Sunday, May 8, 2011

Save The Tiger (1973) - Film Locations

Save the Tiger (1973)

Jack Lemmon won his second Academy Award, his first for Best Actor, playing the role of Harry Stoner in the 1973 film, Save the Tiger. Lemmon plays a nostalgic American businessman, an owner of an apparel company, who finds comfort in his past while in his present life, the world around him seems to be falling apart. During this day in the life story, we see Lemmon's character reverting to the past by running through his mind his childhood baseball fantasies and tuning out in his car to old-fashion big band music. Meanwhile, Lemmon's present reality is that his life is less than perfect. Lemmon's business is losing money so he hires strippers for a business partner who may be able to help him out but things turn to worse when that partner has a heart attack. Lemmon makes arrangements to burn down his company's warehouse in order to collect on the insurance money. During a fashion show where his company is premiering its new line, Lemmon has war flashbacks and is incapable of giving a speech he was supposed to make.  At the end of the film, Lemmon finds himself at a Little League game and attempts to get in on the game, but one of the kids yells, "You can't play with us, Mister!" For Lemmon's character, things are not how they once were - the world is a complete mess.

This is a depressing story and one that was apparently a passion project of Lemmon's. According to Imdb, the film only had a budget of $1,000,000 so Lemmon waived his usual fee and worked for scale ($165 a week). Although the film was not a huge financial success, it did pay off for Lemmon in critical praise, which led to his first Best Actor Academy Award. Another interesting note is that this film was rehearsed for three weeks on location and then filmed in sequence. Below you will find some of these locations as they appeared in the film compared to how the same locations appear today.

The film begins with Lemmon at home and to find his home I thought I would start in Beverly Hills. There is a scene a few pictures down where Lemmon is driving his car near an intersection on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills. I spotted that location right away so I assumed that the house that they used might be close by. I walked up and down about three residential streets, screenshots in hand, trying to see if I could find any homes that matched. Finally, I found one home that did have some resemblance, but dramatically made-over. When I got home I looked up the address on Google Street View and because Google has a delay on when those street view images are updated, I got see that the house I had found did in fact have a makeover!

The first three photos below show Lemmon's house as it appears in the film, the house as it appears today when I found it, and a Google Street View image of the home being remodeled.

Lemmon's Beverly Hills home as seen in the film.

625 Arden Drive, Beverly Hills (2011)

625 Arden Dr, Beverly Hillls (c) Google

The next few locations are of Lemmon driving from his Beverly Hills home on his way to work in downtown Los Angeles. We see Lemmon pass through Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and then finally arriving downtown.

Lemmon on Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills

Looking from Sunset Blvd in Beverly Hills

This next shot below is also on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills. That wall across the street, as seen from Jack Lemmon's car, is still there, but notice how much the bushes have grown. You can barely see the house in the picture I took recently. However, if you are able to walk up to the wall you will see that the house is still there.

Sunset Blvd @ Arden Dr as seen in the film.

Sunset Blvd @ Arden Dr, Beverly Hills

Lemmon turns onto Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills.

Looking down Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills.

In the next scene Lemmon is still driving down Sunset Boulevard and he approaches Hammond Street. I don't have a picture of this location so I have a Google Street image to compare. You will notice that the site of the motel is now a vacant lot.

Sunset Blvd at Hammond St. as seen in Save the Tiger

Sunset at Hammond (c) Google

Lemmon continues driving down Sunset Boulevard and now he is in the area of West Hollywood. I was able to find this location by "driving" down Sunset Boulevard using Google street view until I recognized the building to the right of the "Instant Print" building. What stood out to me were the windows. This location is just a block up from where Schwab's Pharmacy used to stand which can be seen in the 1950 film, Sunset Boulevard.

Sunset Blvd @ Selma Ave

Sunset Blvd @ Selma Ave

Lemmon turning off of Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood

Sunset Blvd near Selma Ave

After that long drive Lemmon does make it to downtown Los Angeles where his company warehouse is located.

1110 S. Los Angeles St. as seen in Save the Tiger

1110 S. Los Angeles Street

Lemmon pulls into the parking lot at work.

Los Angeles Street at 11th Street

The next view is from the same location only looking the other direction.

Lemmon arrives at work.

Los Angeles Street, Downtown LA

In the next scenes Lemmon and business partner Jack Gilford, leave the office and catch a cab to Chinatown for lunch.

Lemmon and Gilford on 11th Street near Santee St

11th Street looking toward Santee St

11th Street looking toward Los Angeles Street

11th Street looking toward Los Angeles Street

Below, Lemmon and Gilford arrive in Chinatown for lunch. If you look closely through the smog you can see Los Angeles City Hall in the background.

