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Sunday June 23rd 2024

Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood | 2019

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood filming location: Alta View Drive, Studio City
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood location: Rick Dalton's house on 'Cielo Drive': Alta View Drive, Studio City

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From Rick's swanky home to Cliff's modest trailer.

Dropping off Rick’s smart Coupe de Ville, Cliff swaps to his own slightly battered blue ’64 Karmann Ghia to drive home, supposedly to The Valley.

The ‘Panorama City’ exit sign is fake. The freeway is the western section of the Marina Freeway, Route 90, running between Culver City and Marina. The attention to detail though is impressive – that barely-glimpsed blue neon windmill is a prop built for the film, replicating the long-gone symbol of Van de Kamp’s Holland Dutch Bakeries (a chain which ceased business in 1990).

Cliff’s trailer home seems to stand alongside the old Van Nuys Drive-In. This was a real venue which used to stand at 15040 Roscoe Boulevard in the Valley until being demolished in the 1990s.

For the film, the famous frontage was reconstructed at the twin Paramount Drive-In Theatres, 7770 Rosecrans Avenue, Paramount, over ten miles southeast of Downtown LA, toward Bellflower.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood filming location: Super A Foods, Division Street, Cypress Park
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood location: the Manson family members happily go dumpster diving: Super A Foods, Division Street, Cypress Park

In the parallel story, happy-clappy hippie girls from the Charles Manson commune enthusiastically go dumpster diving for provisions alongside Super A Foods, 2924 Division Street in Cypress Park, east of the Los Angeles River, north of Elysian Park. The supermarket is well on its way to becoming a screen regular – remember Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper getting improvised medical supplies here in the 2018 A Star Is Born?

A big thank you to the mechanic who, unasked, volunteered to move the car he was working on so I could get the correct angle for the photo. I met some really nice people in LA.

Cliff gives a lift to Pussycat (Margaret Qualley) on her way from Hollywood to the 'Spahn Ranch', outside the 'Pandora's Box' club. Beneath the groovy pink-and-orange striped paint job, you can recognise the quirky design of 1777 Ivar Avenue, on the southwest corner at Yucca Street, currently housing MGD Hollywood, an All-You-Can-Eat Korean BBQ.

As I mentioned earlier, although the period is important, Tarantino goes for the feel of the era rather than the precise year-by-year recreation.

The real Pandora's Box was demolished in 1967, sparking a huge outcry and a near-riot. It stood on the Strip in West Hollywood, at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights Boulevard. There's no longer any trace of it.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood filming location: Ivar Avenue at Yucca Street, Hollywood
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood location: Cliff gives Pussycat a lift in front of 'Pandora's Box': Ivar Avenue at Yucca Street, Hollywood

Tate and Polanski run the gauntlet of paparazzi when they arrive at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) from Europe. Rick Dalton makes a similar arrival with his wife six months later. The section of the airport is the Terminal 6 passenger walkway and you might recognise those mosaic tiles from the opening scenes of Tarantino’s Jackie Brown.

The famous mosaics, lining the tunnels on the way to baggage claim in Terminals 3, 4, and 6, were completed in 1961 and previously featured in Airplane!, Mel BrooksHigh Anxiety, Mike NicholsThe Graduate and John Boorman’s Point Blank as well as in TV shows including The Rockford Files and Mad Men.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood filming location: Playboy Mansion, Charing Cross Road, Holmby Hills, Los Angeles
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood location: Roman and Sharon party with Steve McQueen: Playboy Mansion, Charing Cross Road, Holmby Hills, Los Angeles

As part of Hollywood’s exclusive in-crowd, Roman and Sharon are soon off to a party at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion, 10236 Charing Cross Road, Holmby Hills, where Steve McQueen (Damian Lewis) ruefully bemoans that fact that he’s not Sharon’s type.

Again, this is a bit of a cheat chronologically. Hefner didn’t buy this mansion until 1974, five years after the events portrayed. The original ‘Playboy mansion was in Chicago, where the organisation had its headquarters but it would have been churlish not to feature this very emblem of LA decadence.

It is Hefner’s real Holmby Hills mansion seen in the film – not the first time it’s appeared on-screen. The notorious party house was cheekily used as the ‘Convent’ in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. It’s now a private home but still rented out for corporate events and photoshoots. Unless you get an invite, you’re unlikely to see much more of the estate than this gate and the bizarre intercom system disguised as a huge boulder – 'Speak to the rock'.

Rick is now earning a living playing heavies in TV series, including an episode of Lancer. Blurring the lines between fact and fiction even more, Lancer was – unlike Bounty Law – a real TV series and one episode really was directed by Sam Wanamaker, the actor/director who went on to become the driving force behind recreating Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre at Southwark in London.

If the actor playing Wanamaker seems naggingly familiar, that’s it’s Nicholas Hammond – Friedrich from The Sound of Music, all grown up!

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood filming location: Studio Four Building, Paramount Pictures, Melrose Avenue, Hollywood
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood location: Cliff picks up Rick outside 'Columbia Studio': Studio Four Building, Paramount Pictures, Melrose Avenue, Hollywood

Although the filming of Lancer uses both the Melody Ranch and the Universal Studios backlot, the ’Columbia Studio’, outside which Cliff picks up Rick at the end of the day, is the Studio Four Building of Paramount Pictures at 5515 Melrose Avenue, opposite North Plymouth Boulevard, part of the Paramount lot in Hollywood.

Interestingly, this building was once the Capitol Records studio, where Frank Sinatra recorded many of his classic albums, before it was assimilated into the Paramount lot. Currently it's the entrance for the Paramount Studio Tour (which I highly recommend).

More confusingly is that controversial fight between Cliff and Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), supposedly on the studio backlot. With all the technical advances, it's not as easy as you might have thought to recreate 1969 on the backlot of a modern studio.

According to Location Manager Rick Schuler talking to Los Angeles Magazine, this scene was filmed on the campus of Norwalk-La Mirada Adult School, 15711 Pioneer Boulevard at Alondra Boulevard, Norwalk.

This was formerly Excelsior High School which, since closing in the early 80s, was used for filming Grease 2 and High School USA. More trivia – one of the school’s old boys was William Conrad, TV’s Cannon.

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