The Modern Times – Citizen Kane – Humphrey Bogart Factory Gate

Matching views from Modern Times and Citizen Kane.

Charlie again out of work – tough times for Charles Foster Kane – matching views from Modern Times and Citizen Kane.

modern-times-02I recently watched Citizen Kane (1941) for the first time in years, broadcast on TCM, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Having seen it many times before, the scenes and the dialog were all familiar, but still powerful and engaging. But now that I’m afflicted with ‘location-itis’ I couldn’t help but notice a common setting appearing in the Orson Welles classic with a scene from Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936) (see above and right).

The closed factory gate depicting Charles Foster Kane reeling from the 1929 crash during the mock newsreel of his life at the outset of Citizen Kane is the same factory gate Chaplin used for the factory scenes late in Modern Times where Charlie and other workers recently re-hired after a long shutdown must suddenly go on strike, leaving Charlie once again out of work. You can read more about this Modern Times setting in my book Silent Traces.

The Great O'Malley

Humphrey Bogart runs to save his job in The Great O’Malley (1937).

Bogie, down on his luck.

Bogie, down on his luck.

The year following Modern Times the factory gate appeared again during The Great O’Malley (1937), a Warner Bros. melodrama with Pat O’Brien in the lead. When by-the-book policeman O’Brien stops Humphrey Bogart for a minor traffic infraction, a loud muffler on his car, it causes Bogie to be late, losing his chance for a factory job. Unable to support his family, Bogart commits a petty crime and is sent to jail. O’Brien eventually learns compassion, and secretly helps Bogie’s family, and helps

Delmar Watson

Delmar Watson

arrange for his early parole. Delmar Watson appears with a credited role. The nine Watson family children, “The First Family of Hollywood,” appeared collectively in nearly 1,000 silent and classic-era films, and are honored with a star on Hollywood Boulevard. Their father Coy Watson Sr. was a Hollywood cowboy and special effects man who among other projects rigged the flying carpet for Douglas Fairbanks in The Thief of Bagdad (1924).

The gate stood at Ramirez (arrow). LAPL.

Click to enlarge. The factory gate stood at Ramirez and Howard (arrow) east of the former Chinatown. LAPL.

The Chaplin crew at work filming Modern Times near the corner of Ramirez and Howard (note the street sign at back).

The Chaplin crew at work filming Modern Times near the corner of Ramirez and Howard (note the street sign at back).

When I read correctly online that Balboa Park in San Diego, and Oheka Castle, the enormous Long Island estate of magnate Otto Kahn, were used to depict Xanadu during the mock newsreel footage from Citizen Kane, I couldn’t help myself, and created these ‘then and now’ images, presented below without further elaboration. Color images (C) Google.

kane-pan-01 kane-pan-02 kane-pan-03 kane-pan-04 kane-pan-05 kane-pan-06 kane-pan-07 kane-pan-08 kane-pan-09 kane-pan-10

This entry was posted in Charlie Chaplin, Chinatown, Modern Times, Orson Welles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Modern Times – Citizen Kane – Humphrey Bogart Factory Gate

  1. Chris Bungo says:

    Nice work John. I too am afflicted with “location-itis” and apparently there is no cure! 🙂


  2. Andrew Charity says:

    John, I’d love to know which estate of the two is which in the last group of photos.


  3. Pingback: Keaton and Orson Welles – A High Sign Touch of Evil | Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

  4. mstergreene says:

    VERY late in commenting, but I suppose I should point out that Balboa Park, then known as the “Exhibition Grounds”, was used as a location to stand in for Monte Carlo while sets were being built during the early part of shooting on Erich von Stroheim’s “Foolish Wives”. If you see THAT film, you might get “location-itis” by the EYEful! 😀


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