Showing posts with label Lana Turner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lana Turner. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cass Timberlane (1947) - Film Locations

In the film version of Sinclair Lewis's story, Cass Timberlane (1947), Spencer Tracy plays the title character, a judge who falls for a younger woman (Lana Turner) from the "wrong side of the tracks." Although the story for Cass Timberlane is set in a small Minnesotan town, filming actually took place in California, around Los Angeles and the MGM Studios backlot in Culver City. Early in the film, when Tracy first meets Turner, he literally crosses the railroad tracks but they are a long way off from Minnesota. 

In the scene below Tracy sees a baseball roll from underneath a railroad car. Tracy is standing near Myers Street, just north of the 1st Street bridge in downtown Los Angeles. 

Click images to enlarge.

Tracy stands on N. Myers St near the 1st Street bridge.

Looking toward the 1st Street bridge from N. Myers St.

Tracy joins the action of a baseball game taking place in a parcel of land north of the 1st Street Bridge and east of the Los Angeles River. Naturally, being a judge, Tracy acts as the umpire. While Tracy stands next to Turner near the pitching mound, we get a view of the Southern California Gas Company tanks that once stood near Jackson Street and Center Street, just across the LA River. These recognizable structures appeared in quite a few early films before they were razed, and were particularly popular in film noirs.

Tracy and Turner with the The Southern California Gas Company tanks in the background.

Looking across L.A. River towards Jackson Street. The gas tanks have since been razed.

A closer view of the tanks that stood near Jackson St. and Center St.

Spencer Tracy's home in Cass Timberlane was one of the homes originally built for the popular Vincente Minnelli film Meet Me in St. Louis (1945) starring Judy Garland. For Meet Me In St. Louis, Minnelli insisted that MGM construct an entire street of Victorian homes rather than dress an existing set, which would have been much cheaper. The sets remained well after Minnelli's film, getting their fair share of screen time. Tracy would not only work on this St. Louis Street backlot for Cass Timberlane, but also in the film  The Sea of Grass which came out the same year.

Tracy walks home, one of homes on MGM's St. Louis Street backlot.

Cass Timberlane is available on DVD through the Warner Archive Collection, it can be rented through ClassicFlix, and is currently available for streaming on the Warner Archive Instant service.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Who's Got the Action? (1962) - Film Locations

Dean Martin and Lana Turner headline this story about a man with a gambling addiction (Martin) and his wife (Turner) who does what she can to make sure her husband doesn't lose all of their money. The setup is quite a stretch. Turner has Martin's law partner (Eddie Albert) lead Martin to believe that Albert has found the best bookie in town, that bookie, being Martin's wife. The idea is if Martin loses then the money will stay in the household, but unfortunately, Martin goes on a winning streak, forcing Turner to sell their possessions to cover the winnings. Meanwhile, a real bookie in town (Walter Matthau ) is wondering who it is that is getting all the action? 

Despite the tagline claiming to be "the most riotous bedtime story ever!" Who's Got the Action? (1962), really isn't that riotous at all. Even at an hour and a half the movie feels long. Most of the gags just are not that funny and the plot struggles to unfold. I think a more appropriate tagline would be "a mildly amusing bedtime story,"because the film does have some merits.

My favorite part of Who's Got the Action? is seeing Matthau in one of his early film roles. He's the most fun to watch and steals every scene he is in. I also liked the 1960s set designs, particularly the interior of the apartment where Martin and Turner live.

The apartment building where Martin and Turner live is the Talmadge apartments located at 3278 Wilshire Boulevard. This building was built by Joseph M. Schenck in 1922 for his wife, the silent screen actress, Norma Talmadge. 

The Talmadge apartments as seen in the film.

The Talmadge building as it appears today.

The screenshot below shows Martin and Turner leaving the Talmadge apartments and driving down Wilshire Boulevard. They're in the red car, passing Immanuel Presbyterian Church.

Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Blvd

Immanuel Presbyterian Church as it appears now.

