The hayseed cult-classic, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou,” starring George Clooney has long been one of our favorite films. The film is set and was filmed in the American south. As the storyline loosely follows the Odyssey by Homer, it appeals to wanderlusters. During our recent visit to the south, we tracked several of the film’s most iconic locations.
Its has been a while since this film came out…. How about a quick review? Here is the trailer:
The Woolworth Store
Perhaps the only establishment that George Clooney has ever been banned from: the Yazoo City Woolworth. As the story goes, Clooney’s character Ulysses Everett McGill confronts his ex-wife and her new fiancé. Yazoo City is located an hour north of the State Capitol of Mississippi, Jackson. Getting to the city is fairly strait forward. Take 49 north. The “Woolworth” building today is actually an antique dealership and is located right on Main Street. Location: 128 South Main Street, Yazoo City, MS.
Yazoo City is a unique place, with colorful buildings lining an active Main Street. Try Tom’s on Main Street for lunch. He makes a mean cheese burger.
Movie Fun Fact: George Clooney practiced his singing for weeks, but in the end his singing voice was dubbed by country blues singer Dan Tyminski. -IMDb
Just down from the Woolworth Building is old Yazoo City Bank. It makes an appearance in the film as the boys and George “Babyface” Nelson rob the Bank of Itea Bina. The structure is small, just as it appears in the movie. There are Greek revival columns that frame the door. There is an engraved logo above the doors, that was whited out for the movie. The bank is located at the intersection of Main Street and Commercial in Yazoo City, MS.
WEZY Radio Station
The boys meet up with blues guitarist Tommy Johnson along the way, and form a signing group called the “Soggy Bottom Boys.” In an effort to make some quick cash, they head to WEZY Radio, where they “sing into the can” for a blind radio engineer. This was perhaps the most fun and frustrating location to find. I say “find,” but I was never able to actually find the location. The scene was shot in Valley Park, MS, west of Hwy 61. From what I have been able to track down, the radio station itself was made for the movie and destroyed after. What remains is just the radio tower. I wandered around town (a few farm houses and a post office open in the afternoons.) If you have found it and can give directions, please leave a comment below.
In Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, a baptism scene takes place at Alligator Lake located on Long Lake Road. The lake is located 20 minutes north of Vicksburg, MS. During my visit, the river was flooding, so I wasn’t able to get all the way in. The water was warm!
Movie Fun Fact: All of the records shown in the film are turning at 33-1/3 RPM. In 1934, only 78 RPM was used. The first 33-1/3 RPM album was released in 1947. -IMDb
At the climax of the movie, George Clooney and his cohorts, The Soggy Bottom Boys, sing at a political function in a community hall. It is here were the Homer Stokes for Governor campaign makes a major misstep and Mr. Stokes is run our on a rail. The hall is filled with tables and features a stage at the front of the building. This scene was filmed in the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation Building. Scenes from the movie, Mississippi Burning were also set at this location. Interesting thing about this location, as you watch the movie, and they are carrying Mr. Stokes out on the rail, the sound of them marching is very loud. The floor of the hall is wood and sounds exactly the same as you walk on it! Loud! This location is 1302 Adams Street, Vicksburg, MS.
Movie Fun Fact: Although Homer is given a co-writing credit on the film, the Coen Brothers claim never to have read The Odyssey and are familiar with it only through cultural osmosis and film adaptations.
Governor Pappy O’Daniel, the flour magnate and proud governor, plots his re-election plans on the porch of a beautiful plantation. The plantation is one of many antebellum beauties in Natchez, MS. The plantation is aptly called, “Cedars,” and is located along the Mississippi River. A tree lined lane leads to the stunning home. It is privately held and there are heavy gates that block entry. We did our best to photograph the porch from a distance. The location is Cedars Plantation, 13688 River Road, Natchez, MS.
During out stay in the south, we elected to stay in Natchez and can highly recommend the area. The entire city is filled to the brim with stunning well kept plantation mansions. We used Flipkey to book this amazing cottage . This house has a ton of history of its own, and has been lovingly restored.
Movie Fun Fact: When Everett and Delmar are eating at the restaurant, Everett orders the restaurant’s “finest bottle of bubbly wine.” Though Prohibition was repealed nationally in 1933, Mississippi still prohibited the sale of alcohol until 1966.
River Sex Scene
Everett, Pete and Delmer’s harken to the Siren’s call. Three southern belles call to them along a trickling creek. The boys participate in debauchery in one of the most beautiful settings in the south, D’Lo Water Park. It is here that Pete gets loved up and turned into a horney toad. The location is D’Lo Water Park, 135 D’ Lo Road, D’Lo, MS. It is 20 miles south of Jackson.
The KKK Cross Burning
The Coen brothers, the directors of this movie didn’t feel that it would be appropriate to recreate the cross burning scene in the south. They elected to use a sound stage in Hollywood.
Movie Fun Fact: The song recorded by the Soggy Bottom Boys (“I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow”) , contains the line “I bid farewell to ol’ Kentucky, the place where I was born and raised.” George Clooney, who played one of the Soggy Bottom Boys, was born in Lexington, Kentucky.
We hope that you enjoyed this behind the scenes peek at a great movie. Each of these locations are close together so you can hit all the sites mentioned in one day. Now go R-U-N-N-O-F-T.
Disclosure: On occasion we are offered items to review on this site. Does this affect our honest review and opinion? Not one bit!