The Psychotronic Tourist: “DEAD RINGERS” (1988)

deadringers2

In anticipation of the recently unveiled David Cronenberg: Evolution exhibit and career-spanning film series at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Bell Lightbox cinema, Spectacular Optical will be rolling out a series of Psychotronic Tourist columns dedicated to revisiting the old haunts of David Cronenberg.

Here, two psychogeographers in acute Canadiana, Joshua Wright and David Bertrand, took a stroll around Cronenberg’s hometown of Toronto, snapping a few “then & now” stills from DEAD RINGERS (1988). It was predominantly shot in studio, but also offered glimpses of the gritty brick and mortar of old Toronto and the brutalist architecture of the new.

All “now” photos by Joshua Wright, unless stated otherwise. Text by David Bertrand.

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DEAD RINGERS (1988):

1. THE MANTLES’ APARTMENT – 519 Bay St, Toronto
As a distraught and disastrously over-medicated Beverly Mantle (Jeremy Irons), staggers out of his apartment to make a final phone call to Claire Niveau (Genevieve Bujold), he crosses Toronto’s Trinity Square to a phone booth. The Mantles’ apartment would be inside 519 Bay Street, with Beverly entering Trinity Square via the back entrance. The most notable change is the growth of the trees and ivy, 25 years later.

Then:

DR_Square1_Then

And now:

DR_Square1_Now

A continuation of the same shot, looking across Trinity Square at the Church of the Holy Trinity and the three arches leading to the Toronto Public Labyrinth, which is now paved into the centre of the Square. I’m not sure if the phone booth was ever really there, or just a prop. Trees have since grown, obscuring the church. Not visible here (but visible during the camera pan in the film), is the former department store Eaton’s. It went out of business and was bought by Sears at the end of the 90’s, whose logo we see towering over the Trinity Square today.

Then:

DR_Square2b_Then

And now:

DR_Square2b_Now

2. ANDERS WOLLECK’S STUDIO - 173 King St. East, Toronto

Beverly Mantle crosses the street to visit the studio & gallery of metalwork artist Anders Wolleck (Stephen Lack), commissioning him to construct his radical new gynecological instruments. Alexander Interiors & Design, at 173 King St. East, is the current occupant of the gallery space in the film. In this image, we see the corner of King St. & Jarvis St. On the right are the pillars of the old Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Building, beyond that is the St. James Cathedral and gardens. Note the change in streetcar design over the years.

Then:

DR_Street2_Then

And now:

DR_Street2_Now

3. AWARDS CEREMONY – Mississauga Civic Centre, 300 City Centre Drive, Mississauga

A drunk and disorderly Beverly stumbles down this flight of stairs, about to crudely interrupt an awards ceremony in his honour. The location is the then-brand new Mississauga Civic Centre, at 300 City Centre Drive, Mississauga, Ontario, where Mayor “Hurricane” Hazel McCallion, 92-years-old and now in her 12th consecutive term, has ruled Mississauga municipal politics since 1978.

Screen shot 2013-10-07 at 3.32.41 PM

And now: (Note: “Now” photograph borrowed from http://forum.skyscraperpage.com)

Mississauga City Hall steps

Here, in the Great Hall of the Mississauga Civic Centre, Elliot delivers his acceptance speech before a seated audience, only to be rudely interrupted by Beverly.

Then:

Screen shot 2013-11-05 at 3.17.33 PM

And now: (Note: “Now” photograph borrowed from this site: http://www.flickriver.com/photos/snuffy/sets)

City Hall arch

4. LUNCH AT CASA LOMA OBSERVATORY -1 Austin Terrace, Toronto

Claire Niveau meets a friend for lunch and hears some unexpected gossip about her sexual liaisons with the Mantle twins. This is the conservatory room of Casa Loma, the famous Toronto castle built by eccentric Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt, which has been used for hundreds of film and TV productions.

Then:

casaloma then

And now: (Note: “Now” photograph borrowed from this site: www.mashedthoughts.com)

Casa Loma Conservatory

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For more information about David Cronenberg: Evolution, and related events at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, visit here: http://tiff.net/cronenberg/exhibition

 

About the author:

David Bertrand

David Bertrand is the Operations Manager for the Fantasia International Film Festival, a writer for Fangoria Magazine and DJ at Toronto's Fear Street.

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