Saturday, May 30, 2009

Strangers When We Meet: Film Locations

So far most of my film location posts have involved places in Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles. Well, this time I decided to track down some of the film locations for the Kirk Douglas and Kim Novak film, Strangers When We Meet (1961), which took me to some new areas of Los Angeles: Brentwood, Malibu, and Beverly Hills.

Most of the locations below I know for certain are the correct locations. There are a couple that I may be off on but based on some landmarks I think I may be right on these as well.

100 N. Kenter Avenue, Los Angeles

The film starts at a bus stop located at 100 N. Kenter Avenue in the Brentwood neighborhood of LA. It's here that Kirk Douglas and Kim Novak's characters first meet and begin their affair. This is a primary location in the film that appears throughout the story.
The trees have grown up quite a bit since the film was shot in the early 1960s but otherwise the location looks almost the same.

100 N. Kenter Avenue, Brentwood

Looking Northwest at the bus stop location as seen in the film.

Looking Northwest at the bus stop location present.

Kirk Douglas dropping his son off at the bus stop at Kenter Avenue.

Present view of where Kirk Douglas drops son off at bus stop.

Kim Novak standing at bus stop.

Present view of bus stop location.

Kirk Douglas and Kim Novak are seen here leaving the bus stop. That's Sunset Boulevard in the background. Below is the same view today.

Kenter Avenue at Sunset Boulevard

Kim Novak & Kirk Douglas, Tigertail Rd in background.

View looking up Tigertail Road today.
The next location below was a little difficult to figure out. In the film the location is known as the Village Market, a red country barn themed grocery store. It's here that Walter Matthau's character works as a butcher. However, today the country barn look is long gone.

11725 Barrington Ct, Los Angeles, CA

11725 Barrington Ct, Los Angele, CA (Present)

To figure out this location the only thing I could match was the white pillars next to the stairs in the center of the photo. If you look in the below photo you can see the same white pillars and the stairs going up the building. If it wasn't for that detail I don't think I would have ever found this location!

Brentwood Village Market

Kim Novak getting into her car outside the Nosh Box.

All the shops that were at this little strip mall when Strangers When We Meet was being filmed are all gone. The above photo I believe is the same shot as the one where Kim Novak is seen getting into her car.

Kirk Douglas at Service Station @ Brentwood Village Market

Another location I'm not sure about is the scene where Kirk Douglas is walking through the round overhang of the service station. In the photo below is what I'm guessing to be the same location as it appears today. In the film Douglas is walking from the service station towards Kim Novak getting into her car. If the service station was next to the strip mall then the below location would have to be where the service station was.

Possibly the service station location.

Barrington Ct, Brentwood, CA

The above photo is another shot of Kirk Douglas near the Brentwood Village Market. In the background you can see a Chevron service station. This location was easy to locate because if you look at the below photo you can see that the Chevron station almost looks exactly the same.

Chevron Station, Barrington Ct, Brentwood, CA

Romanoff's Restaurant, 140 S. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
The famous Romanoff restuarant can be seen in Strangers When We Meet. Above is a screenshot featuring the restaurant. Romanoff's opened in 1941 at the location 326 N. Rodeo Drive. It became an instant hit with Hollywood stars. The restaurant was one of Humphrey Bogart's main hangouts. In 1951 the restaurant moved to 140 S. Rodeo Drive and it's this location that appears in Strangers When We Meet.

140 S. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills

Unfortunately, Romanoff's is no longer. The building has been torn down and today an office building stands on the site.

Albatross Hotel Restaurant site. 21202 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
Kirk Douglas and Kim Novak carry on their affair at the Albatross Hotel Restaurant. Back in the 1950s and 1960s business was good for the Albatross. Eventually, the business faded away and so to the building itself. The Albatross was torn down and today it is the empty lot you see above.

Kim Novak, leaving the Albatross Hotel Restaurant

Present day view of where Kim Novak is seen leaving the Albatross Hotel Restaurant

Kim Novak on PCH near Albatross Hotel

If you look at the above screenshot of Kim Novak driving down the Pacific Coast Highway you can see a sign to the right that says the Sea Lion. The Sea Lion restaurant no longer exists but their is a new restaurant at this location called Dukes. In the photo below you can see the sign for Dukes where the sign for Sea Lion used to stand.

