In this mortgage-less age of foreclosures, repossessions and unscrupulous landlords, it’s sometimes nice to make yourself sick with envy. Here we take a look at some of the most ostentatious pads in cinema; because we’re that emotionally masochistic:
Scarface’s Palace (Scarface)
It’s big, tacky and drenched with neon. It’s… the eighties. This Miami monument to cocaine and the American Dream also doubles as a handy mausoleum by the movie’s end; but not before the biggest, baddest shootout in film history. It may feature gardens bigger than some national parks, a wall of TV monitors to rival Matrix Reloaded and enough cocaine to satisfy Keith Richards for at least an hour; but what use is all that when you’re lying dead beneath a massive metaphor? Anyone who fancies a stay in Tony Montana’s palace of tack need only shell out a cool $30,000 a month.
Xanadu (Citizen Kane)
Fictional mansions don’t come much bigger than Xanadu. Judging by the opening shots of Orson Welles’ brilliantly smug debut, the residence of Charles Foster Kane could dwarf Rhode Island, and is based on the spectacular Hearst Castle in California (above). Vast, crumbling, filled with shadows and surrounded by endless stretches of desolate gardens; Xanadu is a petulant monument to a man who could have anything, except what he really wanted. The final shots only serve to make Kane’s worldly possessions seem even more worthless: with their owner barely cold they’re shovelled en-masse into a roaring furnace, along with his beloved Rosebud.
The Modern House (Mon Oncle)
In Jacque Tati’s third film, the dimly traditional Monsieur Hulot becomes entangled with his ferociously forward-thinking sister and her joyless husband. Central to the film’s amiable plot is the modernist suburban monstrosity the two inhabit; a grandiose intersection of sharp lines, whirring electronics and angular edges. Leave Hulot to make a mess of it. Over the course of two hours we watch as this icon to ‘50s sterility becomes host to imploding lunch parties, night time shenanigans and drunken chaos. Despite being a clear satire on modernism, the film inspired at least three reconstructions by people who clearly missed the point.
The Fortress of Solitude (Superman)
A giant ice palace in the wastes of the Arctic; Superman’s residence always seemed to tilt more toward ‘supervillain lair’ than ‘chillout point for Earth’s saviour’. Constructed (in the films at least) from a single Kryptonian crystal and holding all sorts of wondrous gizmos and gadgets, the fortress is inaccessible to all but the strongest man on Earth (and, erm, Gene Hackman). What it lacks in practicality it makes up for in grandeur; in its 12 years on the air, Cribs has never even come close.
The Mansion (Melancholia)
It’s big, it’s by a lake, it’s got grounds vast enough to ride your horses in and the interior beats any five star hotel. It’s the perfect place to witness the end of the world. The grandiose setting for Lars Von Trier’s operatic tale of planet-wide destruction may be the single fanciest building we’ve ever seen; and we’ve been to Vegas. Those of you who fancy recreating the experience of being obliterated in its grounds will be pleased to note you can hire it for our own upcoming apocalypse for as little as $2,500.
For great gifts to kit out any pad, check out the Conran Shop’s Gifts for Him range.