On Broadway near College Street

Looking down Broadway near College Street

On Broadway, across the street from Chinatown entrance.

Looking across the street from Chinatown entrance.

Crossing Broadway to Chinatown entrance.

Broadway at Chinatown entrance.

Looking down Broadway.

Looking down Broadway.

Entrance to Chinatown.

Entrance to Chinatown.

In this next scene Jack Lemmon is supposed to give a speech at a fashion show.  You will notice on the podium it says, "The Belgrave Hotel - Los Angeles." I've never heard of a Belgrave Hotel, but because so much filming was done downtown, I took my best guess at what old downtown hotels could have been used for filming, if any, for that matter. Well, the stars were aligned and my very first guess, The Biltmore Hotel, turned out to be correct! What's interesting is that the Biltmore has a list of films that have used the hotel before and this one is missing from the list. Now they can add it.

Lemmon at the "The Belgrave Hotel"
really The Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles

Inside one of the banquet rooms at the Biltmore Hotel

Gilford & Lemmon walk down the hallway of the Biltmore.

Looking down the same hallway at the Biltmore Hotel

The Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles

The Biltmore Hotel, located at 506 S. Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, is a beautiful building on the inside filled with murals and elegant ornamentation. If I were visiting Los Angeles and I had it in the budget, I would spend my nights at the classy Biltmore over some of the trendy, modern hotels in the area. For film fans, this hotel has the added interest of being the site of some of the early Academy Award ceremonies. Inside the hotel there is a hallway filled with large black and white photos of some of Hollywood's early stars spending their time at The Biltmore.

In the following scene, Lemmon and a reluctant Gilford, go to the Mayan Theatre in downtown Los Angeles to meet a man who might be willing to commit arson on their business. At the time of the film, the theatre had been turned into an adult theatre. The darkened theatre, with the sparse attendance, was the perfect location for Lemmon and Gilford to discuss their dirty plans.

The Mayan marquee as seen in Save the Tiger

The Mayan marquee as it appears today.

Lemmon & Gilford outside the Mayan Theatre

Mayan Theatre, 1038 S. Hill Street

Maybe someone out there can help me with this last location. In the final scene of the film Lemmon stops by a park where some kids are in the middle of a baseball game. I checked out a few parks in the Beverly Hills and West Hollywood area but wasn't confident that any one of them was the correct location. Does any one know what park this may be?

Lemmon at a kids baseball game.

Your thoughts?


Silent Echoes said...

Fascinating! I still think of 70's movies as being "modern," filmed barely yesterday, when in fact they're 40 years old.

What always stands out with then and now shots are the trees and landscaping. 40 years is a long time for a tree to establish itself.

Robby Cress said...

Silent Echoes,

I know, it's hard to believe that we are 4 decades out from the 70s. However, looking at movies from the 1970s today is no different than all the cinephiles of the 1970s looking at "classic" films from the 1930s; but I agree, I still think the 70s seems much more modern.

It is stunning to see how much trees will change in 40 years! In this case, the trees along Sunset Boulevard have really matured.

Dymon Enlow said...

Awesome post! Thank you for all the hard work you put into it.

Kori said...

This post is fabulous!!!!! Thank so so much for putting this together for us. I love seeing the "before" and after pics.

I hope you're having a fantastic weekend honey! Have you heard the good news about my first novel? It's available here:

Enjoy your Sunday doll! Kori xoxo

Tom said...

Wow these are great. I think someone should put a plaque or historical marker on the side of the building; it could read that this was the location of Stoner's warehouse in the movie. Ok, well maybe not. Anyway, the park looks like one I've seen in Culver City, but I'm not sure.

Zinnia Cress said...

i loved this movie but i do think it was pretty sad. :( since i work in the industry, it was kind of cool seeing the behind the scenes stresses that can go into running a garment manufacturing company. i think this is my favorite jack lemmon performance.

good job on the locations cutie! :)

Wednesday Again said...

The park at the end of the film is Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills, the baseball diamond is no longer there. The house where Harry has his breakdown was on or near El Matador Beach, was owned by Margo Kidder and rented by Meryl Streep and John Cazale

Unknown said...

What song is playing at the end of the movie?

Unknown said...

I think the Park at the end of the movie is Roxbury Park...

Unknown said...

The park in the final scene absolutely is Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills. If you only know it from "Save the Tiger," you wouldn't recognize it today--it has been completely revamped.

Unknown said...

speaking of "Silent Echoes" that book by john bengtson is a MUST for history and film lovers, especially those in los angeles~

Unknown said...

Pat Burgos

The music under the credits is "I Can't Get Started" played by Bunny Berigan, written by Ira Greshwin and Vernon Duke.

It also plays earlier in the movie.


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