Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Throw Momma from the Train"

Owen (Danny DeVito) goes to the movies at the Vista Theatre about twenty minutes into "Throw Momma from the Train" (Orion Pictures, 1987). The plot has to do with Owen wanting his mother bumped off and he's trying to talk his former teacher Larry (Billy Crystal) into doing it. In return he offers to kill Larry's ex-wife.

Yes, unlike Hitchcock's version, this is a comedy. DeVito directed a cast that also includes Oprah Winfrey, Rob Reiner, Kate Mulgrew and Branford Marsalis. Thanks to Chas Demster for the screenshot -- he's got it on his page about shooting locations for the film on the blog Filming Locations of Chicago and Los Angeles.

See the Los Angeles Theatres page on the Vista Theatre for photos inside and out. It opened in 1923 and is still going strong as a single screen first run venue.

On IMDb: "Throw Momma From the Train"

Saturday, January 28, 2017

"Luke's Movie Muddle"

The Harold Lloyd film "Luke's Movie Muddle" (Rolin Films, 1916) was shot at the Hollywood Theatre, 6764 Hollywood Blvd. Well, at least the exteriors. Here Lloyd is fighting with a policeman about how far out on the sidewalk he can place his Pathe sign. The sidewalk tile says "Hollywood Theatre."

In the seven minute film Lloyd plays a theatre owner who also has to usher and run the boxoffice as well as putting up with a sleepy projectionist. Also featured are Bebe Daniels and Snub Pollard. Hal Roach directed.  Here Lloyd, in the middle, is showing a patron to a seat after first selling the ticket and then rushing to the door to tear it.

He later gets more violent -- not ushering but rather throwing and shoving his patrons into their seats. Presumably all the interiors were done at Hal Roach Studios. It's a small room and the seats are just folding chairs.

A look at the murals on the side wall of the room. At the rear there's a ladder up to the booth. He has several fights with the projectionist.

Back in the boxoffice at the Hollywood again -- between fights with the patrons and staff. Thanks to Jonathan Raines for spotting the film as featuring the Hollywood.

Silent film detective John Bengtson has the Hollywood as #19 on his "Hollywood's Silent Echos: A Tour of Silent-era Hollywood Film Locations." It's a pdf attached to the Silent Locations blog. It was assembled as a bonus following a talk he gave at the 2013 TCM Festival. He's the author of "Silent Visions: Discovering Early Hollywood and New York through the Films of Harold Lloyd" as well as several other books about early film.

The film is available on YouTube in several versions from Change Before Going, CBGP Silents and Padamson, the latter one including the opening title cards.

See the page about the Hollywood Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for more about the 1913 vintage building.

On IMDb: "Luke's Movie Muddle"

Friday, January 27, 2017

"Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"

The El Rey on Wilshire Blvd. appears as the site of a film premiere in "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" (Dimension/Miramax, 2001). Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith aren't happy -- the film they see, "Bluntman and Chronic," is based on their lives and they're not getting compensated.

Thanks to Joe Pinney for the tip on this one. The screenshot comes from the page about the film's shooting locations on the site Filming.90210locations.

See our El Rey Theatre page for more on this 1937 vintage theatre, now in use as a concert venue.

On IMDb: "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"

Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!"

The Warner Grand in San Pedro stands in for the local theatre in Fraziers Bottom, West Virginia in "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!" (Dreamworks, 2004). Robert Luketic's film features Kate Bosworth as Rosalee Futch, a small town clerk who wins a date with film star Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel). Also featured are Topher Grace as a spurned boyfriend and Nathan Lane and Sean Hayes as Tad's agent and manager -- both named Richard Levy.

The theatre shows up in the film three times. Here at the beginning of the film Rosalee and her friends are watching Tad Hamilton's latest film. For the film we've added a simulation of a main floor projection booth. Thanks to Lindsay for the screenshot. It's on the Warner Grand page of her blog I Am Not a Stalker

In the middle of the film Rosalee and Tad Head to the theatre for their second date. Thanks to Chas Demster for this screenshot he includes in the post about the film's shooting locations on his blog Filming Locations of Chicago and New York

In the middle of the film Tad and Rosalee go to the Warner for their second date. This lobby shot features a cutout of Tad. The screenshot is from Lindsay's Warner Grand page, where you'll find more views of the Warner as seen in the film. Thanks, Lindsay!

Lindsay tells us the third time for the theatre isn't actually in the film. It's in an alternate ending that appears on the DVD. Rosalee goes with her father and several others to the theatre to see Tad's latest, "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," all about his relationship with Rosalee.

See our pages on the Warner Grand for many photos of all areas of this 1930 vintage art deco gem.

On IMDb: "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!"

"Live By Night"

The second half of Ben Affleck's "Live By Night" (Warner Bros., 2016) is set down south. The south end of Los Angeles for some scenes anyway. Here we're filming a scene in front of the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro. Thanks to Larry Diaz for his January 2016 photo. His set of five photos appeared on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.

