.) I know what I’m doing with a camera now, and B.) it’s been TWENTY YEARS since they filmed here. That’s astounding to me – I can’t believe it’s been so long.

I tried to prepare as best I could – I took screenshots from the movie and printed them out and put them in a binder which I left in my car so that whenever I was out and around shooting I could try to match the angle and lens as best possible. I shoot almost exclusively with prime (fixed focal length) lenses and let me tell you I’ve never wanted a quality zoom lens more than when I took the bulk of these shots. Changing lenses while standing in the middle of the street in the sweltering New Orleans summer heat while holding the reference printout in the other hand trying to match the perfect angle … that’s for the birds, man.

But now it’s done, and I can show you the results. They’re mostly exteriors. If you read McKiernan’s site you’ll find that most of the interiors (aside from the International House) were either sets or heavily modified rooms, so I didn’t go searching for them. Everything else I’m going to present chronologically.
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