New York Film Locations

otsoNY in 2009: The Prince of Tides

25 October 2019

In 1991, Barbra Streisand produced, directed and starred in the romantic drama, ‘The Prince of Tides’ which told the story of the narrator's struggle to overcome the psychological damage inflicted by his dysfunctional childhood in South Carolina. The film which also starred Nick Nolte, Blythe Danner and Jeroen Krabbé, and was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but did not receive any.

Film Poster: The Prince of Tides

The Wingo family was from South Carolina, and they grew up in a house on a tidal plain. The oldest offspring, Lucas, largely acted as the protector for his younger twin siblings, Tom and Savannah, in light of their dysfunctional growing up, with their shrimper father, Henry, distant and abusive if and when he did pay them any attention, whilst their mother, Lila, when not doting on them was most concerned about appearances and striving for social standing. Now in middle age, Savannah was a New York based poet, Tom, was still living on the South Carolina coast outside of Charleston with his wife Sally and their own three daughters, taking a break from his high school teaching and football coaching job, while Lucas has long since died while still standing up for himself and his beliefs. Lila, divorced and now remarried with that wealth and social standing she so long desired, receives news that Savannah is in the hospital following her most recent suicide attempt.

Scene from The Prince of Tides showing Nick Nolte arriving at the apartment at the corner of Prince Street and Thompson Street

Scene from The Prince of Tides showing Nick Nolte inside the apartment at the corner of Prince Street and Thompson Street

Scene from The Prince of Tides showing Nick Nolte standing on the apartment building fire escape

Not wanting to face the blame directly as she suspects, she assigns Tom to go to New York to speak to Savannah's therapist, Susan Loewenstein, to provide any information of a family history nature that could help in Savannah's recovery. Tom agrees despite hating New York, and it being not a good time since he and Sally are experiencing marital problems, they both just knowing that things between them are not working, and not having been intimate in months. As Tom and Loewenstein begin their sessions, Tom is slow to divulge the Wingo family problems to her. But he learns that she too is having her own family problems, with her concert violinist husband Herbert Woodruff being self absorbed and condescending, with their young adult son, Bernard, hating both largely because of their predestining his life also as a concert violinist. Tom and Loewenstein's sessions blossom into a friendship and romance, where their talks, in addition to helping Savannah, may help them both in dealing with their own life problems, Tom's which have been long buried figuratively and literally.

Mark Rogers, otsoNY’s creator had read the novel before seeing the film. “While the film was a box office hit and raised Streisand's reputation as a director,” explains Mark, “there were numerous changes from the original novel, in particular the flashbacks. In the novel, they formed the main plot and actually took up more of the novel than the romance between Streisand's character, Dr. Lowenstein, and Tom Wingo. The removal of the flashbacks made the relationship between Wingo and Lowenstein the central story in the film, whereas in the novel, it is not.”

Apartment building and its fire escape featured in the film The Prince of Tides

Principal photography began in June 1990 in Beaufort, South Carolina. Other locations in the South Carolina Lowcountry included St. Helena Island and Fripp Island. ‘The Prince of Tides’ wrapped production in New York in September 1990. “My interest in this film was the Prince Street apartment building at the corner Thompson Street, in particular the fire escape where Nick Nolte’s character Tom Wingo stands and gazes down at the street below. It was relatively easy to find, and this area of Prince Street holds so much character with its quaint little shops and open front restaurants, of which so many have appeared in films.”

Apartment building featured in the film The Prince of Tides

Other film locations include the townhouse at 4 East 74th Street, Stuyvesant Square, Pier 17 at South Street Seaport, Vesuvio Bakery at 160 Prince Street, Cafe Borgia, 225 Central Park West, 161 Prince Street, and Grand Central Terminal.

Click HERE for a full list of film locations from The Prince of Tides

In the next article of this series, Mark talks about the film, ‘Music and Lyrics’ and the main character’s apartment building on 72nd Street.


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