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Gotham skyline

Gotham City's skyline, as it appears in the 1989 Batman movie.

Batman (1989 film)Edit

In the opening lines of the Sam Hamm screenplay to the 1989 film version[1], Gotham is described as Hell erupted through the pavement and built a city (similar to a Pandæmonium, or the capital of Hell, from the terms of John Milton). The logic in screenplay is when elevators were utilized for taller structures, the buildings over a few stories were built around the existing structures of Gotham Town. These skyscapers cast a shadow over the city coupled with the smoke from Gotham's industry kept the city in perpetual dusk.

A map of Gotham City used in the film Batman (1989) was actually an inverted map of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In the same movie, a map of the Axis Chemical plant was actually a map of the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

Anton Furst did the production design for the first Batman film directed by Tim Burton[2][3]. Anton Furst's set designs for the Batman movie were an attempt to imagine what might have happened to New York City had there been no planning commission and had it been run by pure extortion and crime. Hence, there were no height restrictions, the skyscrapers were cantilevered toward the street rather than away, there were lots of bridges over the streets. In return, the city appeared to be extremely dark and claustrophobic. Burton even stated himself that his take on Gotham was "As if Hell came sprouting out of the concrete and kept right on growing."

The individual buildings in Furst's version of Gotham were based on a whole host of influences. The cathedral was based on Antoni Gaudí's Sagrada Família, the Flugelheim Museum exterior was based on the work of Shin Takamatsu, and some of the other influences were Otto Wagner, Norman Foster, and Albert Speer.[4] In essence, Furst deliberately mixed clashing architectural styles to make Gotham City the ugliest and bleakest metropolis imaginable.

For Wayne Manor, Knebworth House, a Gothic Tudor mansion 28 miles north of London was used for the exterior. The interior however, is Hatfield House, Hertfordshire.

The flag of Gotham City closely resembles the state flag of Indiana. It can be seen briefly in Harvey Dent's office.

Batman ReturnsEdit

For Tim Burton's second Batman film, Batman Returns[5][6] (1992), Bo Welch took over the production design[7] duties from Anton Furst. Welch for the most part, based his designs on Furst's concepts.[8] Whereas Anton Furst's designs showed a considerable amount of sinister visual grandeur, Bo Welch's designs had a more whimsical approach.[9][10][11] Welch blended "Fascist architecture with World's Fair architecture" for Gotham City.[12] Russian architecture and German Expressionism were also studied.

At least 50% of the Warner Brothers lot was taken up with Gotham City sets. The massive Gotham City sets were all constructed to be mobile, and were often shifted between days of filming. Michelle Pfeiffer (Catwoman) routinely got lost on her way to filming each day.

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