movie set

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The Four Aces movie location is a perfect little replica of the 1950s American roadside, complete with a diner, gas station, and, of course, motel. Located in the Californian desert about an hour northeast of Los Angeles, it’s played host to a number of iconic horror films, countless B-movies and forgettable commercial work. 

Imagine a strange fusion of Stephen Shore and Gregory Crewdson photographs and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the motel rooms here look like. The entire complex is a built-to-purpose film set, though completed with an admirable eye for detail and atmosphere.

You might argue that nowadays the Four Aces is just as authentic a place as the remaining roadside motels and diners that dot the North American landscape. Where the latter can’t help but reveal their perilous status — always on the verge of extinction — the former is a living relic, the artificial nature of which somehow makes it more real for the degree that it reveals both the seductiveness and spuriousness of post-war road culture. 

Read more about the Four Aces here.

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Leftover Star Wars Sets - Tozeur, Tunisia

While much of George Lucas’ mythic Star Wars films were filmed in studio lots or in preexisting structures, a number of their exterior sets, especially for the desert planet Tatooine, were purpose built for the films and simply abandoned to the sands and the fans when filming was over. 

While the most famous left over Star Wars set may be the Hotel Sidi Driss, a Tunisian hotel which was used as the interior of the Lars moisture farm, Luke Skywalker’s teenage home, many more structures were built just for the production such as the Lars farm exterior and most of the city of Mos Espa.

In Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace the spaceport of Mos Espa is shown as a bustling frontier town where young Anakin Skywalker lives and works as a slave. Many of the bulbous structures were filled in using CGI, but much of the first stories of the buildings were built practically and still stand as a squat beige town square that looks as though it was shaved cleanly off at the top. The facades are not actually buildings, but fronts built for filming, yet visitors can still mill about the exteriors as though they were on that far flung desert planet. There are also some iconic “moisture vaperators” also left on the site.

But Tatooine is in trouble! Find out how on Atlas Obscura…