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Friday April 20th 2018

L.A. Confidential | 1997

L.A. Confidential filming location: Crossroads of the World, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles

L.A. Confidential location: Sid Hudgens’ ‘Hush Hush’ office: Crossroads of the World, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles

Along with Michael Mann’s Heat, Curtis Hanson’s Fifties-set thriller shows the city of Los Angeles at its most stylish. Although it’s a period piece, the film was shot almost entirely on real locations around the city.

Only the decrepit ‘Victory Motel’, site of the final shoot-out, is a purpose-built set, constructed among the ‘nodding donkey’ oil wells of the Baldwin Hills oilfields near Culver City.

The Badge of Honor TV show, for which Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) acts as advisor, is obviously based on Dragnet, and similarly uses LA City Hall, as seen on the LAPD badge, as its logo. It’s out of City Hall that the cops operate. The familiar pyramid-topped highrise can be seen at 200 North Spring Street, downtown.

L.A. Confidential location: Crossroads of the World, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles

L.A. Confidential location: Sid Hudgens’ ‘Hush Hush’ office: Crossroads of the World, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles

The office of sleazy journo Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito) beneath the illuminated spire and revolving globe of the Crossroads of the World, 6671 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, a glorious thirties shopping mall designed as an ocean liner, complete with portholes, was the workplace of Demi Moore in Indecent Proposal.

L.A. Confidential location: Gramercy Place at Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles

L.A. Confidential location: The movie premiere pot bust: Gramercy Place at Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles

Hudgens sets up the ‘movie premiere pot bust’ on a bungalow at 1714 Gramercy Place, west of Western Avenue just off Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. The impressive-looking ‘El Cortez’ theater, where When Worlds Collide is premiering, is fictitious. An illuminated marquee was built onto the front of the imposing, but abandoned, bank building at 5620 Hollywood Boulevard.

L.A. Confidential filming location: Boardner’s, North Cherokee Avenue, Hollywood
L.A. Confidential location: Bud White gets back his badge and gun: Boardner’s Bar, North Cherokee Avenue, Hollywood

Also in Hollywood is the bar where Captain Smith (James Cromwell) gives Bud White (Russell Crowe) his gun and badge back: Boardner’s, 1652 North Cherokee Avenue at Hollywood Boulevard (seen in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, Hollywood Homicide, with Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett). Boardner’s a great little bar with a fascinating history back to the 30s – and it’s my favourite bar in Hollywood.

L.A. Confidential location: Lovell Health House, Los Feliz, Los Angeles

L.A. Confidential location: Bud sees Lynn Bracken at the liquor store: Ramon’s Cane Shop, South Cochran Avenue, Los Angeles

To the south, in the Midtown district, is ‘Nick’s Liquor Store’ where Bud White first sees Veronica Lake look-alike Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger), which is Ramon’s Cane Shop, 1277 South Cochran Avenue, south of South San Vicente Boulevard. That’s Cochran Avenue Baptist Church in the background, and the ‘side street’, in which the car of Pierce Patchett (David Strathairn) is parked, is simply the entrance to a car park.

The ‘Nite Owl Cafe’, site of the massacre, is in downtown Los Angeles: the J&J Sandwich Shop, 119 East 6th Street, opposite the Pacific Electric Building, 610 South Main Street, where Bud White dangles the terrified DA from a window.

L.A. Confidential location: Lovell Health House, Los Feliz, Los Angeles

L.A. Confidential location: The stylish home of pimp Pierce Patchett: Lovell Health House, Los Feliz, Los Angeles

The terraced home of Bracken’s high-class pimp Pierce Patchett is architect Richard Neutra’s Lovell House. Neutra’s masterpiece was built in 1929 for physician and vegetarian health freak Philip Lovell (it’s also known as the Lovell Health House). It’s a private residence, 4616 Dundee Drive, Los Feliz, below the Griffith Observatory, which you can see on the skyline in the movie.

In 2010, the house became home to Hal Fields (Christopher Plummer) and his son Oliver (Ewan McGregor) in Mike Mills' drama Beginners.

LA Confidential filming location: Sowden House Franklin Avenue, Los Feliz, Los Angeles

LA Confidential location: Pierce Pratchett's wild party: the Sowden House Franklin Avenue, Los Feliz, Los Angeles

Pratchett's wild party is held in the 1926 Sowden House 5121 Franklin Avenue, between Western and Normandie Avenues, Los Feliz, east of Hollywood. The amazing design is the work of Lloyd Wright (son of innovative architect Frank Lloyd Wright) and you can also see it as the home of Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale) in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator.

L.A. Confidential filming location: Frolic Room, Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles

L.A. Confidential location: Jack Vincennes stops off for a drink: Bob’s Frolic Room, Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles

The house where the prostitute is being held, supposedly ‘Avalon Street’, in South Central, was on Avenue 28 in the Lincoln Heights district. Vincennes and Exley (Guy Pearce) pump boxer Leonard Bidwell for info with a bogus promise at Bellevue and Marion, in the Echo Park district, opposite Bob’s Market, seen as 'Toretto's' in The Fast and the Furious.

Before deciding to check on the actor-cum-hustler, Jack Vincennes downs a drink at Bob’s Frolic Room, 6245 Hollywood Boulevard, a surviving thirties neon-fronted bar alongside the Pantages Theater. The walls are decorated with Al Hirschfield cartoons, and it’s got a great jukebox.

L.A. Confidential filming location: Hollywood Center Motel, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles

L.A. Confidential location: Jack Vincennes finds the body of the murdered actor: Hollywood Center Motel, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles

He subsequently finds the body of the murdered actor Matt Reynolds (Simon Baker) in room 203 of the Hollywood Center Motel, 6720 Sunset Boulevard, an original 20s motel, enlarged in the 1950s.

The other Hollywood bar, festooned with celebrity photos, where White and Exley hassle Johnny Stompanato and the ‘real’ Lana Turner, is also a famous landmark, the Formosa Cafe, 7156 Santa Monica Boulevard at Formosa Avenue. This bar and Thai restaurant – based around an old railroad car – was a regular hangout for the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, among others. And it’s still going strong, just over the road from the old Goldwyn Studios, known as ‘The Lot’.

L.A. Confidential filming location: Formosa Cafe, Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles

L.A. Confidential location: Oops! – that's the ‘real’ Lana Turner: Formosa Cafe, Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles

Johnny Stompanato, by the way, was the underworld hood stabbed to death in the bedroom of Lana Turner’s Beverly Hills mansion in 1958 – allegedly by her daughter Cheryl Crane. You can see the Formosa in Frank Darabont’s Hollywood blacklist drama The Majestic, with Jim Carrey.

Mrs Leffert’s house, where a body is found in the crawl space, is in Elysian Park, while Lynn Bracken’s 1927 house is on Wilcox Avenue, next to the Wilshire Country Club in the Rossmore district of Hollywood.

Navarette’s hide-out, supposedly on Downtown’s now-redeveloped ‘Bunker Hill’, was filmed on San Marino Street near the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Hoover Street, west of Macarthur Park.