Below is a side view of Immanuel Presbyterian Church looking across South Berendo Street from the Talmadge apartment building.

Martin about to enter the Talmadge building. Immanuel 
Presbyterian Church is in the background.

Side view of the church looking across S. Berendo St.

Each day Turner walks to the newsstand outside of the Thrifty drug store to read the paper and see the results of the horse races. The Thrifty drug store was located at 3333 Wilshire Boulevard, just a couple blocks down from the Talmadge apartment building. The Thrifty drug store is gone and now a modern office building, completed in 1983, stands in its place.

Turner visits the Thrifty Drug Store at
3333 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles

A glass and steel skyscraper now stands at
3333 Wilshire Boulevard.

Turner fainted when she saw the results of the races. Eddie Albert helps Turner back to her apartment. In the screenshot below we can see the Talmadage apartment building a couple blocks up in the background. The building in the foreground is a bank and that building is still being used as a bank today.

Eddie Albert helps Turner back to the Talmadge apartment.

Looking up Wilshire at the corner of S. Catalina Street.

A year later, in 1963, Dean Martin made another "bedtime story" comedy called Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? That film isn't a knee jerker either, but it is closer to the "riotous" tagline that this film claims. You can see some of the film locations from Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? here.

Who's Got the Action? is currently available as a Watch Instantly title on Netflix and will be released on DVD on March  27, 2012.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bachelor in Paradise (1961) - Film Locations

Bob Hope as "A.J. Niles"

Ask and you shall receive! A few months back I wrote a post about three movies I wished were on blu-ray or dvd. There are many films that I wish had some kind of a home video release, but I just chose three for the post - and you know what - the Warner Archive Collection recently made available one of those titles from my list!

The 1961 film Bachelor in Paradise is a favorite of mine for two reasons. First, I love Bob Hope in the role of A.J. Niles, an author of a series of books on the sexual lives of people in foreign countries. Hope has one hilarious quip after another and he is perfect as the smooth, cunning, ladies man. Second, to anyone who appreciates mid-century (20th century) fashion and design, the look of this film is stunning. The mid-century tract homes, an early suburban grocery store, bowling alley, tiki bar, cars, drive-in restaurant, clothes - everything in this film is a colorful step back in time. To celebrate the release of Bachelor in Paradise I decided to do a film locations post to show some of these colorful images.

In the film, Hope finds himself in trouble with the I.R.S. for back taxes. In order to pay back the I.R.S. Hope's publisher convinces him to write a new book about the developing American suburbs. Hope, using a false identity, relocates to the new California development of Paradise Village, and begins secretly compiling data for his book. Being the only bachelor in Paradise Village, Hope becomes popular with the bored housewives and not so popular with the husbands in the community. The film also stars Lana Turner, Janis Paige, Don Porter, Paula Prentiss, Jim Hutton, and in a cameo appearance, Agnes Moorehead.

Below is an image of Hope and Turner arriving at the home in Paradise Village that Hope will be staying while conducting his research. As Turner says in the film, that house, "It's not pink, its 'California coral.'" Paradise Village is a fictional suburb and even the street signs seen in the film are fake, so you can't go by those to find the locations. Hope's home is located in the Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills, at address 22931 Brenford Street.

Hope & Turner, 22931 Brenford Street

22931 Brenford Street, Woodland Hills

As you can see in the photo above the home is no longer "California coral."

Hope & Turner at 22931 Brenford Street

Above is an image of Hope and Turner parked in the driveway at the Brenford Street home. In the photo below you can see how this view looks today, along with a modern car in the driveway.

22931 Brenford Street, Woodland Hills

Hope in the driveway at 22931 Brenford Street

Jim Hutton, Hope's neighbor.

Above, Jim Hutton arrives home from work. Hutton and Paula Prentiss live in the home next door to Hope.

