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Five Films Shot At the Smithsonian

Ben Stiller, Amy Adams and Owen Wilson aren't the first stars to shine on the National Mall. Though "Night at the Museum II: Battle of the Smithsonian" is the first film to use the museum complex as the main setting, the Institution has been featured before. Courtesy of the Smithsonian Archives, wh...

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Ben Stiller, Amy Adams and Owen Wilson aren't the first stars to shine on the National Mall. Though "Night at the Museum II: Battle of the Smithsonian" is the first film to use the museum complex as the main setting, the Institution has been featured before. Courtesy of the Smithsonian Archives, which has a complete list, here are five other films shot at the Smithsonian:



1. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)



We interrupt this blog to report an amazing phenomenon—the arrival of a space ship in Washington D.C.. In the opening scene of this science fiction classic, this space ships flies over the Smithsonian castle as people stand in front of the Arts and Industries Building and at the National Museum of Natural History to watch the space ship land on the Ellipse. Luckily, for the spectators, the alien from a planet 250 million miles away comes with message of goodwill.



2. Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers (1956)



When the survivors of a disintegrated solar system come to Earth, it's not for the tourism. See flying saucers topple the Washington Monument and the Capital Building, as well as fly through the towers of the Smithsonian Castle, in this B science fiction movie released one year before the launch of Sputnik. The world's only hope? A married scientist couple racing against time to invent missiles that can destroy the invaders.



3. Chances Are (1989)



In this romantic comedy, Corrine Jefferies (played by Cybill Shepherd) is a museum curator in charge of the First Ladies Collection at the National Museum of American History. Jefferies' husband is killed by a car crash on their first anniversary and is instantly reborn. Her husband reappears years later as 23-year-old Alex Finch, (played by Robert Downey, Jr.), a friend of Jefferies' daughter. The First Ladies Collection, as well as the exterior of the Smithsonian Castle and Enid Haupt Garden are shown throughout the film.



4. Get Smart (2008)



In the 1960s television, "Get Smart," the audience never learns the location of CONTROL, the secret government agency that employees Maxwell Smart. So for the 2008 franchise reboot, the filmmakers decided it would be cool to put the agency's headquarters inside the National Museum of Natural History. Several exterior and interior shots were filmed around the museum. Steve Carell plays Smart, the enthusiastic but inexperienced secret agent, who tags along with Agent 99, played by Anne Hathaway, who must stop the terrorist group KAOS after they attack CONTROL headquarters.



5. Transformers Revenge of the Fallen (2009)



In 1990, a Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird," a reconnaissance aircraft used by the military and NASA, took its final flight from Palmdale, California, to Chantilly, Virginia. Upon arrival, the Blackbird became a permanent addition of the National Air and Space Museum's Steven Udvar-Hazy Center, where it went on display in 1993. In the upcoming Transformers sequel, filmed at the center, the Blackbird comes back online as an elderly, reformed bad-guy named Jetfire. Movie director Michael Bay told Empire Magazine that Jetfire is "a cranky, forgetful old man. When he falls down he creaks and he doesn't transform well - it's like arthritis." The robot does have one neat trick, Jetfire can combine with the heroic Optimus Prime, giving him a pair of wings. Watch for the Object at Hand column on the SR-71 in Smithsonian magazine's upcoming July issue.
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