Friday, September 16, 2016

"The Prestige"

Christopher Nolan's "The Prestige" (Touchstone/Warner Bros, 2006) with Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Michael Caine is set in Edwardian London. Also in the film are Piper Perabo, Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johanssen. In this tale of  two magicians trying to top each other with the ultimate illusion we get many theatre shots. 

We see lots of the interior of the Los Angeles Theatre including this view above with theatregoers heading up the stairs in the grand lobby. The Los Angeles is used for the performance of "The Transported Man" trick done by The Great Danton" (Hugh Jackman).

A look toward the stage at the Los Angeles.

The cabinet for Jackman's "Transported Man" illusion with a fine look at the unique act curtain of the Los Angeles Theatre behind.

Another main floor view at the Los Angeles from the rear of the house.

Jackman reappearing on the edge of the 1st balcony. See our many pages on the Los Angeles Theatre for photos and a history of this movie palace.  It's a design by S. Charles Lee, opened in 1931.


Most of the exterior shots in "The Prestige" were done on the Warner Bros. backlot. One of the facades of a real theatre that we do see is the Tower Theatre, dressed up as the London Pantages. London, of course, never had a Pantages Theatre, but perhaps it should have. 

The Tower, at 802 S. Broadway, is a 1927 film house designed by S. Charles Lee. See our many Tower Theatre pages for more about the building.

A performance by "The Professor" (Christian Bale) at the London Pantages. It's actually the Palace Theatre, 630 S. Broadway. We get several scenes here. 

The Palace, a 1911 vintage two-balcony vaudeville house, still hosts legit shows, concerts and an occasional film screening. See our Palace Theatre pages for more about the theatre. 

We get several interior views of the Belasco Theatre. It's functioning as the (very cluttered) workshop for the final illusion of "The Great Danton" in the battle between the rival magicians.  Here we're on the main floor looking back at the front of the balcony. 

Another shot on the Belasco's main floor, this time giving a look at the theatre's unique ceiling. They've draped the front of the projection booth.

Michael Caine is taking a peek in from one of the balcony exits to try to figure out what Jackman is up to in his workshop.

See our pages on the Belasco Theatre for a history of this 1926 legit house as well as many photos. It's at 1050 S. Hill St., right next to the Mayan Theatre.

The website has a page on shooting locations for the film.

On IMDb: "The Prestige"

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

"The Gambler"

We get a quick backstage tour of the Palace Theatre, 630 S. Broadway, in "The Gambler" starring Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange and Brie Larson (Paramount, 2014). Near the end of the film Mark meets a couple of Korean gangsters in the south exit passageway on his way to a subterranean gambling club.

He goes for a walk across the empty stage (where someone is singing) and down the stage right stairs to the basement. A bit earlier in "The Gambler" we had a quick glimpse of the alley end of the Tower Theatre, 8th & Hill, and then a nice shot of the Warner Theatre, at 7th & Hill.

On IMDb: "The Gambler"


We see lots of the Palace Theatre building, 630 S. Broadway, in "Whiplash," a film about the music business set in New York starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons (Sony Classics, 2014) although much of it isn't recognizable. Miles goes to a film ("Rififi") at the theatre (the Palace) with his dad.

The next morning we're at a rehearsal studio (the Palace's 5th floor loft) and soon in a hallway (the Palace's basement lounge corridor) outside a classroom. Later we go back to the theatre -- the Palace lobby again. We also get a nightclub scene using the Palace ticket lobby.

On IMDb: "Whiplash"

"Jersey Boys"

We're in Jersey but a club there somehow has a lobby identical to the Belasco's in Clint Eastwood's "Jersey Boys" (Warner Bros., 2014). The film about the career of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons features Christopher Walken, here with his back to us. Also in the film are John Lloyd Young (as Frankie), Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda and Vincent Piazza.

 Another Belasco lobby view.

Christopher Walken advises the guys in another lobby shot from "Jersey Boys."

In the Belasco auditorium, set up as a nightclub.   The Belasco, at 1050 S. Hill St., is a 1926 legit house that's been converted to club use. Hit our Belasco Theatre pages for photos of the building and a history of its career.

The Palace Theatre, 615 S. Broadway,  plays some anonymous theatre on the road for the "My Boy Friend's Back" number with The Angels.

Another shot from the number filmed at the Palace. The theatre is a two-balcony vaudeville house that opened as the Orpheum in 1911. See our Palace Theatre pages for a tour.

Later in the film we're backstage at the Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway. It's doubling as the Ed Sullivan Theatre.

An onstage shot at the Orpheum from "Jersey Boys." 

 Looking into the house at the "Ed Sullivan Theatre" in New York.

A view out to the rear of the main floor.

A look down at the audience at the Orpheum. The theatre was opened in 1926 by the Orpheum circuit as a replacement for their older house (the one then renamed the Palace) down the street. See our Orpheum Theatre pages for lots of history and photos.

On IMDb: "Jersey Boys"

Monday, September 12, 2016

"This Is 40"

Paul Rudd stages a Graham Parker concert at the Belasco Theatre in Judd Apatow's "This Is 40" (Universal, 2012).

