PITTSBURGH MADE: Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Silence of the Lambs is a movie that more intelligent writers than me have discussed, so let me speak on where it was made instead.

Yes, that really in Quantico, Virginia and Clay County, West Virginia, but a lot of this movie was made throughout Pittsburgh, including scenes at the Old Allegheny County Jail (our jail looks like a castle), Hannibal Lecter’s (Anthony Hopkins) impromptu cage being inside the Soldiers and Sailors Museum and Memorial (you can go there every year before Halloween and watch the movie) as well as locations in Canonsburg, the Bradford Court apartments in Crafton, the Grieg Funeral Home in Rural Valley, a house in Glenwillard, Moxley’s Drugs being located in Homestead and Buffalo Bill’s (Ted Levine) house in Perryopolis, which is now a bed and breakfast where you can stay in.

Here’s what’s wild. Levine is from Bellaire, Ohio and he was amazed to discover that the house being considered for his home in the movie was not only in the town where he grew up, but next door to the house of his high school girlfriend.

Based on the book by Thomas Harris and adapted for the screen by Ted Tally, this movie was such a big deal all over the place when it opened in 1991 but man, it has become even a bigger deal here. It even has a cameo for George Romero as a janitor, that’s how much it embraced being made in Pittsburgh.

If you ask me — and you just might — I love Manhunter more than this, but I can admit that everything about this movie is quite good, including the acting from Hopkins, Levine and Jodie Foster. You know who doesn’t agree with that? John Carpenter, who said that the movie focused too much on Clarice and that he could have made it “much more frightening and gripping.”

At first, this was going to be a direct-to-video release as studio executives felt that the film’s subject matter was too gross for a mass audience. Then there was the idea that it win some awards — more on that in a second — and Orion Pictures banned Fangoria from covering the making of the movie.

In closing, allow me to give you some trivia-contest winning info: Silence of the Lambs is one of three films to win all five major Academy Awards, which are Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay. The other two are It Happened One Night and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

One thought on “PITTSBURGH MADE: Silence of the Lambs (1991)

  1. I love Manhunter more too. Silence of the Lambs is an excellent film by a skilled craftsman. Manhunter is a work of art by a world-class director.


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