New York Film Locations

otsoNY in 2009: Sliver

10 October 2019

Following the success of ‘Basic Instinct’ in 1990, actress Sharon Stone opted for the lead role in another erotic thriller, this time shot in New York City. The film was based on the Ira Levin novel ‘Sliver’ and was about the mysterious occurrences in a privately owned New York high-rise sliver building. Phillip Noyce directed the film, from a screenplay by Joe Eszterhas, but because of a major battle with the MPAA, which had originally given the film an NC-17 rating, the filmmakers were forced to make extensive reshoots before release. These reshoots actually necessitated changing the killer's identity.

Film Poster: Sliver

Ira Levin was reluctant to sell the rights to his book. He had only been pleased with the movie adaptation of ‘Rosemary's Baby’ out of all the attempts to film his novels. When producer Robert Evans, who had produced ‘Rosemary's Baby’, got wind of this, he sent Levin a copy of Roman Polanski's autobiography, with all the mentions of Evans' salvaging the film highlighted. The ploy worked and Levin sold the rights to Evans for $250,000.

Besides Sharon Stone, who played the role of Carly Norris, a book editor and divorcee in her mid 30s, there were also appearances from William Baldwin, a video game designer; Tom Berenger, a novelist; and Polly Walker, a fashion model who moonlighted as a call girl. Though some might argue the best actor in this film was the apartment building itself, where the previous tenant, Naomi Singer who bears a striking resemblance to Carly, had fallen to her death from the apartment’s balcony. “It was during the research process for my trip in the summer of 2009 that I noticed one film location website, stating that the actual apartment building used in the film was at The Corinthian at 330 East 38th Street,” explains otsoNY’s creator Mark Rogers. “Though I do understand how the mistake may have occurred as the 57 story complex situated between First Avenue and Tunnel Entrance Street certainly has simulates to that of the actual building used, which was in fact at 211 Madison Avenue between East 35th and 36th Streets.”

A scene from Sliver starring William Baldwin and Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone in Sliver

Standing tall and slim on a narrow lot, hence the architectural term ‘sliver’, Morgan Court is a stark, 32-floor structure built in the early 1980s on the site of an old carriage house. The Madison Avenue building was spotted by one of the film’s location managers as she jogged down the street, and it became producer Robert Evans’ only choice. One of its advantages was the 24th-floor duplex with wraparound windows that posed, in some scenes, as Sharon Stone’s apartment. “The actual entrance to Morgan Court is nothing like the one seen in the film,” explains Mark. “The courtyard and lobby was a film set in LA, and there is no actual laundry room, as each apartment has its own washer and dryer.” Similarly, the actual residents of Morgan Court are mostly business executives who tend to keep a lower profile than the movie’s flashy, gossipy tenants. The building’s managing agent, Ann Gregory, concedes that Hollywood’s version of Manhattan domestic life is a bit exaggerated but adds philosophically, ‘every building has its secrets’. “A great vantage point for taking a photograph of the Sliver building is from the observatory of the Empire State Building which is a few blocks away.” Other locations in ‘Sliver’ include the New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue at the corner of East 38th Street and Reservoir Gothic Bridge in Central Park.

Promotional image for the film Sliver of Sharon Stone standing next to Morgan Court in Manhattan

View from the Empire State Building of Morgan Court on Madison Avenue

View from the Empire State Building of Morgan Court on Madison Avenue

The Motion Picture soundtrack for ‘Sliver’ peaked at number 23 on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified gold by the RIAA on 17th December 1993. The soundtrack included ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ by Massive Attack, who were sued by bassist Ralphe Armstrong for copyright infringement alleging they lifted vocals and other samples from his song ‘Planetary Citizen’ from the Inner Worlds album by the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Ralphe claimed he became aware of the copyright issue while watching this movie. The suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Sharon Stone in Sliver

A scene from Sliver starring Sharon Stone and William Baldwin

Another successful song from the soundtrack was British reggae band UB40 recording of the Elvis Presley classic ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’, which climbed to No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 after debuting at No. 100, and remained there for seven weeks. It was also number one in the United Kingdom, Austria, Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand. “For me, the best song on the ‘Sliver’ soundtrack was Enigma’s ‘Carly's Song’, which used samples from the Mongolian folk music vocalist Namjilyn Norovbanzad, and was later remixed and re-released as ‘Age of Loneliness’ on Enigma's second studio album, ‘The Cross of Changes’.”

Click HERE for a full list of film locations from Sliver

In the next article of this series, Mark talks about the film, ‘Crocodile Dundee’ and the famous bar in the East Village.


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