Saturday, April 7, 2012

Gun Crazy (1950) - Film Locations

Those attending the 2012 TCM Film Festival this coming weekend will have to make a difficult choice in which film to see during the early evening screenings on Saturday. The obvious choice is the 60th Anniversary World Premiere Restoration of Singin' in the Rain which will be shown in the historic Grauman's Chinese Theater and will include discussions with Debbie Reynolds and Patricia Kelly. I mean, what an opportunity to see one of cinema's most noteworthy musicals in such a spectacular environment with one of the original cast members in attendance! But, at around the same time another great screening will be taking place down the street at the Egyptian Theatre. Gun Crazy may not be as iconic as Singin' in the Rain, but it is a landmark film noir worth adding to the "must see" list. The cinematography in Gun Crazy is marvelous and should look stunning on the large Egyptian Theater screen. And like the Singin in the Rain screening, Gun Crazy will also feature a discussion with one of the stars: Peggy Cummins.

Gun Crazy is a Bonnie and Clyde type of story about a sharp shooter husband who gets pushed into going on a crime spree by his trigger happy wife. The couple then find themselves in over their heads and must go on the lam. Although in the story the action takes place across several states, filming was done in California. One of the filming locations (see the newsstand below) is even walking distance from the Egyptian Theater where the Gun Crazy screening is taking place. Here are some of the key filming locations for Gun Crazy.

One of the great scenes in the film is a robbery that takes place in the fictional town of "Hampton," the real town being Montrose, California. The scene shows Annie (Peggy Cummins) and Bart (John Dall) driving into town, parking next to the bank, pulling the heist and then driving away all in one long continuous shot. We see the couple drive down Verdugo Road, make a right onto Broadview Drive, another right onto Market Street and then a left onto Honolulu Avenue, finally parking at the corner of Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard.

Cummins and Dall drive down Broadview Dr
towards Market Street.

Looking down Broadview Dr towards Market St.

Cummins and Dall turn right onto Market Street.

Looking up Market St. towards Honolulu Avenue.

Cummins and Dall about to turn left onto Honolulu Ave.

Market Street facing Honolulu Avenue.

Cummins parks on Honolulu Ave at the corner of Ocean View Blvd
while Dall runs into the bank.

The corner of Honolulu Ave and Ocean View Blvd.

In the film, the bank is the "Hampton Building and Loan Association" but the real name of the bank during the time of filming was Security First National Bank of Los Angeles. Today the building is the site of Faye's Intimate Apparel. 

Cummins looks down Honolulu Ave from Ocean View Blvd.

Looking down Honolulu Ave from Ocean View Blvd.

Another view of the bank on Honolulu and Ocean View.

Honolulu Ave at Ocean View Blvd.

Dall and Cummins make their getaway by turning left 
down Ocean View Blvd.

Looking down Ocean View Blvd towards
Broadview Drive.

Dall and Cummins turn left onto Broadview Dr.

Looking down Broadview Dr. at Market St.

Looking down Broadview Dr. towards Verdugo Rd.

Looking down Broadview Dr. towards Verdugo Rd.

Dall and Cummins turn right on Verdugo Rd.

Turning right onto Verdugo Rd.

In another crime scene Dall and Cummins are seen running out of a store called "Rangers Growers" which was originally the Reseda State Bank building and now is the Allen's Flower Market building located on the corner of Sherman Way and Reseda Blvd in Reseda, California.

"Rangers Growers" on the SW corner of Sherman Way at Reseda Blvd.

Allen's Flower Market is now at the site of
Sherman Way and Reseda Blvd.

Cummins stands at the SE corner of Sherman Way
and Reseda Blvd and aims her gun towards Rangers Growers.

Looking at the SE corner of Sherman Way and Reseda Blvd.

Looking South down Reseda Blvd from Sherman Way.

Looking South down Reseda Blvd from Sherman Way.

Looking North down Reseda Blvd towards Sherman Way.

Looking North down Reseda Blvd towards Sherman Way.

Looking west down Sherman Way from Amigo Ave.
Old Richfield Gas Station can be seen on the left.

Looking west down Sherman Way from Amigo Ave.
The old Richfield gas station is now part of Eckharts Trailer Hitch.

In a third robbery, Dall and Cummins rob an Armour's Meat Packing plant. In the story the plant is located in Albuquerque, but the filming location is located at 2300 East Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles. The robbery begins at the plant on Olympic Boulevard and during the getaway, Dall and Cummins drive down Mateo Street.

An Armour meat truck drives down Olympic Blvd
heading towards Mateo Street.

Looking down Olympic from Mateo. The yellow oval
marks the railroad crossing that is still present.

The truck drives down Olympic and passes Mateo Street.

The Department of Water and Power building at 926 Mateo Street can be seen in the background inside the red square.

Looking down Mateo Street from Olympic Blvd.

The truck drives down Olympic and passes Mateo St.

Looking down Mateo St. from Olympic Blvd.

In the next screenshots the meat truck continues down Olympic Boulevard. It has passed Mateo Street and begins to enter the driveway at 2300 East Olympic Boulevard. Unfortunately, the Armour's Meat Packing building seen in the film is no longer standing at the site.

The Armour truck turns into the driveway on Olympic.
A car is parked at about 2305 Olympic Blvd in background.

