The film, The Quiet American, starring Michael Caine and Brendan Fraiser was made on location in Ho Chi Minh City(Saigon), Ninh Binh, and Hoi An, Vietnam. The movie takes place in 1952 a couple of years after the arrival of the Americans in Indo-China.
The film like Graham Greene’s novel of the same name takes place mostly in or near the famed Continental Hotel on Dong Khoi Street. Like the actors, one can sit outside the hotel and watch the teeming city life in Lam Son Square. The majestic Opera House stands across the boulevard from the hotel. The milk bar may be viewed from your outdoor seat. Young ladies wearing graceful ao daises still frequent the same establishments today. ( An ao dais is the blouse slit from the waist down and worn over pants.)
The Continental Hotel is less than ten blocks from the Saigon River. The river plays a large role in the film. The night scenes are spectacular. The Saigon River waterfront is lined with food stalls and hand holding couples to this day.
Rivers play important scenes in the countryside of Ninh Binh and Hoi An, Vietnam too. The early morning mist rolling in off the river reminds one of the misty mountains depicted in Chinese landscape paintings. The lush green fronds lining the banks and floating in the water drip drops of moisture.
The film is a treasure house of views of prewar Saigon, Southeast Asia. The film is richly detailed. All places mentioned in this article are still standing today. The name may have changed, but the building exists. I recommend owning a copy of The Quiet American so one can visit Saigon, Vietnam over and over again.
Story 4 of 4 Durians
Visit to Saigon 4 of 4 Durians
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Rent a copy of 'The Quiet American' today! Visit Dong Khoi Street and Lam Son Square. Two busy areas of the city. Travel to Vietnam in the comfort of your home.
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