Another view of the "Live By Night" filming from Larry Diaz. It's a prohibition era saga of bootleggers getting away from trouble in Boston and heading to Florida and encountering new obstacles to their business success. The film stars Mr. Affleck along with Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Saldana and Sienna Miller.

To see the Warner in the film you have to wait until the last five minutes. Ben has left the rackets and his wife (Zoe Saldana) is killed by bullets from a crazed ex-sheriff (Chris Cooper). He's left with his young kid. So every Saturday they go to the movies.

Buying a ticket at the Warner for himself and his kid.

Watching the newsreels of Hitler and his troops.

A look back toward the crowd.  Not the first film shot at the Warner to put a fake projection booth at the rear of the main floor. Ben muses to the kid that despite the newsreels he doesn't think there will be another war. But, in a little goof a commentator on IMDb noticed, the date on the feature they see is 1941. In a surprise for Ben's character it turns out that the screenwriter for the film they're to see is his brother who had left for Hollywood years earlier.

See our pages on the Warner Grand Theatre for many photos of the theatre, a 1931 building designed by Seattle architect B. Marcus Priteca that's still going strong as a live performance venue.

On IMDb: "Live By Night"

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"A Night at Earl Carroll's"

We get to spend lots of time inside the Earl Carroll Theatre -- and get to see Mr. Carroll himself -- in the lighthearted romp "A Night at Earl Carroll's" (Paramount, 1940).  The famous neon sculpture on the theatre's facade of Beryl Wallace, Mr. Carroll's wife, is used for the opening credits.

Another shot from the credit sequence. The plot is slim -- about a mobster trying to embarrass the mayor and show him who's more powerful. The mobster (Steve Kalkus) engineers a kidnapping of Mr. Carroll and the lead performers so there won't be a show and the mayor will be shown up in front of all his guests.

Kurt Neumann, the film's director, gets a great credit card. Stars include Ken Murray, Rose Hobart, J. Carrol Naish, Lela Moore and Forbes Murray. And, of course, Earl Carroll.

The great stage was used for dancing before the shows. Down in front there's sort of a private box on the left of the stairs -- in the film the mayor and his party are there. On the right of the stairs is the orchestra -- on a lift that we see used in the film.

Barney Nelson (Ken Murray) and Rose Hobart (Ramona Lisa) try to figure out how to thwart the mobster's plans -- and put on a show without Carroll and all the principal performers. Lots of delays while they figure out what to do.

And a show we get -- and it's a treat to see the wonders of the stage all demonstrated. The stage featured a 60' revolve with separately operated inner and outer sections. There was also a water curtain, the orchestra pit lift, a small circular lift downstage center for a soloist, and a revolving tower of four pianos stage right.  We even spend some time backstage.  A low-res version of the film is on Vimeo.

The theatre, at 6230 Sunset Blvd., still retains many of its original deco features, especially in the lobby. See the Earl Carroll Theatre page on the Los Angeles Theatres website for more about the building, now a television production facility.

On IMDb: "A Night at Earl Carroll's"

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"Frost / Nixon"

In the middle of preparation for his encounter with Richard Nixon in San Clemente, David Frost takes an evening off to go to the Cinerama Dome for the west coast premiere of the film "The Slipper and the Rose" (Universal, 1976) starring Richard Chamberlain, Gemma Craven, Annette Crosbie and Edith Evans. Frost was a producer of the film. The event at the Dome was March 24, 1977.

The scene is recreated in Ron Howard's film "Frost/Nixon" (Universal, 2009) starring Frank Langella as Nixon and Michael Sheen as Frost.  Here we've panned down from the signage to get an entrance view. 

A closer look at the crowd. With Frost is his girlfriend Caroline (Rebecca Hall). Thanks to Jonathan Raines for remembering that the Dome makes an appearance in the film. For more about the theatre see the Cinerama Dome page on the Los Angeles Theatres website.

On IMDb: "The Slipper and the Rose"  "Frost/Nixon"

Monday, January 23, 2017


"Ransom!" with Glenn Ford and Donna Reed  (MGM, 1956) has a scene in front of the Fox Westwood Village. Here, director Alex Segal,  squatting down on the left, surveys the action prior to filming.

The photo is one of many rare views from the Arcadia Publishing book "Location Filming in Los Angeles" by Karie Bible, Marc Wanamaker and Michael Medved.  It's available on Amazon.  There's also a preview to browse on Google Books.

Thanks to Jonathan Raines for spotting this one. See our page on the Fox Westwood Village for more about the theatre, since 1931 a major first run house and now operated by Regency Theatres.

On IMDb: "Ransom!"