On IMDb: "This Is 40"

"Memoirs of a Geisha"

The Belasco Theatre interior is seen in "Memoirs of a Geisha" (Sony Pictures, 2005) in a dance hall scene in Kyoto. The Rob Marshall film stars Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe and Michelle Yeoh.

On IMDb: "Memoirs of a Geisha".


The Belasco Theatre is seen in "Swordfish" (Warner Bros., 2001), a counter-terrorist thriller with John Travolta Halle Berry, Don Cheadle and Hugh Jackman.

On IMDb: "Swordfish"

"Being John Malkovich"

We get a brief glimpse of the Belasco Theatre interior in "Being John Malkovich" (USA Films, 1999). The film, directed by Spike Jonze, also features a view from the stage of the Los Angeles Theatre. In addition to the eponymous actor, others featured include John Cusak, Catherine Keener and Cameron Diaz.

On IMDb: "Being John Malkovich"

Saturday, September 10, 2016

"End of Days"

"Y2K - Where Will You Be?" the banner reads. Peter Hyams' apocalyptic drama "End of Days" (Universal, 1999) with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gabriel Byrne is set in New York but we spend a lot of time in L.A. Locations. Here Gabriel Byrne is looking across a busy New York Street for a view of the Tower and Rialto Theatres. 

A glancing look at the north end panel of the Rialto marquee as Byrne strides toward the Tower. The Rialto is closed at this point with its entrance used for downmarket retail. That copy on the marquee advertising Esther Williams in "La Sirena de Millon Dolares" ("Million Dollar Mermaid," 1952) had been there since the filming of "The Mambo Kings" at the Tower in 1992. Byrne will come back to the Tower when it's dark.

The Rialto marquee has been gloriously restored. The interior, gutted long before they got there, is an Urban Outfitters. The theatre, at 812 S. Broadway, opened in 1917. See our Rialto Theatre page for photos and history of the venue.

When we enter the Tower we encounter some strange geography. Walking through a front door, we expect to see the Tower's lobby.

 But no. The lobby we see is that of the Belasco, several blocks away. The theatre is a 1926 vintage theatre designed for legit drama by Morgan, Walls & Clements. It's now used as a music club and space for special events. See our Belasco Theatre pages for many photos.

For the auditorium shots, we're back at the Tower again. This murky shot is at the rear of the auditorium. Both seats and chandelier were just there for the film. It's not clear but there seems to be a subway tunnel and all sorts of deeper labyrinths underneath.

Looking toward the stage from behind the standee rail at the rear of the main floor. That's Arnold heading into the auditorium.

Here we're looking toward the rear of the Tower's auditorium from the stage. The Tower, a 1927 S. Charles Lee design, still graces the corner of 8th & Broadway. It's used for occasional film shoots and concerts. See our many Tower Theatre pages for more than a hundred photos inside and out.

The fun begins when we go to see the Pope. Fortunately he lives just a few blocks down Broadway in, of all places, the Los Angeles Theatre. The theatre is standing in for the Vatican Palace. And doing a nice job of it. Here we have the Swiss guards in the grand lobby.

 A peek into the inner sanctum, actually the main lounge in the basement of the Los Angeles Theatre, 615 S. Broadway.  

The Pope in the basement lounge.

A later shot of a cardinal giving the Pope bad news on the landing in the grand lobby of the Los Angeles Theatre. The Vatican Palace sure has nice chandeliers, doesn't it?

The Los Angeles (like the Tower) is an S. Charles Lee design, this one opening in 1931. See our fourteen pages about the Los Angeles Theatre for over 200 photos of different areas of the building.

On IMDb: "End of Days"

Friday, September 2, 2016

"Foot Patrol"

We see all sorts of things in the 25 minute film "Foot Patrol" (Los Angeles Police Department, c.1946) including aerial views of the city, scenes of building explosions, a gas station holdup, and an officer mistaking a mannekin being stuffed in a car for an abduction. It's just everyday life for a foot patrolman.  We're told every big city has a burlesque house the patrolman needs to keep an eye on. We get shots of two, both on Main St.

The view above is of the Burbank, 548 S. Main. It had been around since 1893, with its earlier decades spent as a major legit theatre. See our page on the Burbank Theatre for more views. It survived until 1974.

The other burlesque house we visit is the Follies, at 337 S. Main. A little newer than the Burbank, it opened in 1904 as the Belasco. Like the Burbank, it was initially a class legit house but went to burlesque as the legit business moved west with the growth of downtown in that direction.

The signage on top of the marquee  with two silhouettes of girls and the word "Follies" rotates.

Here's the "Follies" lettering coming farther around.

One last one of the marquee.

A detail of a poster for our feature stripper Myrna Dean.

One of the non-major studio films playing with the stage show at the Follies this week: "Vice Trap."

Another film this week: "Girls of the Street."

A view of posters on the south side of the entrance advertising the strippers. 

