Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood | 2019
- DIRECTOR |
- Quentin Tarantino
- CAST |
- Leonardo DiCaprio,
- Brad Pitt,
- Margot Robbie,
- Al Pacino,
- Emile Hirsch,
- Margaret Qualley,
- Dakota Fanning,
- Timothy Olyphant,
- Bruce Dern,
- Mike Moh,
- Luke Perry,
- Damian Lewis,
- Nicholas Hammond,
- Lena Dunham,
- Austin Butler,
- Scoot McNairy,
- Clifton Collins Jr,
- Clu Gulager,
- Kurt Russell,
- Zoë Bell,
- Michael Madsen,
- James Remar,
- Brenda Vaccaro
Now on to the way present-day Hollywood was turned back to 1969.
With the minimum of digital manipulation, many of the old businesses were recreated as they appeared in the late Sixties.
Beneath the flashy frontages of tacky souvenir shops and countless tattoo parlours, many features of old Hollywood Boulevard still exist, particularly in the stretch between Cherokee Avenue and Cahuenga.
One that remains in business is The Supply Sergeant, 6664 Hollywood Boulevard, beneath that unmissable towering sign, selling military surplus since 1948.
The currently vacant circular structure above what is now the Hologram USA Cinema, 6656 Hollywood Boulevard, was restored to house the sign of its previous incarnation as The Pussycat Theatre.
This branch of the porno chain showed breakout hard-core epic Deep Throat for ten years before its closed in the early Eighties.
In 1987 it became the Ritz Theatre, which you might remember being used as the villains' nightclub hangout in Lethal Weapon before the Nineties saw it transformed into – of all things – a church.
The marquee of the Vogue Theatre, 6675 Hollywood Boulevard, is seen advertising William Friedkin's 1968 comedy The Night They Raided Minsky's. The cinema dates from 1935 but it was given a major revamp in 1959. Standing next door to Musso and Frank, the Vogue supposedly had a back room used as an annexe to the restaurant – and this was the space where its famous literary patrons found the peace to do all that writing.
And now? It's another church.
Over in Westwood Village, Sharon Tate excitedly goes to watch herself in one of her biggest onscreen roles, as the klutzy Miss Carlson, in Dean Martin secret agent spoof The Wrecking Crew.
The cinema is the Regency Bruin Theatre, 948 Broxton Avenue, Westwood Village, a deco gem which remains virtually unchanged since it opened in 1937.
The Bruin is also featured in John Frankenheimer’s 1957 drama of teen angst, The Young Stranger. The elegant white spire opposite is that of another Westwood cinema, the beautiful 1931 Regency Village Theatre, 961 Broxton Avenue, which hosted the premiere of unforgettable sci-fi classic Chubby Rain in Steve Martin-Eddie Murphy satire Bowfinger.
And remember its entrance being used in the 'amateur' dance video for Fatboy Slim's Praise You, made by Spike Jonze?
Paths cross when Cliff gives that lift to Pussycat, who's living on the Spahn Movie Ranch, which was up in Chatsworth, north of LA. This was the base for the Manson ‘family’, of which Pussycat is a member.
Not surprisingly, the church which currently owns Spahn Ranch was none too keen on its use in the film, but a stand in was found barely a mile west.
The eerily quiet ranch, where Cliff Booth demands to meet the ailing owner George Spahn (Bruce Dern), was recreated at what was Corriganville Movie Ranch, in the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains in the Santa Susana Pass area of Simi Valley. It was named after actor, stuntman and owner Ray ‘Crash’ Corrigan and was open to the public as a visitor attraction until being damaged by fire 1970 and then again disastrously in 1979 when virtually all the remaining structures were destroyed.
In 1988, 190 acres of the original Corriganville Ranch were purchased by the City of Simi Valley and are now Corriganville Park, 7001 Smith Road, Simi Valley. It's open to the public and there are traces of film sites left along with placards describing movie history .
When Marvin calls Rick Dalton to tell him about opportunities in Europe, he’s calling from the luxurious art deco interior of Cicada, a grand restaurant housed in the gorgeous Oviatt Building, 617 South Olive Street, Downtown Los Angeles, built in the 1920s as a luxury department store.
Its spectacular deco interior is familiar from Pretty Woman (it's where Julia Roberts has trouble with snails – “Slippery little suckers...”) or you might recognise it as the restaurant in which Tony Bennett serenades Jim Carrey and Jennifer Aniston in Bruce Almighty. More recently, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt had a bit of a confrontation here in Doug Liman’s Mr and Mrs Smith and it's the site of Viola Davis' briefing at the opening of Suicide Squad.
And when Rick relocates to 'Italy' to risk taking on the new genre of 'Spaghetti Westerns', the drop-dead gorgeous ‘Roman’ restaurant in which the now-successful Rick is enjoying La Dolce Vita, is also – erm – the Oviatt Building. Not the restaurant itself, but the building’s magnificent deco frontage space on Olive Street, filled with tables and chairs and dressed to look like a high-end European hangout.
Six months later, successful and married, Rick returns to Los Angeles but it’s time to part ways with the easygoing Cliff.
As the clock ticks down on the fateful evening of August 8, Rick and Cliff celebrate the end of their professional partnership by getting totally wasted at Mexican restaurant Casa Vega, 13301 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks.
This isn’t another Tarantinoverse in-joke relating to brothers Vic or Vince Vega but one more LA legend, dating from 1956.
Meanwhile, Sharon Tate and her party are dining out at another Mexican restaurant, El Coyote Cafe, 7312 Beverly Boulevard in the Fairfax district, which is the restaurant where their real-life counterparts dined on that night in 1969. This one has been in business since 1931.
Its frontage boasts a small stencilled image of Sharon Tate. Exploitation or memorial? Well, since there's no name or crass advertising, I'm happy to go with respectful tribute.
Tarantino signals the last act with a montage of neon lights flickering on as darkness descends on the city. They are:
The abandoned Taco Bell, at 14232 Newport Avenue at Mitchell Avenue in Tustin, near Santa Ana way southeast of LA, which was brought back to life for a brief moment of screen glory (I believe it’s since been demolished).
In Hollywood itself, the still-thriving Pacific Cinerama Dome, 6360 Sunset Boulevard, was also taken back to the late Sixties with a marquee advertising a showing of Krakatoa, East of Java.
Chili John's, 2018 West Burbank Boulevard, Burbank – still serving “Burbank’s favorite chili since 1946”.
Taqueria Los Primos, 1910 West Pacific Coast Hwy, down in Long Beach, started out as a branch of Der Wienerschnitzel and still having the trademark red roof, was restored to its heyday for the film.
So, with no more locations to record, this is where my take on the story ends.