Around the world, Hollywood has long been the icon for glamour, sophistication, drama, and swaying palm trees. This image of a place that may only be a state of mind for some Angelenos is, at the very least, found on celluloid. Consider the following five movies filmed in the City of Angeles, also known as Tinseltown, the toast of the west coast.
It’s been more than 20 years since Steve Martin wrote and starred in this LA-based romp where he gave center stage to his adopted home town. The film features the kitschy Tail O’ the Pup, a roadside stand in the shape of a giant hot dog, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles Museum of Art and the legendary Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Venice Beach, a really fun tie-in to the urban craziness in which we live, was also showcased.
Rebel Without A Cause
Griffith Park Observatory, the Art Deco landmark with its easy-to-pinpoint dome, will never be forgotten by those who watched this James Dean film. That’s where the shootout happened, although this hallowed place also served as the planetarium. Less dominant locations seen in the film include John Marshall High School in Los Feliz, standing in for Dawson High. The chickie run took place in Calabasas while the opening sequence included a house on Franklin Avenue. Finally, many stages on the Warner Brothers Studios lot helped to make this movie a classic.
For many viewers this seminal 1995 film was their first introduction to The Valley and the Valley Girl with respect to the rest of the city and its inhabitants. This isn’t to say that places like Beverly Hills was out of the loop. The witch’s house was set in this sometimes haughty enclave as was Dionne’s house. Long Beach was on hand for the skateboarding scene that took place in Shoreline Village. Even the parts of the movie that took place in the mall wasn’t in the Valley, it was in the Westside Pavilion on Pico. But never fear, a few “Clueless” locations were reserved for areas over the hill, like at Circus Liquor in NoHo and Cher’s house in Encino.
This memorable movie starring Jack Nicholson that appeared on the big screen in 1974 did show the underbelly of Los Angeles’ Chinatown, located downtown near Union Station. As Hollywood magic took over, the film also was shot in Koreatown and in Brentwood. Also in the movie, Echo Park Lake and the Avalon Casino, across the water from Long Beach some 27 miles, were on show. Other landmarks in Chinatown include the Council Chamber of City Hall, the exterior of the Biltmore hotel, and a mansion in South Pasadena.
When Gloria Swanson took on the part of aging thespian Norma Desmond in the 1950 film Sunset Blvd. she was privy to the now demolished Getty Mansion. This amazing manse stood in as the reclusive star’s home. Meanwhile, the legendary but now defunct drugstore Schwab’s, was cast in this movie. Griffith Park also made the cut, as did the Bel Air Country Club. So did the inimitable Paramount Studios gate and stage 18 at this famous studio where, in the movie, Samson and Deliah was being filmed. As for the car chases, there were a few that took place on the Sunset Strip and also on twisty Stone Canyon Drive.
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