Thursday, March 31, 2016

"The Aviator"

In "The Aviator" (Warner Bros., 2004) Martin Scorsese's lovely swoop up Hollywood Blvd. uses some colorized versions of Howard Hughes' original promotional footage of the premiere of "Hell's Angels" at Grauman's Chinese but the final shot with planes flying overhead was done with a 40' long miniature set and lots of digital magic.

The film gives us the real theatre for some scenes in the auditorium, passing through the lobby, and at the entrance doors. Most of the forecourt shots were done using a set. 

An establishing shot. 

A wonderful look east on Hollywood Blvd.

A closer look into the forecourt -- a studio set.

A look back at the audience after the "Hell's Angels" premiere in "The Aviator." Note that the production designer has added a strange single-machine projection booth at the head of the center aisle.  Yes, we really are in the Chinese here.

In 1930, the booth was upstairs. It was moved down to the main floor in 1958 for three-strip Cinemiracle projection and stayed there until the 2001 restoration.

Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his associate John C. Reilly leaving the Chinese auditorium in "The Aviator." The color palate in this portion of the film is an homage to the look of early two-color Technicolor (red and blue-green).

See the wonderful history of Technicolor on Martin Hart's Widescreen Museum site.

A scene shot in the lobby of the Chinese. 

At the entrance doors of the Chinese.  Check out the pages on the LA Theatres website about Grauman's Chinese for a history of the building along with hundreds of photos.

Later in the film we get scenes outside Hollywood's Pantages Theatre with Howard Hughes and Katherine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett) coming to a premiere of "Little Women" (1933).  

We also get several views of the lobby in "The Aviator."  In addition, there's lots of compulsive hand washing in the men's room. 
Another lobby shot as Hughes and Hepburn head up the stairs. He'd be back. Hughes would later acquire the theatre for RKO in 1949. See the sections on the Pantages Theatre on the LA Theatres website for hundreds of photos of the building. 

On IMDb: "The Aviator"

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