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March 25, 2014 5:14 PM   Subscribe

In the movie Rocky II, Rocky faces a moment of crisis and he retires to a chapel to pray. Philadelphians, fans of the Rocky movies, movie fans in general, I need your help identifying this chapel! See my pleadings inside.

Rocky's wife Adrian goes into premature labor. The baby is born healthy, but Adrian slips into a coma. Rocky sits by her bedside until the nurse kicks him out, so he heads for the hospital chapel to sit and pray. Mickey stops by to give him a talking-to, but then he joins Rocky in the vigil.

My questions: is this hospital chapel for real? Does it really exist or was it just a set built on a sound stage somewhere? If it is an actual chapel, where is it located? Is it in the same state today as it was back in the seventies or has it been "renovated?"

The chapel has always fascinated me given its beautiful mural, angular candle stands, and altar against the wall. I've searched via Google the major Rocky fansites and have come up with nothing. Help me out if you can. Thanks.
posted by Fukiyama to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's very possible that, even if the hospital was shot on location rather than built as a stage set, they simply dressed any old room as a chapel. It's also possible that the hospital room was shot at one location and the hospital chapel was shot at another location.

In any event, it is practically guaranteed that the candle stands were rented from a prop house and not original to the space.

That said, Nick Carr, the blogger at Scouting New York, sometimes writes about locations outside of NYC proper. Maybe shoot him an email?
posted by Sara C. at 5:38 PM on March 25, 2014

I had forgotten that scene and just rewatched it on Youtube. I'd be surprised if it were an actual hospital chapel - it's really large and most of them tend to be nonsectarian.

Assuming that it's Catholic, the layout of the sanctuary would be from an older, pre-Vatican II church. Up until Vatican II, the priest prayed towards the altar against the wall with his back to the parishioners. One of the changes was to move the altar away from the wall and position the priest to face everyone else to celebrate Mass.

Those angled candlestands are sometimes associated with Tenebrae services, and usually hold 15 candles. I would guess it's a chapel in an older church nearby, dressed up a bit for the mood of the scene.

You might try asking these guys, too. They have a list of the shooting locations, but I don't see the chapel anywhere.
posted by jquinby at 5:46 PM on March 25, 2014

Parts of the Rocky II were filmed on the grounds of Pennsylvania Hospital. It's possible that it was that hospital's Chapel. Based on the timeline of Pennsylvania Hospital, I'd guess the scenes were filmed in/around the Pine Building, although this link says that the Chapel was located in the Dulles Building
posted by Rob Rockets at 6:57 PM on March 25, 2014

Another place to ask (again, assuming a Catholic location was used) would be the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It's a long shot, but you never know. You might be 100th person to ask.
posted by jquinby at 7:11 PM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I tweeted the question to @phillychurches.
posted by Jahaza at 7:38 PM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hello, everyone. Thank you for your responses so far. I will email those suggested people and organizations and see what they have to say.

I don't want to threadsit, but here are a few thoughts.

I do believe the hospital was meant to be a Catholic hospital if it actually wasn't. There were statues of saints in the corridor and a crucifix over Adrian's bed. Those could have just been placed there for ambiance in a regular hospital.

Along the same line, I am cognizant of the possibility that the chapel may be dressed up and made to look Hollywood Catholic what with the pre-Vatican II decor. I was baptized in 1981 and according to family, the church was still in its pre-Vatican II state at that point, so I would not be surprised if a hospital chapel was still "unreconstructed" in the late seventies.

As for it being too big for a hospital chapel/meditation room, I would just say that if it is an actual Catholic hospital chapel from the seventies, the number of patients, family, and staff at that time attending Mass or prayer services would be much greater than today.
posted by Fukiyama at 7:18 AM on March 26, 2014

Response by poster: A final update: got back to me and while they provided interesting info regarding Pennsylvania Hospital and the exterior shots filmed there, they had nothing to say regarding my actual question about the chapel.

The other suggestions have not replied.

Thank you all for your ideas and comments!
posted by Fukiyama at 8:58 AM on March 29, 2014

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