Looking across from the Armour entrance on Olympic.
Another car is parked in the yellow circle near 2305 Olympic.

The truck pulls into the Armour plant on Olympic Blvd.

Looking down Olympic Blvd from the Armour entrance.

The Armour's entrance near 2300 E. Olympic Blvd.

The former site of the Armour plant at 2300 E. Olympic Blvd.

In the next few screenshots Dall and Cummins make their getaway by leaving the Armour meat packing plant parking lot and driving down Mateo Street.

Dall and Cummins pull out from the Armour parking lot on 
Olympic Blvd and drive down Mateo Street.

Looking down Mateo Street from Olympic Blvd.

Dall and Cummins on Mateo Street crossing 7th Street.
The Merchants National Bank building can be seen on the right.

Looking down Mateo Street near 7th Street.

Dall and Cummins continue down Mateo to Industrial Street. 
The National Biscuit Co. building can be seen on the left.

Mateo at Industrial Street. National Biscuit Co. on left.

Dall and Cummins continue down Mateo and approach Jesse Street.

Looking down Mateo St. towards Jesse St.

After Dall and Cummins have committed a crime spree across the United States, they eventually make their way to Los Angeles, California. One of their first stops is to a newsstand located at 1655 North Las Palmas Avenue in Hollywood. Dall hops out of a cab, picks up a newspaper and then gets back in the cab. At the end of Las Palmas Ave we get a view of the First Baptist Church on 6682 Selma Ave. If you attend the Gun Crazy screening at the Egyptian Theater you can make a pit stop at this filming location which is just blocks from the theater.

Cummins and Dall parked at newsstand at 1655 N. Las Palmas Ave. 
The First Baptist Church can be seen in the distance.

Looking down Las Palmas Ave towards Selma.
Newsstand is on right and First Baptist Church at end of street.

Dall and Cummins, while in Los Angeles, spend a day at Ocean Park Pier. This pier was an amusement park filled with roller coasters, themed attractions, carnival games, and restaurants. It was a separate pier a little further down from the existing Santa Monica Pier. Unfortunately, the Ocean Park Pier fell into disrepair and eventually was demolished. Dall and Cummins visit what was the Egyptian Ball Room (How fitting then that the Gun Crazy screening is being shown in the Egyptian theater?).

Dall outside the Egyptian Ball Room on Ocean Park Pier
in Santa Monica.

Ansel Adams photo of Ocean Park Pier ca. 1940.
Photo from Los Angeles Public Library.

If your attending the TCM Film Festival next weekend I strongly recommend the screening of Gun Crazy on Saturday evening. Gun Crazy is available on DVD but it certainly will be a treat to see on the big screen.

Your thoughts?


Laura said...

Fantastic post and photos as always!

Just beyond the newsstand, on the right, there's actually a parking lot where I always park when I go to the Egyptian Theatre, because you can enter the Egyptian's courtyard directly from the parking lot. I like that especially if I'm attending a screening alone or meeting someone there -- it's worth the $10 to park there. :) Anyway, I had no idea this street is in the film, and it would be especially fun for film fans here from out of town to check it out in conjunction with seeing the movie.

I would love to see GUN CRAZY for the first time at the Egyptian. It's very tempting to drive up Saturday and attempt to get a single ticket for the screening, especially as it's half-price with my American Cinematheque membership. Just wish I knew if the long drive, gas and parking $ would be worth it and I'd get in. :)

Best wishes,

Robby Cress said...

Thanks Laura!

And nice tip about the parking. As for driving up to see the film via the standby line - it's always a gamble. The first two years I attended the festival I never bought a festival pass - just too expensive for the number of films I was going to see. I did the standby line both years and for films that were in the larger Chinese Theater and the Egyptian Theater I was able to get in. I did have trouble getting into screenings that were in the smaller screening rooms because they filled up quickly with the festival passholders. If you do go and are able to get in, would love to hear your thoughts or a review on your blog!

Along These Lines ... said...

Fascinating post. Saving my money for the next TCM cruise, which was just announced.

Robby Cress said...

Along These Lines,

I would also love to do the TCM cruise. I think that was another brilliant idea by TCM and I hope the classic movie themed cruise idea continues.

Karen said...

Awesome post and great pics, Robby! I just watched Gun Crazy a couple of nights ago, so these shots were of special interest to me. I must say I died a little inside when I read that Peggy Cummins will be at the TCM film fest . . . for I will not! I would so dearly love to see her and hear what she has to say about this film. I will comfort myself by reading your post again . . .

Paul D. Marks said...

Robby, great post on "Gun Crazy." One of the best B movies/B noirs. And it's amazing to see how the city has changed architecturally over the years. Sometimes for better, sometimes not. As to choosing between "Gun Crazy" and "Singin' in the Rain" -- two great movies, but polar opposites in terms of tone and mood. A hard choice. -- Paul

Dawn said...

Awesome post!! This film reminded me of the film Bonnie and Clyde. I loved the scenes of Annie and Bart driving, shot from the back seat of the car, as if we were part of the action. I also, loved the really funny banter back and forth between them. Not to forget to mention... the great twist at the end. Great film!!

Connie Moreno said...

Even though I am not familiar with this movie, I love looking at the comparison photos!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the great work on the comparison shots. CHECK OUT A SIMILAR POST ON ANOTHER GREAT B NOIR.


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