The new Amazon show, Man in the High Castle is (loosely) based on the 1962 book by Philip P. Dick that reimagines the United States if the Allied forces had lost World War II. The East Coast to the Rocky Mountains, known as the “Greater Nazi Reich,” is ruled by the Nazi regime. The Japanese Pacific States in the west is ruled by the Japanese, with a thin Neutral Zone in the center of the country serving as a buffer between the two. The show takes place across the country, with two home bases – New York City and San Francisco, and traces the lives of two main characters – Juliana Crain and Joe Blake, two characters from opposite sides of the country who meet in Canon City in the neural zone.
A lot of the show’s establishing shots are edited with CGI, put on top of familiar places, the city of Seattle serves as some stand-ins for both New York City and San Francisco, while the interiors are clearly filmed on sets. We’ll focus first on locations set in and near New York City, then move to San Francisco and other locations.
In the opening of the show, Joe Blake meets an agent in an old school movie theater in New York City near Times Square, listed as the Paramount Theatre on the marquee, and showing the film The Punch Party with Rock Hudson and June Allyson. While a Nazi propaganda news reel plays, a man sits down next to him and hands him a slip of paper. The real Paramount, where Frank Sinatra once incited a riot of young fans, is actually located on Broadway, whereas the theater in the show is shown on a side street. One of the accurate vintage details in the striking image of Nazi-dominated Times Square is the cast-iron IRT subway entrance that used to stand in front of One Times Square (the former New York Times building), though they were removed by the 1950s shortly after the war.