21202 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
Now, you all were probably hoping to see photos of that house that Kirk Douglas's character is building for Ernie Kovacs's character - the one located high atop the hills in Brentwood. Well, I searched and searched for that home but could not find it. However, in the process I found Conan O'Brien's new west coast home. But, if anyone does know where the house is located please share in the comments section. I thought it might be on Tigertail Road which is near the bus stop sight.
Special thanks to Zinnia for coming with and her help on this film location hunt!

*UPDATE* (07/12/09)

Many thanks to Dr. Bitz for these photos below which show the Kim Novak house as it appears today compared to the screenshots of the house in the film:

Kim Novak house as it appears in the film. 512 Tigertail Rd.

Kim Novak house as it appears today.

Kim Novak leaving her house as seen in the film.

Kim Novak's neighbor's house as it appears today.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Ladies Man

Jerry Lewis
This weekend I was watching the Jerry Lewis film, The Ladies Man, and I immediately recognized the scene where Lewis's character is having a graduation ceremony as being the "Producers Park" at Paramount Studios. Producers Park is an area of the Paramount lot located right behind the main Administration building - it's that building to the left of the famous Bronson gate which can be seen in numerous films (such as Sunset Boulevard) and photos. Although the buildings in Producers Park are mainly office buildings it is not uncommon for them to be used for filming purposes.

The Ladies Man (C) Paramount
Above you can see Producers Park standing in for Milltown Junior College in the 1961 film The Ladies Man and below you can see a photo of the same location that I took just a few years ago. Another piece of trivia, that building on the right is film producer/actor Robert Evans office.

Producers Park at Paramount Studios c. 2006
One thing that you will notice that is different between the Then and Now is the sidewalk. During the time of the film the sidewalk is long and straight. Today the sidewalk is skinny and curves. At one point, I believe it was the 1950s, the grass was paved over to create a parking lot, but was eventually turned back into a grassy park. Otherwise, this area has remained mostly unchanged.

Jerry Lewis in The Ladies Man (C) Paramount
Here is a video clip of the above graduation scene from The Ladies Man:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hurry Now! Sherman Brothers Documentary in Theaters for Short Time Only

Robert & Richard Sherman with Walt Disney
Do the names Robert and Richard Sherman sound familiar? Well, how about the songs Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, The Bare Necessities, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, or the theme park song It's a Small World? These are just a few of the many, many classic songs written by the songwriting team the Sherman Brothers. Known for their catchy, happy, optimistic, upbeat tunes, many will be surprised to learn that these two brothers were anything but happy and upbeat towards one another.
The new documentary, The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story, out now in theaters for a very limited release, tells the story of their professional success making harmonious music despite their discordant relationship.
During the Sherman Brothers long successful careers working together as partners, the two rarely spoke to each other and didn't allow their families to intermingle. Jeff and Gregory Sherman, the sons of Robert and Richard, decided to make the film about their dads after running into each other at an event honoring their fathers.
Despite growing up just a few blocks from each other in Beverly Hills, the two cousins did not get to know each other until their 40s. After exchanging stories, Jeff and Gregory realized what each of their dads had told them about the family was very different.
In the film, Jeff and Gregory interview their dads and get each of them to tell their side of the story. Mixed in are also interviews with Disney legends such as Roy E. Disney, Dick Van Dyke, and Julie Andrews, film historians Robert Osborne and Leonard Maltin, and many other famous individuals who were close to "The Boys."
The documentary is a wonderful film about two amazingly creative men. However, unlike many of the Disney films that Sherman Brothers have written songs for, this film doesn't have a happy Disney ending.
El Capitan Theater, Hollywood, CA
I saw the film at the beautiful El Capitan Theater in Hollywood which is one of the few theaters showing The Boys. Currently, the film is only playing in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. If you live in one of those cities check your local listings for showtimes and then go see this film right away! It probably won't be playing for long.

Rob Richards playing the Wurlitzer at El Capitan Theater
If you are able to see the documentary at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood you get the added bonus of seeing organist Rob Richards playing the Wurlitzer organ before the show. This is certainly something to be heard if you haven't. Typically, Richards plays tunes that relate to the evenings program, in this case he played several songs by the Sherman Brothers.

