On location

Posted by ESC on April 22, 2000

In Reply to: On location posted by Paul Guthrie on April 22, 2000

: In advertising an upcoming moive called 'Sahara', our local TV station pronounced that the movie was shot 'on location' in Australia.
: Does anybody know or have any insights as to how 'on location' has apparently come to mean not at the actual location, but in this case in fact in an entirely different continent?

"...the Seilis Co. filmed the beach scenes for its 'Count of Monte Cristo' on the beach of Santa Moncia, California. Though not the first scenes filmed outdoors 'on location' (a term not recorded until 1914), they were the first filmed in Southern California, whose good year-round weather and variety of scenery made it a perfect place for moviemaking..." From Listening to America: An Illustrated History of Words and Phrases from Our Lively and Splendid Past by Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982).

I don't know why that particular term was used. I just remember Bette Davis lamenting the fact that most movies are now filmed on location. Ms. Davis thought things were a lot easier when movies were filmed on a set or in the studio backlots.