Mank (2020)

The 2020 David Fincher film “Mank,” about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz and his story of writing the screenplay for “Citizen Kane,” is set in the 1930s and 1940s, against the Hollywood studio backdrop of that era. The film likewise shot around Southern California. The movie employs heavy use of CGI to maintain the period look, often taking portions of real locations and adding computer generated elements and different backgrounds altogether. Fincher himself described the process as being as labor-intensive as a Marvel movie. It makes it challenging at times to nail down specific locations, as the real life places in present day don’t always align with what is seen in the film.

One location that matches up very well is the ranch where Mank, played by Gary Oldman, spends much of the film writing “Citizen Kane.” The Kemper Campbell Ranch in Victorville, known at the time the film takes place as the Verde Ranch, is where these scenes were shot. The ranch is, in fact, also the actual location where the real Herman J. Mankiewicz wrote much of “Citizen Kane.” Today, the property is a private estate and cattle ranch. Due to the fact that there are full-time residents living at the ranch, they do not offer tours to the public. However, they do offer guest rentals at the property. The guest rentals are currently only available at group rates, with a two night minimum, so it can be quite a costly stay, unless you have a larger party to help split the costs. Here is the area of the ranch featured most heavily in the film, where Mank stays.

LOCATION: 10 Kemper Campbell Ranch Rd, Victorville, CA 92395

Here is a closer look at the building. The door, stairs and courtyard are all featured throughout the course of the film, as it cuts between Mank writing in 1940 and various flashback scenes throughout the 1930s.

Here is a look at one of the roads leading to the ranch, which is also seen several times in the film.

Here are some additional views of the ranch and surrounding mountains.

In a flashback scene, Charlie invites Mank on a weekend trip to what turns out to be the Hearst Castle. They depart from the Glendale Station, just as the characters state in the film. Mank arrives at the station drunk. While the real building was featured in the scene, visual effects were used to add additional buildings and palm trees into the background.

LOCATION: 400 W Cerritos Ave, Glendale, CA 91204

Mank awakens at the Hearst Castle to screams coming from outside. It is made to appear the scenes shot at the real Hearst Castle, located in San Simeon (750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452). However, the scenes were actually shot at The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. The southwest corner of the Huntington Art Gallery building served as the grounds of the Hearst Castle, with quite a bit of visual effects added to the shot, such as the Hearst towers and palm trees. The Huntington grounds are quite large, so we’ve provided GPS coordinates below of the exact spot.

LOCATION: 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108 (GPS coordinates: 34.126274, -118.113582)

Mank follows the sound of the screams and discovers a film set, where Marion Davies, played by Amanda Seyfried, is performing a scene in which she is burned at the stake. This scene was also filmed at The Huntington Library, near the Australian Garden and Desert Garden, according to comments online. The film employs so many visual effects, adding mountains and open land, to the point that we were unable to match with certainty the exact spot the set was built.

In yet another scene at the Huntington Library, Marion walks with Mank to a fountain, where she asks him about which roles he feels she could play. The fountain can be found on the North Vista, with the GPS coordinates 34.128229, -118.113415. More visual effects were used in the scene, showing the Hearst Castle in the distance.

While at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, Mank sees Upton Sinclair giving a political speech. The hotel is one of the most frequently used locations in all of Los Angeles, having appeared in “Ghostbusters,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Independence Day,” “Fight Club” and countless more productions. The interior of the hotel also appears at the end of the film, when the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay is awarded.

LOCATION: 506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Mank runs into his friend C.C. in front of Bullocks Wilshire, a famous art deco building on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles. Mank learns that MGM is hiring actors to play outspoken citizens against Upton Sinclair. Once a luxury department store, Bullocks Wilshire now operates as a law school. The building has also been featured in the films “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “The Aviator” and “Dunston Checks In,” the TV series “Moonlighting” and Areosmith’s music video for “Love in an Elevator,” in addition to many other productions.

LOCATION: 3050 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010

The Trocadero Nightclub was not a real club. The exterior location used was Cicada Restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles, with a few visual effects composited into the shot, such as the Trocadero sign. The location has been featured in countless films, such as “Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood,” “Pretty Woman,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” “Indecent Proposal,” “Suicide Squad” and “Bruce Almighty,” as well as such TV shows as “Mad Men, “The Morning Show” and “American Horror Story.”

LOCATION: 617 S Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

After Mank tries to intervene in a potential suicide of his friend Shelly Metcalf, as he’s leaving, he drives over La Loma Bridge in Pasadena, with the Griffith Observatory visible in the distance. This is another visual effect. In reality, the Observatory is not visible from the bridge. The same bridge was featured in the film “The Little Things.”

LOCATION: La Loma Bridge, 799 La Loma Rd, Pasadena, CA 91105

Related articles: Seven (1995), The Game (1997), Fight Club (1999), Panic Room (2002), Zodiac (2007), The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008), The Social Network (2010), Mindhunter

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

For the 1989 sequel “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” most of the story is set in Chicago, Illinois, but production took place primarily in Burbank, California, with a few exteriors filmed in Chicago and Colorado.  The Griswold house is not a real house, rather a set on the Warner Bros. Ranch.  The ranch is located separate from the main Warner Bros. Studio lot and is unfortunately not open to public tours.  The house has since changed a bit, but still bears some resemblance.  The same house can be seen in “American Beauty,” “WandaVision,” “Hocus Pocus,” “Small Soldiers,” “Pleasantville” and more.

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LOCATION: 411 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505

Just next to the Griswold house is the neighbors’ house of Todd and Margo, played by Nicholas Guest and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  It too is a set, but of all the houses on the ranch, it has the most functional interior, having been used in many productions.  The house is mostly shown from side angles or close-ups, likely due to having been used in another popular film series at that time, “Lethal Weapon,” where it served as Danny Glover’s house.  Known as the Lindsay house, it has also appeared in “American Beauty,” “WandaVision,” The Three Stooges serials, “Pushing Daisies,” “The Middle” and many more.

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LOCATION: 411 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505

Clark flirts with an attractive woman working at a department store, before his son busts him.  This was filmed at Bullocks Wilshire, a famous art deco building on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles.  Once a luxury department store, the building now operates as a law school.  The building is only seen from interior views in the film.  While the inside is typically closed to the public, there are occasional public tour opportunities.  The building has also been seen in the films “Mank,” “The Aviator” and “Dunston Checks In,” the TV series “Moonlighting” and Areosmith’s music video for “Love in an Elevator,” as well many other productions.

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LOCATION: 3050 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Later in the film, Clark fantasizes about the same department store woman, undressing at a pool in his back yard.  The pool is also located at the Warner Bros Ranch.  While it is located fairly close to the Griswold house, it’s actually on the opposite side of the street (known as Blondie St), not in back of the house as depicted in the film.  If not for the trees in the background of the photo below, you could see the Griswold house in the distance.

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LOCATION: 411 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505

Near the end of the film, Cousin Eddie, played by Randy Quaid, abducts Clark’s boss from his home after he stiffs his staff of their Christmas bonuses.  This was filmed at the Mattison Boyd Jones house in Glendale, California.  The house can be a bit tricky to see from the road, as the front of the property has a long fence with high shrubs and the driveway is gated.  However, from the right angle you can still catch a view.  Currently a private residence, the house has been seen in many television shows, primarily from the 70s and 80s, including “Flamingo Road,” “Columbo,” “Knight Rider” and “Emerald Point N.A.S.”

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LOCATION: 727 W Kenneth Rd, Glendale, CA 91202

Related articles: National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)