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Friday July 20th 2018

Assault On Precinct 13 | 1976

Assault on Precinct 13 location: the deserted precinct: Social and Public Art Resource Center, Venice Boulevard, Venice, Los Angeles
Assault on Precinct 13 location: the deserted precinct: Social and Public Art Resource Center, Venice Boulevard, Venice, Los Angeles

John Carpenter’s reworking of Howard HawksRio Bravo sees an unlikely mixed-race street gang besieging a near-deserted police station.

The precinct is actually Precinct 9, in the fictitious ‘Anderson’, and the movie was originally called The Anderson Alamo. The title was changed to The Siege, before distributor Irwin Yablans came up with the final catchy, if inaccurate, moniker.

Shot on a shoestring, the movie uses a patchwork of locations around Los Angeles, and the interiors were filmed at the venerable Producers Studio, now Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Avenue, in Hollywood. It’s a modest little studio, but it’s had its share of memorable productions, including What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? and In The Heat Of The Night.

Assault on Precinct 13 location: the deserted precinct: Social and Public Art Resource Center, Venice Boulevard, Venice, Los Angeles
Assault on Precinct 13 location: the deserted precinct: Social and Public Art Resource Center, Venice Boulevard, Venice, Los Angeles

The streets near the station are in Watts, Los Angeles’s often-troubled South Central area; the view across the street from the precinct is North Hollywood, but the exterior of ‘Anderson Police Station, Division 14’ itself is the old Police and Fire Station of Venice, 685 North Venice Boulevard, on the northeast corner of Pisani Drive, Venice, which was the only art deco police station in Los Angeles, and is now the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), devoted to Los Angeles’s excellent tradition of multi-ethnic public art. Murals, that is.

The station's interior, by the way, can be seen in Curtis Hanson's excellent 1997 neo-noir L.A. Confidential.