Jeff Sherman and Robby Cress
After the screening my fiance noticed that Jeff and Gregory Sherman were sitting behind us with their families. I had a moment to thank each of them for making such a fascinating documentary about their dads - something I was hoping would be made by someone. Above is a photo of myself with Jeff, who was kind enough to chat with my fiance and I afterwards.
Again, stop what you are doing and go see if this film is playing near you!
Here's the trailer:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Double Indemnity: Film Locations

Double Indemnity (1944)
If you look at any lists of best film noirs you are likely to find that many people place Double Indemnity (1944) at the top. It's easy to see why. Billy Wilder's classic is dark, steamy and thrilling from beginning to end. Fred MacMurray, cast against type, gives a perfect performance as the insurance salesman who turns into a scheming killer. And not to be outdone, Barbara Stanwyck is one of the most seductive femme fatales to appear on screen. For me, an added point of interest is that so many of the scenes were shot on location around Los Angeles. Here are some of those dark and gritty locations as seen in the film and how they appear today.

In the opening scene we see MacMurray racing through downtown Los Angeles on the way to his office building. In the first shot MacMurray drives down Fifth Street, passing the Biltmore Hotel and then crossing Olive Street. In the comparison below, you will notice that the Biltmore Hotel is still standing on the left side of the image. On the right side of the image all of the buildings have been replaced by modern glass buildings.

MacMurray races down 5th Street near Olive St.

5th Street at Olive Street. Biltmore Hotel on left.

In the next shot we see MacMurray's car whiz down Olive Street coming towards Fifth Street. One of the buildings we see is the Philharmonic Auditorium built in 1906. In 1938 the facade of the building was remodeled and given a more streamlined look. The building has since been demolished.

MacMurray drives down Olive St. towards 5th St.
The Philharmonic Auditorium building is in the background.

Olive at 5th Street in 1984. The Philharmonic Auditorium is still standing.
Photo from USC Digital Archive, (c)2004, California Historical Society

Contemporary view of Olive at 5th Streets. The Philharmonic Auditorium is now demolished. In the background is the Subway Terminal Building.

Dietrichson House, 6301 Quebec Drive, Hollywood Hills
Above is a scene of Fred MacMurray leaving the Dietrichson house where Barbara Stanwyck's character lives. Below is the same house today.

Dietrichson House - 6301 Quebec Drive, Hollywood Hills

Dietrichson House

Dietrichson House
Getting to the Dietrichson house can be a little tricky. To get to this home located near the top of the Hollywood Hills you must drive up a series of very narrow and winding streets. Some are one way only because the streets are so narrow. Once you get to the top you will have a beautiful view. Below is a screenshot of the view from the Hollywood Hills and a picture of the view today.

View from Hollywood Hills

View from Hollywood Hills

Fred MacMurray's Apartment, 1825 N. Kingsley Drive

Fred MacMurray's Apartment, 1825 N. Kingsley Drive, Hollywood

Fred MacMurray's Apartment

Newman Drug Store
Above is a screenshot of the Newman Drug Store. The building is still standing but the Newman Drug Store is long gone. When I rewatched this film I recognized the drug store from the book, The Story of Hollywood, which shows many Hollywood buildings as they used to be, as well as many buildings that no longer exist. This building is located at the Southwest corner of Hollywood Blvd and Western Avenue.

Hollywood Blvd and Western Ave.

Hollywood Blvd and Western Ave
One of the main points of action in the film takes place at the Glendale Station located at 400 W. Cerritos Ave, Glendale, CA. Below is the shot of the station in the film and how it appears today. It's here where MacMurray's and Stanwyck's characters dump the body of Mr. Dietrichson.

Glendale Station, 400 W. Cerritos Ave, Glendale, CA

Glendale Station, 400 W. Cerritos Ave, Glendale, CA

August 7, 2013 - CORRECTION! - The Train Station is NOT the Glendale Station but the Burbank Station (now demolished). Click here to see another image of the Burbank Station before it was destroyed.

Thanks John for the clarification!

During the movie, Lola Dietrichson (Jean Heather) and MacMurray visit the famous Hollywood Bowl located at 2301 North Highland Avenue. Like in so many other movies, Heather and MacMurray don't go through the entrance, but instead climb up the back hill and watch from the top.
Heather and MacMurray at the Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl as it appears today.

If you're looking to track down these locations yourself I recommend starting in downtown Los Angeles early in the morning before traffic gets too bad and then working back towards Hollywood.


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