Million Dollar Baby | 2004
What begins as a female Rocky, develops into something deeper. Clint Eastwood’s Oscar magnet was filmed almost entirely around Los Angeles, where aspiring boxer Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) originally waits tables at the On The Waterfront Cafe, 205 Ocean Front Walk, at Ozone Avenue, Venice Beach.
Also in Venice is the Church of St Mark, 940 Coeur d’Alene Avenue, where Frankie enjoys winding up the priest but ultimately goes for guidance. ‘The Hit Pit’, the gym of grizzled veteran Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) was constructed by 89-year-old veteran production designer Henry Bumstead in a warehouse downtown Los Angeles.
Over in Hollywood, Frankie later visits Maggie when she's working at Shelly Cafe, 7013 Hollywood Boulevard at North Orange Drive, but Hollywood continues to lose its individual character. The long-standing, unpretentious eaterie opposite the venerable Roosevelt Hotel, has now closed and the premises has become part of Marshall's department store.
And, sadly, another piece of LA history has been lost downtown. Fight scenes were filmed in what was the Grand Olympic Auditorium, 1801 South Grand Avenue at Olympic Boulevard, downtown Los Angeles. Opened in 1925, the Grand Olympic was home to some of the biggest boxing, wrestling and roller derby events until the 1950s, and became a major wrestling venue until the 1970s. It's inevitably hosted countless boxing pictures, including both Raging Bull and Rocky itself. The Auditorium ceased holding fights in the 1980s but lived on as a music/rave venue. In 2005, it was bought by a Korean-American Christian church and is now the Glory Church of Jesus Christ.
The ‘English’ bout, at the ‘River Thames Boxing Association’, is still Los Angeles. It's the Hollywood Athletic Club, 6525 Hollywood Boulevard, the same building in which the gang meet the mysterious Mr Kobayashi in The Usual Suspects).
And the fateful fight in the ‘Las Vegas Arena’ is the Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Boulevard, previously seen in The Blues Brothers, sci-fi spoof Galaxy Quest and John Schlesinger's apocalyptic Hollywood satire Day of the Locust and in The Blues Brothers.