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Wednesday October 27th 2021

Los Angeles for Film Fans: Westside & Malibu 3

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Amapola Lane, Bel-Air
Definitely NO wire hangers – ever – Amapola Lane, Bel-Air

Before heading further west toward the coast, you might want to check out one location a little to the south.

Slip into something more exotic, if less comfortable, for the Nuart Cinema, 11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, famed for its weekly – interactive – showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The picture house is somehow transported to ‘San Francisco’ for 1978 comedy-thriller Foul Play, with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase, and also seen in the reviled 1989 John Belushi biopic Wired, with a pre-Shield Michael Chiklis as the legendary comic.

A couple of exclusive neighbourhoods where you’re unlikely to be invited in for tea are Bel Air and Brentwood.

To the northwest of Los Angeles Country Club stand two famous mansions worth noting, but of which you'll see nothing more than the gates unless you're extremely well connected. 10236 Charing Cross Road was the Playboy Mansion, home of that sexist old reprobate Hugh Hefner. On screen, it's the site of the groovy party where Steve McQueen bemoans his bad luck in in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. The estate also appears at the end of the concrete mixer chase in Beverly Hills Cop II while in Charlie's Angels Full Throttle it appears as – well, what else? – a convent.

On the other side of the road, the former estate of L.A. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt at 10231 Charing Cross Road provided the exterior of the Lebowski mansion in The Big Lebowski. More recently it's been rented to celeb couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

Further northwest and, happily visible, 417 Amapola Lane, off Bel Air Road in Bel Air, became the ‘Brentwood’ home of Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) in the deliriously camp classic, Mommie Dearest. Joan Crawford’s real home lies a couple of miles to the west (be patient), and on the way you might want to take a peek at 10957 Bellagio Road, just on the other side of Bel Air Country Club, where Alfred Hitchcock lived from 1942 until his death in 1980.

The circular tower of the Hotel Angeleno, 170 North Church Lane alongside the San Diego Freeway, may be familiar from Michael Mann's Heat and a fleeting appearance in Alexander Payne's wine country epic Sideways.

The nearby J Paul Getty Museum, 1200 Getty Center Drive, houses a collection of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present, and is reached by a three-car, cable-pulled hovertrain funicular from the visitors' parking centre at the bottom of the hill. Trekkies will recognise is as yet another incarnation of Starfleet HQ, this time in 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness.

Cliffwod Avenue, Brentwood
Party on! – Cliffwod Avenue

The western reaches of Sunset lead to Brentwood itself, where you’ll find The 'Mar Vista Rest Home', to which JJ Gittes (Jack Nicholson) and Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) go to "find a place for dad" but discover a whole load of unwittingly rich inmates in Roman Polanski’s Chinatown.

At the time of filming, it was the Eastern Star Home, but has since become the Archer School for Girls, 11725 Sunset Boulevard.

Carry on west along Sunset and turn north into Cliffwood Avenue. In the middle of all this exclusivity, the house at 140 North Cliffwood Avenue is the venue for the party toward the end of Greg Mottola's 2007 Superbad.

At little further northwest to Bristol Avenue. No wire hangers – ever! Yes, 426 North Bristol Avenue, was the real home of Joan Crawford during her glittering heyday from 1929 to 1955, where the bizarre events recounted in Mommie Dearest are supposed to have unfolded.

North of Santa Monica, towards Will Rogers State Park, the Riviera Country Club, 1250 Capri Drive at Sunset Boulevard, in Pacific Palisades, was the golf course in 1938’s Blockade, with Henry Fonda, the 1953 Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis comedy The Caddy, but most famously the classic 1952 Spencer Tracy-Katherine Hepburn comedy Pat and Mike. In the past, the club's membership included the likes of Charlie Chaplin (though according to the club's website, they don't quite know how to spell his name), Mary Pickford, Walt Disney, Howard Hughes, Humphrey Bogart and of course loads more.

Just to the west, is Palisades Charter High School, 15777 Bowdoin Street, Pacific Palisades, which was ‘Sunset Ridge High School’, Lindsay Lohan’s school in Freaky Friday, and can also be seen in Brian de Palma's 1976 Carrie and in Old School. Former pupils include Jeff Bridges, JJ Abrams, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Forest Whitaker.

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