Sunday, January 22, 2017

"Beauty and the Bus"

Lots of Westwood locations were used for the two reel short "Beauty and the Bus" (Hal Roach Studios, 1933).  The film, directed by Gus Meins, is about two girls who win a 1933 Chrysler Roadster as a prize in a raffle. Featured are Thelma Todd, Patsy Kelly and Don Barclay.

Here we're in front of the Fox Westwood Village. The photo appears in the terrific Arcadia Publishing book "Location Filming in Los Angeles" by Karie Bible, Marc Wanamaker and Michael Medved.  It's available on Amazon.

The authors note that the filmmakers were able to stage crashes and all sorts of other mayhem in the streets of Westwood Village as they were relatively empty at the time of the filming as development there was just beginning.

Thanks to Jonathan Raines for spotting this one. See our page on the Fox Westwood Village for more about the theatre, still a major first run house and now operated by Regency Theatres.

On IMDb: "Beauty and the Bus"

Saturday, January 21, 2017

"The Crooked Web"

A shot of filming happening at the Vista Theatre, 4473 Sunset Dr., for "The Crooked Web" (Columbia, 1955).  Thanks to Ken McIntyre on Photos of Los Angeles for finding the photo. It appears in the Arcadia Publishing book "Location Filming in Los Angeles" by Karie Bible, Marc Wanamaker and Michael Medved.  It's available on Amazon.

There's a nice page discussing the film's Los Angeles locations on the site DVD Talk where Stuart Galbraith calls it a "crackling little B-movie...indicative of the modest but lively movies Columbia Picture's second features unit, Clover Productions, was capable of during the 1950s."

The DVD Talk article mentions that one of our characters is named Stan and is given the occupation of restaurant owner so the production could take advantage of signage of Stan's Drive-In in the background for a shot done near the Vista where Hillhurst, Hollywood Blvd. and Sunset meet.

A look at the Vista Theatre from inside Stan's Drive-In. 

Another Vista view from "The Crooked Web."

 The Vista in another shot at Stan's Drive-In.

Thanks to Jonathan Raines for the screenshots and for finding the article on DVD Talk. He also directs your attention to a nice Martin Turnbull blog post about the chain of Stan's Drive-Ins.

 See the page about the Vista Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site for more about the venue, now nicely restored and going strong as a first run house.

On IMdB: "The Crooked Web"

Friday, January 20, 2017

"Oh, God! Book II"

Eleven year old Louanne (Tracy Richards) goes to the movies at the Century Plaza Theatres in the Gilbert Cates film "Oh, God! Book II" (Warner Bros., 1980). The film stars George Burns, Suzanne Pleshette and David Birney.

A look toward the Avenue of the Stars.

The complex as seen from across the pond in the film. "Evita" is at the Shubert.

Thanks to Jonathan Raines for spotting this one -- and sending along the screenshots. For more about the Century Plaza Theatres and the nearby Shubert Theatre see the Los Angeles Theatres page on the ABC Entertainment Center. The whole complex was demolished in 2002.

On IMDb: "Oh, God! Book II"

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Body Fever"

We get a peek at the marquee of the Gordon Theatre, 614 N. La Brea Ave., in Ray Dennis Steckler's "Body Fever" (1969).  The film has also been known as "Supercool," "Deadlocked" and "The Last Original B Movie." It features Carolyn Brandt,  Bernard Fein and Gary Kent in a noirish tale about a low-rent private detective trying to catch a robber who dresses like Catwoman.

A look south under the Gordon's marquee. Thanks to Eitan Alexander for spotting the theatre in the film and sending along the screenshots. The Gordon was later known as the Showcase after a Cineplex Odeon remodel. See the Los Angeles Theatres page on the Showcase Theatre for photos and history.

On IMDb: "Body Fever"

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"Words and Music"

There's a scene in Norman Taurog's "Words and Music" (MGM, 1948) when Lorenz Hart (Mickey Rooney) has come to Hollywood and a real estate agent points out Grauman's Chinese while giving a tour of the area. The film about the songwriting team of Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart also stars Tom Drake and June Allyson.

Thanks to Marlaine Wilson Hysell for spotting the theatre in the movie. See the Grauman's Chinese pages for a history of the 1927 theatre as well as hundreds of photos.

On IMDb: "Words and Music"

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


The auditorium of the Music Box, 6126 Hollywood Blvd., is used for a club (presumably in the south of France) in "Nina" (RLJ Entertainment, 2016).  The exterior shot is of a European looking street with a nice neon sign that says "Caveau de la Huchette." But as soon as you go inside and get a look at the wall murals you know it's the Music Box.

The Nina Simone biopic, directed by Cynthia Mort, stars Zoe Saldana as Nina and David Oyelolo as Clifton, the nurse who becomes her friend and manager. Filmed in Los Angeles, a lot of it is set in France courtesy of some lovely stock footage.

