On a recent trip to Los Angeles (Hollywood no less), I took the opportunity to do some film-related stuff and visit places connected to Shocks To The System.
|Hollywood Forever Cemetery entrance on Santa Monica Boulevard|
|Hall of David: resting place of Edgar G. Ulmer|
|Fay Wray's grave|
First on the list was a trip to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to see the final resting places of some horror movie luminaries. Hollywood Forever is a pleasant green sanctuary off Santa Monica Boulevard and situated behind Paramount Studios. Amongst those laid to rest in the cemetery are Maila Nurmi (AKA ‘Vampira’), Darren ‘Kolchak’ McGavin, Peter Lorre, composer of ‘Bride of Frankenstein’, Franz Waxman, ‘Ruby’ director Curtis Harrington, director of the 1941 ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, Victor Fleming, ‘Black Cat’ director Edgar G. Ulmer and star of ‘Mystery of the Wax Museum’ and ‘King Kong’, the original scream-queen, Fay Wray.
|4565 Dundee Drive: James Whale's home in the 1930s|
On my way to visit Pasadena, I stopped off in the Los Feliz district to visit the home of James Whale. Situated at 4565 Dundee Drive, the ‘Villa Sophia’ is a magnificent Mediterranean house that was Whale’s residence in the 1930s while making ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’. This photograph taken from Dundee Drive does not do justice to the size and scale of the place, but you can see more photographs that show the sheer scope of it by following this link.
|The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard|
When James Whale first arrived in Hollywood, he stayed here at the Roosevelt Hotel. The Roosevelt also housed the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929. The hotel is famously said to be haunted by the ghosts of Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift, and was the inspiration for the film '1408'.
|Cecil DeMille's Barn : the first Hollywood Studio|
|Door to DeMille's Office|
|Cecil B. DeMille's office in the Barn|
Although not horror-related, I just had to visit this old barn situated on North Highland Avenue. It was the first film studio in Hollywood, built by Jesse Lasky and Cecil B. DeMille for the filming of the first-ever feature length film, The Squaw Man (1913). Now the Hollywood Heritage Museum, the barn still houses a recreation of DeMille’s Production Office, as well as other film memorabilia including a shrine to Rudolph Valentino.
|Musso and Frank's: legendary Hollywood restaurant|
|Inside Musso and Frank's|
Back on Hollywood Boulevard, for lunch in The Musso and Frank Grill, the oldest restaurant in Hollywood. It is also famous as being the drinking den of choice for veteran scriptwriters such as Raymond Chandler and William Faulkner. It is the place where Paul Schrader and Brian De Palma first dreamed up the idea for Obsession (1976). Well worth a visit, it retains the genteel charm of Old Hollywood and the waiting staff all seem to be well into geriatric-age with plenty of tales to tell of days gone by.
|Exterior of Larry Edmunds Bookstore|
|Inside Larry Edmunds.|
Practically opposite Musso and Frank’s is another Hollywood institution, Larry Edmunds’ Bookshop, an absolute treasure trove of rare and second hand movie books and Hollywood memorabilia, lobby cards, movie posters and scripts. This is the place to go if you need something out of print and Larry has now got a website going which you can visit here.
|Samuel French on Sunset Boulevard|
|The film section inside French's Bookshop|
Another famous movie bookshop is Samuel French located on Sunset Boulevard. The shop is divided into two main rooms: Theatre and Film. The film section has pretty much everything you could ask for including an extensive horror and cult film section. I bought a copy of Jason Zinoman’s account of 1970s horror, Shock Value (review to follow).
|The American Cinematheque on Hollywood Boulevard|
|The Cinematheque is house inside Grauman's Egyptian Theatre|
|Showing a Ken Russell tribute|
On Hollywood Boulevard again, I was very impressed by the American Cinematheque. Housed at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, the Cinematheque is a non-profit cultural organisation devoted to the presentation of film in all its forms, from the classics to fringe cinema. I was disappointed to miss a screening of Vertigo in 70mm but delighted to see a Ken Russell retrospective this month that includes a screening of The Devils – although I’m not sure which version. Check out their website here.
|1537 Orange Grove Avenue|
|Across the street: 1530 Orange Grove Avenue|
Of course Los Angeles is itself a museum in terms of movie locations, many of which are instantly recognisable. But I was surprised and delighted to discover that John Carpenter filmed some of the most famous scenes in Halloween only two roads away from my sister-in-law’s house, here on Orange Grove Avenue, just off Sunset Boulevard.
Anyone interested in finding out more about movie locations in Los Angeles should check out Robby Cress’s excellent blog Dear Old Hollywood.