True Romance (1993)
I love the build up to the Academy Awards and trying to see all the possible Oscar contenders, especially the best picture films. A couple weeks ago Tom O'Neil wrote a piece on the Los Angeles Times blog, The Envelope, suggesting that Quentin Tarantino's latest film, Inglourious Basterds, will be the big winner. Inglourious Basterds was a great movie, but I wouldn't immediately think of that as being one of the big contenders for best picture. Although, I would have never expected Tarantino to win an Oscar for writing Pulp Fiction in 1994, so I guess we'll see what happens.
Before Inglourious Basterds and Pulp Fiction, Tarantino wrote a less award noteworthy film called True Romance. However, there are a couple noteworthy Los Angeles film locations featured in the film.
At the start of the film, Clarence Worley (Christian Slater), goes to the movies on his birthday at the Vista Theater. At the theater he runs into Alabama (Patricia Arquette), an escort, hired by Clarence's boss to keep him company. Below is a picture of the Vista Theater as seen in the film which is supposed to be located in Michigan in the movie.
Vista Theater, 4473 Sunset Drive, Los Angeles
Vista Theater (January 2010)
Patricia Arquette & Christian Slater outside Vista Theater
Entrance to the Vista Theater
Classic Film buffs will be interested to know that where the Vista Theater stands is once the site of D.W. Griffith's enormous Babylon set for his epic film, Intolerance.
Babylon film set, Intolerance
Clarence and Alabama quickly fall in love, come across some dope, get into trouble with some gangs and go on the run. They leave their place in Michigan and head west for Hollywood. While in Hollywood Clarence and Alabama stay at the Safari Inn motel, which is actually located just north of Hollywood in the city of Burbank.
Christian Slater & Patricia Arquette arrive at Safari Inn Motel
Above Clarence and Alabama arrive at the Safari Inn. Below is a photo of the motel entrance as it appears today.
Safari Inn Motel, Burbank, CA
Safari Inn Motel Pool as seen in True Romance
Safari Inn Motel Pool (January 2010)
Christian Slater leaves Safari Inn Motel
Looking out from Safari Inn
You'll notice that the hot dog restaurant no longer exists. I actually don't know if that restaurant seen in the film was real or not? Does anyone know if that signage and table umbrellas were put up for the film or if there actually was a restaurant across the street from the Safari Inn in Burbank?
In the movie when Christian Slater's character pulls into the Safari Inn driveway he is driving down Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and then turns into the motel driveway. Of course that was fancy camera cutting, because the Safari Inn is actually located on Olive Ave in Burbank.
The Safari Inn is a pretty neat motel. My family and friends have stayed there a few times. Many of the rooms are suites with full kitchens inside. They're more like apartments. If you're visiting from out of town to visit the studios I definitely recommend the place. Plus, how can you not like the the 1950s design?
Safari Inn Motel Sign, Burbank, CA