Tonight marks the Turner Classic Movie Channel premiere of the 2011 multi-Oscar-winning Best Picture The Artist. Depicting the silent movie era, and filmed on location in Hollywood, the movie has many amazing connections to early Hollywood history and its biggest stars. Here are a few highlights from my series of posts about The Artist.
Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights
To begin, Jean Dujardin’s character George Valentine premiered his failed production Tears of Love at the same theater where Charlie Chaplin premiered City Lights (1931) – the Los Angeles Theater. You can read more about this amazing theater’s appearance in The Artist HERE.
Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid
Bérénice Bejo’s character Peppy Miller lives in a mansion located at 56 Fremont Place, occupied for a time in 1918-1919 by America’s Sweetheart, silent film superstar Mary Pickford.
Across the street from Mary Pickford’s house is the mansion where Edna Purviance abandons her infant son (see above) at the beginning of Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1921).
The mansion where George Valentine lives is located at 104 Fremont Place (see above), behind the home Chaplin used when filming The Kid and close to Mary Pickford’s home. Read more about the Fremont Place neighborhood HERE.
Buster Keaton’s One Week
The studio entrance gate and other exterior studio scenes portrayed in The Artist were filmed at the Red Studios, 846 N. Cahuenga Boulevard, two blocks due south from the site of the former Buster Keaton Studios. The block where the Red Studios is situated was used as a backlot for the Metro Studios to build exterior sets. It was here that Buster Keaton constructed his disastrous build-it-yourself two-story home (left) for his debut independent short film One Week (1920). To see vintage aerial photos of the backlot where Keaton filmed One Week, and how the Red Studios portrayed the Maroon Cartoon Studio in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, you can read more HERE.
Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last!
The triumphant 1927 premiere of George Valentin’s hit movie A Russian Affair was staged inside the historic Orpheum Theater, located in the heart of the Los Angeles Historic Core, at 842 S. Broadway.
As shown above, the Orpheum Theater stands just a few steps north from where Harold Lloyd staged his clock climbing stunt from Safety Last! (1923). You can read more about the Orpheum Theater HERE and many posts about Safety Last! HERE.
Present Day Backlots and Uggie
My other posts show a variety of The Artist filming locations not reported elsewhere, including scenes where Uggie the dog comes to the rescue, where Peppy comes to the rescue, and how the present day Warner Bros. and Paramount Studios backlots were used to replicate silent-era Hollywood.
The Los Angeles Times reports some locales appearing in The Artist, as does Lindsay Blake’s ImNotAStalker.Com; including George’s duplex apartment; the history of the Red Studios where much of The Artist was filmed; and of the AFI “hospital” and the Wilshire Ebell where many interior scenes were filmed. The Wilshire Ebell Theater, at 743 Lucerne Boulevard, is also just steps away from the Mary Pickford home on Fremont Place.
The Artist (C) La Petite Reine, The Weinstein Company. All images from Chaplin films made from 1918 onwards, copyright © Roy Export Company Establishment. CHARLES CHAPLIN, CHAPLIN, and the LITTLE TRAMP, photographs from and the names of Mr. Chaplin’s films are trademarks and/or service marks of Bubbles Incorporated SA and/or Roy Export Company Establishment. 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. One Week licensed by Douris UK, Ltd. Used with permission.