See our page on the Follies Theatre for lots of history and many photos, including interior views. Like the Burbank, it too was demolished in 1974. A sad year for Main St.

The film is available for viewing on the USC Archives website.  Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor Hoss C for finding the film in the USC collection. He has other screenshots from it on his Noirish post #36464.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

"45 Minutes From Hollywood"

In the Glenn Tryon two-reeler "45 Minutes From Hollywood" (Hal Roach Studios, 1926) we get a very brief shot just west of Wilcox which gives us a look at the Iris Theatre on the right. The film, directed by Fred Guiol, revolves around a young visitor to Hollywood who, when seeing a bank robbery in progress, thinks it's a film shoot.  Also in the cast, in addition to Tryon, are Oliver Hardy and Charlotte Mineau. It's included on disc 6 of "The Lost Films of Laurel and Hardy" collection.

Thanks to Chris Bungo, silent film location expert, for the screenshot. He has it on both the Photos of Los Angeles and Vintage Los Angeles Facebook pages. Here we're on a tour bus seeing the Hollywood sights. Don't miss the video Chris did of the filming locations in his eleven minute "then and now" epic on YouTube.

The Iris is seen here with "What Fools Men" (First National, released September 1925) on the marquee. That film starred Lewis Stone and Shirley Mason.  The theatre, at 6508 Hollywood Blvd.,  opened in 1918 and was re-branded as the Fox in 1968. It's now a nightclub. See our page on the Fox Theatre for more information and photos.

On IMDb: "45 Minutes From Hollywood"

Monday, August 29, 2016

"I Saw the Light"

Hank Williams came to Hollywood in April of 1952 to talk to Dore Schary at MGM about a proposed film project. As an introduction to that scene in the biopic of the singer "I Saw the Light" (Sony Pictures Classics, 2015) we get a 15 second snippet of stock footage featuring the Chinese. The film, directed by Marc Abraham, stars Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen.

Kurt Wahlner, curator of the Grauman's Chinese history website, notes that they got the year right but the footage was actually shot a bit later. He says: "My extensive research indicates that it was taken in October or November of that year, as all the large forecourt trees were trimmed in October, 1952. This shot has the bushier palm trees, but the tree in the corner has been clipped already."

See our many pages on the Chinese Theatre for photos and history.

On IMDb: "I Saw the Light"

Friday, August 12, 2016

"Last Action Hero"

In John McTiernan's "Last Action Hero" (Columbia, 1993) young Danny Madigan (Austin O'Brien) gets a magic ticket from a friendly projectionist that propels him into another dimension of the movies. He starts on 42nd St. in New York City at the "Pandora Theatre" (actually the Empire) but when we go inside we're at the Orpheum, 842 S. Broadway, in Los Angeles.  The Pandora, as we see from the signage, is about to be demolished so it can be replaced with a new Loew's multiplex.

When they shot the 42nd St. sequences the neighborhood was already being redeveloped. The theatres were all closed and plans were in place for the "New 42nd St."  The filmmakers had to make the street grungier again and put appropriate film titles on the various marquees.

Danny's a big fan of fan of Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his ticket allows him to enter Jack's world where the heroes always win. The film is surprisingly funny and what's not to like?  It's all about the joy of going to the movies in run-down old theatres.

Inside the Orpheum with a creature coming down the aisle. It's death. He's escaped off the screen from a nearby theatre's screening of "The Seventh Seal."

Strange things are happening in the theatre after the screen goes blank. 

Spectral phenomena in a view of the top of the Orpheum's proscenium.

Our young hero alone in the theatre.

The set built for the booth scenes. Definitely not the Orpheum booth. We're still running 2,000 foot reels yet we have an automation system installed. Looks like our Magnarcs have been converted to Xenon.

Another look at the booth set. Exactly the improvised situation you would hope to see going up to the top of an old legit house that had no booth originally.

We're supposedly in New York City in this sequence (as in the whole movie). Yet Arnold and his young friend are in a rainy night traffic jam chasing the bad guy (Charles Dance) on 8th St. in front of L.A.'s Olympic Theatre. See our pages on the Olympic for more about the 1927 vintage theatre, now used for retail.

A lobby scene shot at the Orpheum.

A look back toward the booth. Don't you love that 2x5 multicell horn?

A wider shot up to the booth.

A look at the rear of the main floor. The filmmakers took pains to make the Orpheum look much more rundown than it was at the time.

All is well at the end of the film as our heroes, young and old, race up an aisle of the Orpheum. Head over to our Orpheum Theatre pages for information about the building, a 1926 design of San Francisco based G. Albert Lansburgh.

When we go to the premiere of the film "Jack Slater IV" we're at the National Twin in Times Square.  Leo the Fart's funeral sequence was filmed at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach.

The site Movie-Locations has a page on filming locations. On the Set of New York also has a page which has images of several New York locations.  The blog MediaTwin has a great post about the film's recreation of the 42nd St. grindhouse era. The website Silver Screens also has a page about the film which has good coverage of all the theatres on 42nd St. that we see in the film.  

On IMDb: "Last Action Hero"