photos are stills from this Youtube video of the Stonehenge scene in European Vacation
We know we’ve mentioned it before, but this one seems like it should have its own post, possibly the last in our film series for a while. The movie’s title is European Vacation, but everyone knows it as National Lampoon’s European Vacation, one of a series of movies in which the Griswold/Griswald family, led by parents Clark (Chevy Chase) and Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) go on disastrous holidays.
Of course they hit the big European tourist spots, and Stonehenge is not left out. As they leave, Clark Griswald makes a speech about it having stood the test of time, “a thing of glory for a million generations to see.” He then gets into the car, backs into one of the stones, and knocks the entire circle (set up almost like a spiral) down. (See video of the Stonehenge scene here.)
Okay, haha, no denying it’s funny in a broad slapstick way. But our job is to look at the replica or replicas involved. It is a peculiar one, a circle of tall thin trilithons, no attempt at making it a linteled circle like the real one, with a circle rather than a horseshoe of taller trilithons inside.
No bluestones, understandably. They would just complicate the scene and most people don’t know they’re there (or else think the sarsens are bluestones). No ditch and bank visible, but the landscape in the background looks enough like Salisbury Plain to pass.
All in all, although its peculiar proportions put us in mind of the mini-Stonehenge in the gardens at Cockington Green in Australia near Canberra, it’s not a bad replica when compared to many others. We do not know for certain whether only one replica was used to make the movie or if a miniature model was used for some shots of the monument falling down.
Score: 7½ druids for this movie replica, made to fall. A note to British and European Stonehenge fans: next time you object to the barriers that keep tourists from walking among and touching the stones at Stonehenge, remember the Griswalds and think whether it may not be better that English Heritage is keeping the Americans out! Who knows how many shocking offenses have been averted.
Of course there are even British people who take it as a challenge to somehow topple the monument, and those who claim Stonehenge as it stands was an invention of the English tourist industry of the early 1900’s and not worth knocking down. This is the internet age. People will say and do anything. There’s even a blog about Stonehenge replicas. We kid you not!