Pulp Fiction | 1994
It can only be Quentin Tarantino. The director’s cool and flashy homage to pop culture was, naturally, filmed around Los Angeles.
The sad news is that a good many of the film's locations have now gone.
The diner held up by Pumpkin and Honey-Bunny (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) was the Hawthorne Grill, 13763 Hawthorne Boulevard at 137th Street, Hawthorne, south of Los Angeles Airport. The grill stood empty for a while, and has now been demolished to make way for AutoZone auto parts store.
Also vanished without trace is the motel where Butch (Bruce Willis) hides out after unwisely winning the Battle of the Titans. It was the River Glen Motel, which stood at 2934 Riverside Drive off Los Feliz Boulevard, just to the west of the Golden State Freeway southeast of Griffith Park. Businesses have finally been built on the spot, which lay vacant for a long while.
After hanging on for years, the fight to preserve the site of the ‘Battle of the Titans’ was finally lost, in 2009 when the historic Raymond Theatre, 129 North Raymond Avenue in Pasadena, was gutted to provide condominiums. Concert scenes for another certified classic, This Is Spinal Tap, were also filmed here. Although the theatre’s frontage has been preserved, another great Los Angeles location lost forever.
Butch escapes into an alleyway, which isn’t the rear of the Raymond at all, but across the road in Kendall Alley – an all-purpose alleyway, briefly glimpsed standing in for a ‘Seville’ street in Knight And Day.
Thinking he’s got away, Butch sees Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) crossing Fletcher Drive, up toward Glendale, alongside the Glendale Freeway, (in a sly homage to Marion Crane glimpsing her boss in Hitchcock’s Psycho) outside Foster’s Freeze, 2760 Fletcher Drive at Atwater Avenue.
The spot is only a few blocks away from the home of druggies Lance and Jody (Eric Stoltz and Rosanna Arquette), where Vince has to plunge the syringe into the chest of comatose Mia Wallace after she ODs. This is 3519 La Clede Avenue, just south of Glendale Boulevard in Atwater Village, near Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
The apartment block where Vince and Jules (John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson) sample Big Kahuna burgers before wiping out the guys who crossed Marsellus, was on the corner of Van Ness Avenue and Harold Way, just north of Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood. It’s now another vacant lot, though you might recognise the parking lot opposite, beneath the Hollywood Freeway.
Vince picks up Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) from the luxury pad of Marsellus at 1541 Summitridge Drive, on the slopes above Beverly Hills. It’s very private, so there’s little to see from the road, and for a piddling $7,500,000 it could be yours – glass walls, infinity pools and all.
And ‘Jack Rabbit Slim’ – “Next best thing to a time machine” – well, you never could have ordered a Douglas Sirk Burger here at all. It was no more than a huge set built in the film company’s warehouse in Culver City. The dining booths are six vintage convertibles and the raised dancefloor in the center of the diner is shaped, in case you hadn’t noticed, as a tachometer – an homage to Howard Hawks’ Red Line 7000 and Elvis Presley’s Speedway.
The distinctive exterior, though, is not only real but still standing. It was a disused bowling alley at 1435 Flower Street, east of Sonora Avenue, in Glendale. Now part of the Walt Disney Imagineering campus, the Disney Company has thankfully retained some of the building's flavour keeping original elements from the bowling alley in its interior design.
‘Jack Rabbit Slim’s’ was inspired by architect John Lautner’s original diners and the retro-themed Ed Debevic’s, which stood at 134 North La Cienega Boulevard near Beverly Hills.
Also still with us is the money loan store into which Butch and Marsellus stumble – only to run into a whole lot of trouble with Maynard, Zed and that little scamp, the Gimp. It’s the Crown Pawn Shop, 20933 Roscoe Boulevard, in the small strip mall west of DeSoto Avenue in Canoga Park.
• Many thanks to Connie Schlobohm for help with this section.