New York Film Locations



Who's That Girl (1987)

Manhattan lawyer Louden Trott (Griffin Dunne) is about to marry his tycoon boss Simon Worthington's (John McMartin's) spoiled-rotten daughter Wendy (Haviland Morris), albeit with a crushing prenuptial. Simon, however, makes him interrupt the preparations to make sure in person that nobody Nikki Finn (Madonna), just released from a New York jail, takes the bus to meet her Philadelphia parole officer. Picking up a cat (actually a rare mountain lion) for even richer Montgomery Bell (Sir John Mills) proves to be bad enough, but Nikki takes the cake when it comes to provoking, manipulating, and surprising. Furthermore, they are tailed by a couple of criminal goons and a bickering pair of police detectives who are after the key to evidence which Nikki claims proves she was framed by corrupt Worthington.


Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 2, Brooklyn.
   

otsoNY Comments: This entire area of Central Harlem has since been modernised, and many of the house and buildings have had repairs to brickwork and rooftops.

otsoNY Comments: As the camera pans round, the Riverside Church can be clearly seen in the background, providing reference to this rooftop location.

West 121st Street (between St Nicholas Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd) Harlem.
   

otsoNY Comments: Fans of Madonna will recognise this shot from the front cover of the "Who's That Girl" single, which was released in June 1987, by Sire Records as the first album single. The song was later included on the two-disc edition of Madonna's 2009 greatest hits album Celebration. While shooting for the film, Madonna had requested Patrick Leonard to develop an uptempo song that captured the nature of her film persona. She later added the lyrics and vocals to the demo tape developed by Leonard, and decided to rename the song as well as the film to "Who's That Girl". Featuring instrumentation from drums, bass, and stringed instruments, "Who's That Girl" continued Madonna's fascination with Hispanic culture by incorporating Spanish lyrics and using the effect of double vocals. Critical reception was mixed to positive; some critics compared it to Madonna's previous single, "La Isla Bonita", while others found it forgettable. "Who's That Girl" became Madonna's sixth single to top the Billboard Hot 100, while peaking atop the charts in countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Netherlands, Ireland and Belgium.

St Nicholas Avenue and West 121st Street, Harlem.
   

West 58th Street and 5th Avenue, Manhattan.
   

otsoNY Comments: During the filming of this scene in front of Trump Plaza, Donald Trump came down from his penthouse for a major photo op with the paparazzi, ensuring he'd be seen with Madonna in the New York Post the following day.

Trump Tower, 725 5th Avenue (btw East 56th and 57th Streets) Manhattan.
   

5th Avenue (btw East 56th and 57th Streets) Manhattan.
   

Wendy Worthington's Apartment, 16 East 94th Street & 5th Avenue, Manhattan.
   

East 94th Street and 5th Avenue, Manhattan.
   

Mansion, 330 Riverside Drive and West 105th Street, Manhattan.
   

otsoNY Comments: During the second take of a scene involving the cougar, the cougar accidentally escaped from the cage, resulting in filming being paused for a few hours.

West 105th Street (btw Riverside Drive and West End Avenue) Manhattan.
   

otsoNY Comments: During this scene, Madonna's ballad "The Look of Love" is heard. It features alongside the songs, "Causing a Commotion", "Who's That Girl", and "Can't Stop" on the "Who's That Girl" LP soundtrack. The song "Look of Love" was part of the "Who's That Girl" tour of 1987, and since then never been included in any other tours, whereas "Causing a Commotion" has been used in the "Who's That Girl" and "Blonde Ambition" tours. "Can't Stop" has never been sung live.

(Near the Metropolitan Museum) 5th Avenue (btw East 82nd and 84th Streets) Manhattan.
   

otsoNY Comments: Costume Designer Deborah Lynn Scott was signed to create the wardrobe for this movie. Madonna, who visualized the character of Nikki as a dizzy screwball blonde, started watching the screwball comedies of the sixties, especially the work of actors and actresses like Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, and Judy Holliday. She asked Scott to create comical rah-rah and ballet tutu skirts for the character, with fishnet tights and loud make-up. Scott also designed a glamorous Monroe-esque dress for the love scene between her and Griffin Dunne.

Montgomery Bell's Apartment, 211 Central Park West and West 81st Street, Manhattan.
   

otsoNY Comments: This scene was shot on a sound stage and not at the top of the Beresford at 211 Central Park West.



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