22941 Brenford Street, Woodland Hills

22941 Brenford Street, Woodland Hills

It is incredible to see how much this neighborhood has changed since 1961. In the next few images below you can see in the film how sparse the vegetation was. There are only a few trees and they are all quite small still. Today, the neighborhood is filled with trees and bushes and they are all quite large. It's difficult to see the homes or the mountain views which were visible in the film.

Rounding the corner at Brenford St. & Coloma Ave

Brenford St at Coloma Ave

The kids leave for school at Brenford at Coloma.

Brenford at Coloma

School bus drives down Brenford Street.

Looking down Brenford Street.

The photo above is looking down Brenford Street and that white house on the left is the same as the one in the image below with Turner and Prentiss. That house is located across the street from Hope's home.

Prentiss and Turner on Brenford Street

The husbands leave for work. Brenford Street.

The newspaper delivery boy drives down Brenford.

The Brenford St. Home seen above.

In the image below Turner is seen parking in front of Hope's house and you can see the home next door. The following image is a google earth screen capture showing this same location. I hadn't noticed this home at the time I was taking photos. If you look closely, the roof above the front door has changed since the time of the film and I didn't recognize the building. Of course I didn't notice this until I was back home. Besides, after a while, all these homes really start looking the same and it is hard to tell one from the next.

Turner parked in front of Hope's house.

In front of Hope's house. (c) Google

In the film Hope visits a suburban supermarket. That supermarket was the Hughes market located at 14620 Parthenia Street in Panorama City, another Los Angeles suburb. Today the supermarket is now a Hispanic grocery store, "El Super," and has been drastically remodeled. IMDB has the address for the market listed as 8231 Woodman Avenue, Panorama City, but I think that address is incorrect. There is a supermarket at that address, but I don't think it is the one used in the film. Interesting though is the market at 8231 is now a Filipino grocery store, so both markets in this former "whitebread" neighborhood are now two very different ethnic grocery stores.

Hughes Market, 14620 Parthenia Street

El Super, 14620 Parthenia Street

You can see in the background of the parking lot the sign for El Super. The El Super sign sits on the same base that used to hold the Hughes market sign. Below is a close-up of the sign.

El Super Sign.

Hope enters the Hughes Market.

El Super, the former Hughes Market.

Inside the Hughes Market.

The image above and below show how the Hughes Market looked inside. Do you recognize any of the products on display?

Hope & Turner Shop at Hughes Market

Benny's Drive In Restaurant

In one scene in the film Hope goes to a drive in restaurant, "Benny's," which you can see in the photo above and in some of the photos below. The location used for this restaurant is now a catering business called "Michael D's," and the address is 23130 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills. This is very close to the neighborhood where all the homes were filmed. Does anyone remember a Benny's drive in restaurant in Woodland Hills? I'm not sure if for the film the production created a fake sign and then just used the exterior of the building?

Benny's Drive In. 23130 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills

Michael D's, 23130 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills

Woodlake Lanes Bowling Alley

Turner & Hope inside of Woodlake Lanes Bowing Alley

Later in the film there is a scene of Hope and Turner at a bowling alley. I'm guessing this was the Woodlake Lanes bowling alley which is attached to the Michael D's catering business (Benny's in the film) at address 23130 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills. If you look at the screenshot of the Benny's Drive In sign, in the background is a sign for a bowling alley, so even in the film, the restaurant and the bowling alley were right next to each other.

Woodlake Bowl/Michael D's, 23130 Ventura Blvd

At the end of the film, because of all the trouble he stirred up in Paradise Village, Hope needs to go to court. Below is the Los Angeles County Courthouse as seen in the film. The courthouse address is 111 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles, in downtown LA, but the below image is of the entrance located on Grand Avenue. The three mosaics above the entrance were designed by artist Albert Stewart in 1956. Stewart made his mark as an artist for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s.

Los Angeles County Courthouse, Grand Avenue Entrance

LA Courthouse, Grand Avenue Entrance

Agnes Moorehead in her cameo as Judge Peterson

Your thoughts?


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