Interestingly, that "Caveau de la Huchette" shot also turns up in "La La Land" during Emma's dream montage near the end of the film. There it's used as the exterior of a Parisian jazz club. 

It's interesting that for this scene we're not set up onstage but over on house right just in front of the balcony overhang. Here we've pulled back a bit and you get to see the front of the balcony with its Spanish revival style trim. On the right is an exit out to the foyer behind the auditorium.

A look out into the audience at our South-of-France club. The Music Box's proscenium is over on the right.  Note part of the house sound system piled up over there -- a strange location for where the musicians are in the film.  We've seen a similar blue curtain earlier in the film for a scene set in a club in Chicago. Perhaps that Chicago scene was also done at the Music Box.

Clifton (David Oyelolo) observing the performance from across the house.

The theatre's rooftop pavilion is seen in the final scene of the film just as the credits roll. It's a club space that's unidentified in the film. We're looking west -- the glass doors on the left wall open out onto the theatre's rooftop patio. The wall on the right once was open to Hollywood Blvd. back in the days before the facade got covered over with steel cladding.

 See our page on the Music Box/Fonda Theatre for a history of the building and many photos.

On IMDb: "Nina"

Sunday, January 8, 2017

"Messiah of Evil"

The Fox Venice Theatre is seen in "Messiah of Evil" (International Cine Film Corporation, 1973). The film, also known as "Dead People," was directed by Willard Huyck and stars Michael Greer and Marianna Hill. It's about a mysterious cult in a strange California seaside town.

The word on the Fox Venice comes from Jonathan Andrews via a comment to a comment on a Vintage Los Angeles Facebook thread about various filming locations in Los Angeles.

See our page on the Fox Venice Theatre for more about the building, now used for retail. It's at 620 Lincoln Blvd in Venice.

On IMDb: "Messiah of Evil"

Saturday, January 7, 2017

"Hail, Caesar!"

Hollywood star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) gets kidnapped by a group of Communist-inclined writers in the Coen Brothers Hollywood epic "Hail, Caesar!" (Universal, 2016). On the way to their beachfront lair, the panel truck containing Whitlock heads south on Wilcox past the side of the Warner Hollywood Theatre.

The Warner, at 6433 Hollywood Blvd., has in recent years been boarded up as the owners consider redevelopment possibilities. See the Warner Hollywood sections on the LA Theatres website for more on the building, a 1928 G. Albert Lansburgh design.

We head to the Los Angeles Theatre, 615 S. Broadway, for a premiere of "Lazy Ol' Moon," the Capitol Pictures western in the film starring Hobie Doyle (Alden Eherenreich). No exterior views -- we start with a look at a display case and then get this view toward the stairs.

Another view of the Los Angeles Theatre lobby as we pull back a bit.  

The titles on the screen. The film is set in 1951 -- which we also get as the copyright date on this title card.  In 1951 this or any other film would have been shown in a 1.37 to 1 ratio, not cropped to the widescreen format we see here.

A look back into the house. Hobie is there with his studio arranged date Carlotta Valdez (Veronica Osorio), a star in the Carmen Miranda mold.

The film's opening scene on the screen at the Los Angeles.

Another shot at the Los Angeles -- but one that doesn't appear in the film. This view is from the trailer and shows footage from another Capitol Pictures feature "Merrily We Dance" that we see in the film being directed by Lawrence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes). Thanks to Wendell Benedetti for the screenshot, appearing on the LAHTF Facebook page with lots of comments.

Head to our pages on the Los Angeles Theatre for a history of the building along with hundreds of photos of different areas.

Carlotta and Hobie go out for dinner after the film with the Hollywood Palladium used as a location. The bandstand we see was built for the film at the opposite end of the space from the building's real stage.

Filming the scene at the Palladium,6215 Sunset Blvd. It's a screenshot from one of the making-of featurettes that accompanies the DVD of the film. The Palladium section on the LA Theatres website has more several interior views of the building.

Exiting the Monte Carlo nightclub we see the Music Box/Fonda Theatre, 6126 Hollywood Blvd., used for the exterior. Thanks to Jonathan Raines for doing some research on this one. 

Another shot a little wider. See our Music Box Theatre page for more on this venue, one that started as a legit house in 1926.  The architecture we see in the film obviously doesn't date from 1926 -- it's from a 40s or early 50s Fox West Coast remodel when it was a film house.

The fine L.A. Weekly story "Your Complete Guide to the L.A. Filming Locations of 'Hail, Caesar!'" notes that when we look across the street from the Music Box, what we see is the Chapman Plaza building in Koreatown at 3465 W. 6th St.

The film also features Josh Brolin as studio head Eddie Mannix, Scarlett Johansson as an Esther Williams style aquatic star, Tilda Swinton as twin gossip columnists, and many others. 

On IMDb: "Hail, Caesar!"