Los Angeles: Westside and Malibu

Westward Beach

Westward Beach at Point Dume – Planet of the Apes

From here, take a trip west along the Pacific Coast Highway toward Malibu.

At Malibu Lagoon State Beach, an estuary at the mouth of Malibu Creek, is the famed Surfrider Beach – home to Gidget, Beach Blanket Bingo and those crazy surfing movies of the 1960s.

Geoffrey’s, 27400 Pacific Coast Highway, is the clifftop terrace restaurant, at which Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) greets Burt Reynolds (“Asshole!”) in Robert Altman’s The Player.

Geoffreys, Malibu

Geoffrey’s – Malibu’s terraced clifftop restaurant – featured in Robert Altman’s The Player

It’s on the pier at Paradise Cove, 28128 Pacific Coast that Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson kiss and make up after surviving Robert Redford’s Indecent Proposal. The pier was also transformed into the lakefront beach resort in American Pie 2.

Westward Beach, between Zuma Beach and Point Dume, on the western side of Malibu, is used in four striking – though very different – closing scenes.

Robert Aldrich’s 1955 thriller Kiss Me Deadly ends with the opening of a mysterious box In a Malibu beach house, which triggers a bizarrely slow-acting nuclear explosion.

The strange blaze of light as the box is opened at the end of Kiss Me Deadly has been referenced by several films, including Alex Cox’s Repo Man and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

The house goes up in a spectacular fireball yet, there it is – intact – seven years later at the climax of a film by the same director.

Westward Beach

Westward Beach at Point Dume – the endings of Kiss Me Deadly and Baby Jane

“So we could have been friends all along?” realises Jane Hudson (Bette Davis) as sister Blanche (Joan Crawford) spills the beans at the end of psycho-shocker turned camp classic What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? As Blanche croaks and Jane buys ice cream, the Kiss Me Deadly beach house is instantly recognisable in the background.

Westward is also the site of the strangely disturbing final scene of Joel Coen’s Barton Fink as the disillusioned writer (John Turturro) stares mournfully out to sea, with his own sinister box, trapped in the world of the mysterious painting.

And so to the climactic twist that ends the original Planet of the Apes, as astronaut Taylor (Charlton Heston) enters the Forbidden Zone, on the far southeastern end of Westward Beach, at Point Dume. Cross the wide curving beach and clamber over the rocks to the east until you get to the quiet, and often deserted, little cove surrounded by cliffs, where Taylor makes his shocking discovery.

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