Changeling | 2008
Clint Eastwood astonishingly recreates 1928 Los Angeles – with the help of state-of-the-art digital technology – moving San Bernardino to downtown Los Angeles, and restoring City Hall to its status as tallest building on the city’s skyline.
After the disappearance of her son, Walter, single mother Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) comes up against the might of the notoriously corrupt and image-conscious old-time LAPD, previously explored in Chinatown and LA Confidential.
Much of Twenties Los Angeles was filmed on the ‘New York Street’ (unfortunately destroyed in the disastrous fire of June 2008) on the Universal Studios backlot, while a digitally-added waterfront transformed the studio’s ‘Tenement Street’ set into the ‘Vancouver’ neighbourhood to which unhinged killer Gordon Northcott flees.
East of the city, in Pasadena, you’ll find Walter's school, which is Webster Elementary School, 2101 East Washington Boulevard, and also the church of crusading priest, Reverend Briegleb (John Malkovich).
This is All Saints Church, 132 North Euclid Avenue, Pasadena – which previously featured as the site of the memorial service for Ryan Phillippe at the end of Cruel Intentions, and doubled for ‘Harvard’ in Reese Witherspoon comedy Legally Blonde.
The railway station at which Mrs Collins is presented with her new-found 'son’ – digitally transposed to downtown Los Angeles – is the recently restored San Bernardino Railroad Depot, 1170 West Third Street in San Bernardino. One of the oldest train stations in California, it was built by the famed Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in 1918.
The Collins home, supposedly ‘North 23rd Avenue’ in ‘Lincoln Heights’, an area east of downtown Los Angeles which has since been redeveloped, is on West Second Street, between North Monte Vista Avenue and North San Dimas Avenue in the Old Town district of San Dimas, about 35 mile east of LA.
The exterior of Los Angeles City Hall, besieged by a demonstration of indignant Angelinos, is the real thing on Spring Street, but the interior is the familiar ballroom of the Park Plaza Hotel, 607 South Park View Street, overlooking MacArthur Park, downtown – featured in dozens of films including Barton Fink, New York, New York, Chaplin, Stargate, Mystery Men and Not Another Teen Movie.
The ‘Wineville Chicken Ranch’ was meticulously recreated in the desert at Lancaster, north of Los Angeles. After his arrest, Northcott is taken to San Quentin State Prison, at San Rafael on I-580 just over the Toll Bridge from Richmond, northern California.