Sunday, September 11, 2011

Downtown Los Angeles in the 1940's -- B-Roll Footage From Film Noir Era Shows Bunker Hill and $2.50 per Day Car Rentals

It wasn't accidental that the film industry emerged in Southern California. Producers and directors flocked to the city from the east coast for the natural light and the myriad of landscapes that could adapt to any scenario. But there is also a je ne sais quoi, an indescribable attribute that has made Los Angeles iconic in the realm of images. Like an improbably chiseled actress who enchants the camera from any angle, Los Angeles loves being photographed.

Nothing captures the Los Angeles of yore better than Film Noir, with its stark, black and white images in movies such as Mildred Pierce, Double Indemnity, and The Big Sleep.  In this "B-roll" footage (that would be rear-projected behind actors in driving scenes), you witness Los Angeles of this era, unedited.  We particularly liked seeing the Zelda Apartments (1:52), two blonde girls crossing the street (2:22), an old-school stop light (3:15), and a cool, airstream moderne bus (3:51).  The biggest surprise is that parking that was 50 cents per day then can still be had for $3 or $5 per day.

This Victorian-era Los Angeles -- that looks remarkably like San Francisco -- exists no more since Bunker Hill and the Chavez Ravine were razed for the construction of Downtown west.  The writers John Fante in "Ask The Dust" and Charles Bukowski  in "Factotum" portray the grit of that time and place.  Here your eyes can feast on images from a very photogenic time gone by

Courtesy of Curbed LA, Blogdowntown and The Atlantic