Above, Harold Lloyd in Hot Water (1924). Beneath, The Turning Point (1952).
Harold Lloyd and film noir? It’s true. Lloyd filmed frequently on Bunker Hill and at other downtown locations, far more so than did Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton. After decades of accumulated grime and neglect, the benign settings appearing in Lloyd’s early silent films became the stark and gritty landscapes favored by the post WWII urban dramas. Ironically then, Lloyd, one of the silent era’s sunniest comedians, will forever be tied to the noir genre.
In the top image from Hot Water (1924), Lloyd watches his family car run away down Olive Street from the corner of 3rd Street. The shadow of the Angels Flight observation tower appears on the street at the left foreground. In The Turning Point (1952), a cynical investigative reporter played by William Holden trails a suspected corrupt cop up Olive Street towards the corner of 3rd.
Click to enlarge. In this closer view the sign for the Olive Inn has been circled in yellow. The red oval on the street is the shadow of the former Angels Flight observation tower (see below).
Both scenes were filmed looking south down Olive Street from Third Street, near the top entrance to Angels Flight, just off camera to the left. The more famous of Los Angeles’ two funicular railroads originally stood next to the Third Street Tunnel. Today Angels Flight has been relocated a half block further west. The Olive Inn and The Ems Apartments loom prominently in the center of each shot.
The top entrance to Angels Flight, adjacent to the BPOE Building at 3rd Street and Olive. Harold’s cameraman stood to the left of the observation tower (pictured to the left) when filming, as it casts a shadow on the street in the movie frames from Hot Water (above). The cameraman for The Turning Point likely stood near the right edge of the BPOE Building when filming. Los Angeles Public Library SPNB Collection.
Today the corner of 3rd and Olive no longer really exists, as a mall extends over Olive Street. The hill on Olive drops down beneath the mall pictured here. Photo Jeffrey Castel De Oro.
Bunker Hill was scraped clean and completely rebuilt during the civic redevelopment boom beginning in the 1960s. With the redevelopment’s resulting elevated streets and pedestrian malls, certain intersections such as 3rd and Olive no longer exist.
My book Silent Visions has an entire chapter devoted to Harold Lloyd filming on Bunker Hill. Look for future posts of Harold filming at noir classic settings.
HAROLD LLOYD images and the names of Mr. Lloyd’s films are all trademarks and/or service marks of Harold Lloyd Entertainment Inc. Images and movie frame images reproduced courtesy of The Harold Lloyd Trust and Harold Lloyd Entertainment Inc.
The Turning Point (C) Paramount Pictures Corporation.
A shame that nothing remains of so many of these locales……….but thanks to you we can still visit them!!
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I just stumbled upon your wonderful site. I thought you might be interested in some old home movie footage of Greenacre right about the time it was being built. While the footage is not too clear you can see the waterfall and golf course. I put the website together several years ago for an extension class at UCSD and it was a last minute project so it is not very professional. I have hours of old family footage of old Hollywood and would someday do a then and now project just to see how things have changed over the last 8 decades. http://www.vulcantest.com/Ludecke/restoration.htm
Thanks Chris – I have never seen the Green Acres waterfall before. Early in your film is a shot of the former Giroux mansion in Hollywood. It appeared occasionally in silent films. I’d be glad to help you ID shots from your movies if you’d like to send them along.
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In Harold Lloyd’s HOT WATER (1924), the opening scene has Harold and his friend running through a residential neighborhood to get to a wedding…. Do you know what neighborhood(s) that is and the neighborhood(s) where Harold and Jobyna’s home (and the streets they start to drive down) are located???
I noticed you mention the latter shots of their drive through the city, but not the residential areas in the first part of the film.
There are a number of landmarks that might help give it away, like right after the “traffic button” gag they drive past what looks like a park (or it could be a very large estate) with a beautiful concrete balustrade wall, about waist high, and there are a bunch of businesses and homes that come into clear view.
Every time I watch that movie, I try to look it up, hoping that someone will have finally posted something about it, but I can never find any new references…it drives me crazy not knowing haha
Just thought, if anyone would know (or could figure it out) it would be you 🙂
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Hi Sylvia – I cover Hot Water in great detail in my book Silent Visions. If you use the “Look Inside” function on Amazon, you will likely be able to view most of the pages. Maybe your library has a copy. The opening wedding sidewalk was Lafayette Park Place, also where that balustrade wall was. Harold meets Jobyna at the Kaniwald Apartments 1214 S. Lake Street. I don’t know where their wedded home is, but they drive around Fountain Ave. near Edgemont, Larchmont and W. 1st. St. (the traffic button), 3rd and Broadway St in Santa Monica, on Bunker Hill as shown here (in a different book chapter), and past the now demolished fire/police station in Hollywood on Cahuenga.
Harold would edit together scenes filmed all across Los Angeles – that took lots of care and planning. Lots more Harold on TCM today. Thanks, John
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I found the house, 574 N Beachwood Dr, Larchmont, LA, it’s N of the traffic button.
This is wonderful news. Thank you so much for sharing your discovery. I will write my next blog post about this. Is there anything you’d like me to say about you? How you found this? Thank you once again, I really appreciate this
Best regards, John
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