Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Maps in movies

Over the weekend I watched the 2002 version of the movie Solaris, which though I am a Sci Fi fan was not my favorite example of that genre. Be that as it may, it did have a map in the background of one of the scenes. This is a scene with Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) and Rheya (Natascha McElhone) in the kitchen of Chris' apartment. If you look closely, in the background is a 19th century map (Johnson?) of Illinois.

The map is rather fuzzy and I am not sure why this map is there. Maybe the apartment is supposed to be in Chicago or perhaps it was a map that belongs to the actual owner of the apartment used for the scene (assuming it was not a kitchen built on a set). In any case, not terribly exciting, but still I do enjoy finding maps in movies even if they do not play much of a role.

Maps also appear in this year's movie Lincoln, but there they play a larger role. This was called to my attention by Susan Schulten in her map blog. As Susan points out, in this movie the maps used are displayed as an important part of the on-going drama.

As Susan describes in her excellent book, Mapping the Nation (discussed in an earlier post in my blog), the Coastal Survey map of slavery in the southern US was an important document in Lincoln's thinking about the Emancipation Proclamation. [You can also read about this in an on-line paper by Susan.] Beyond this, however, maps were very much a part of the political landscape in Washington during the Civil War and this is nicely illustrated by their use in this movie.

Thanks to Susan for blogging on these maps and if you are interested in maps, you should take a look. Also, I hope anyone else who sees maps (or old prints for that matter) in movies will let me know.