L.A. noir to now
July 26, 2014 1:14 PM   Subscribe

A visual tour of downtown Los Angeles, now and then:

  • The YT clip was playing in HD for me but here is the original THEN link at archive.org.
  • Expand the Vimeo description to read the filmmaker's notes on aerial filming, safety and best practices.
  • posted by Room 641-A (22 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
    This is pretty great.
    posted by entropicamericana at 2:21 PM on July 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

    God, that Eastern Columbia building is beautiful, isn't it?
    posted by yoink at 2:23 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

    yoink, I was taken with that as well! And the jewelry center building! All these years I've loved reading noir set in Los Angeles, but I didn't really know what it looked like. Just gorgeous.
    posted by theredpen at 2:37 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

    You can see the building I work in behind the Herald-Tribune building at ~1:15 of the NOW video. =D

    Great links!
    posted by carsonb at 2:41 PM on July 26, 2014

    I vaguely recall a voiceover line from that dopey movie 500 Days of Summer, about how DTLA is pretty unremarkable as long as you keep your eyes at street level. But as soon as you look up, the beauty and detail of the architecture really stand out. The NOW video really takes that idea and runs with it. Features some truly excellent perspective on many of the humongous murals around downtown too.

    The video showed the facade of The Mayan theater, but skipped over the awesome decaying sign on the side of the building.
    posted by carsonb at 2:50 PM on July 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

    Having watched the THEN video, I just gotta say that Bunker Hill has really changed. You can see a "4th & Grand" auto mechanic near the beginning. That area is now pegged with gigantic skyscrapers.
    posted by carsonb at 2:59 PM on July 26, 2014

    DTLA is pretty unremarkable as long as you keep your eyes at street level. But as soon as you look up, the beauty and detail of the architecture really stand out

    Yeah, the vandalism of street-level DTLA is just depressing. Some truly beautiful old facades just ripped away in various waves of "modernization." And then, of course, the whole thing slowly falling into virtual ghost-town condition in the 80s and 90s. But there are some fabulous buildings down there. So many of those old Deco buildings simply couldn't be replicated nowadays. To hire skilled artisans to produce and install that kind of sculptural work would just be prohibitively expensive.
    posted by yoink at 3:11 PM on July 26, 2014

    How Bunker Hill lost its Victorians:
    This once leafy hilltop neighborhood of large Victorian homes, the Angel's Flight funicular, multi-unit housing, hotel stock and small businesses infamous from John Fante books, the L.A. Noire video game, and noir films such as Kiss Me Deadly is today the province instead of many a flat-topped skyscraper....

    [According to a report by the CRA/LA authority:] "With the onset of the Great Depression, the area's housing stock became severely deteriorated and crime, fires, and health conditions worsened by the 1940s. The district's squalor and crime discouraged new investments and the recycling of existing housing stock. Bunker Hill, formerly the site of lavish Victorian mansions, came to symbolize urban decay in the heart of the metropolis."

    posted by dhartung at 3:45 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

    Beautiful film quality. Glad someone preserved it as lots of that old nitrate film disintegrates over time.

    I like watching the suspension on those old cars (bouncy!)...and looks like LA had a pretty serious smog problem way back then given the background haze on the long shots....
    posted by CrowGoat at 4:02 PM on July 26, 2014

    Downtown LA, America's next great city! Get in while prices are only prohibitively expensive! Seriously, though, we do have some great urban architecture. It's not Manhattan or Chicago, but it's still pretty nifty.
    posted by persona au gratin at 4:09 PM on July 26, 2014

    Hey, I was at that Nick Cave show.
    posted by persona au gratin at 4:15 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

    Man everytime I see a cool quadcopter video I really want to build a quadcopter, but it also seems like everything cool Id want to do with it is illegal or at least would require a ton of permits.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 4:34 PM on July 26, 2014

    I've always said that LA is a city that challenges you and requires you to be an active participant in it. You can blithely float along and feel like it's nothing special or depressing, but when you engage with the city or really stop to look around you notice that there's some unbelievable things here. (also.. this is not helping with my desire to buy a quad)
    posted by drewbage1847 at 5:05 PM on July 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

    I've always loved Los Angeles the place; I grew up here and have spent 95% of my life here. But in the last few years I've fallen madley in love with Los Angeles the city.

    It's not Manhattan or Chicago

    They had 100 year head start!
    posted by Room 641-A at 6:20 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

    I kept waiting for the Raymond Chandler voice-over on the 40's one...
    posted by jim in austin at 8:38 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

    The discovery of that daytime footage of Bunker Hill has been revelatory for my little cadre of scholars and history geeks. It illustrates the terrible truth about the city's eminent domain seizure of all the private property and eviction of 9000 souls: it was never a slum, just a fatally desirable piece of land with a low tax base and disenfranchised residents. True, once it was announced that eminent domain was in the cards, many property owners stopped maintaining their buildings, and banks refused to make loans. Bunker Hill became run down, no doubt. But it was always a fairly safe (save the occasional brick bat murder), affordable mixed-use neighborhood comprised of elderly pensioners, single working women, Native Americans, artists, families--a community that any city would be lucky to have in its heart.

    Here Gordon Pattison, whose family owned the last two mansions on Bunker Hill, tells you what happened to his elderly friend Harp when it was time to leave the hill.
    posted by Scram at 8:59 PM on July 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

    A slightly odd request: if you recognise some of the locations shown in the quadcopter movie, could you take a moment to help identify them? The film is licensed under Creative Commons (yay!) and I'd love to use it to show how to generate navigable chapters for HTML5 video, but I don't recognize every location for the chapter headings. Thanks!
    posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 9:44 PM on July 26, 2014

    Seconding that yay. That's very cool.

    Archive.org is also requesting location for the THEN film, if anyone can help them out.
    posted by Room 641-A at 3:15 AM on July 27, 2014

    My favorite moment in the Vimeo video is at 2:02, when you can see a rooftop pool in full swing alongside a spectacular roofline. It reminds me of the gauzier love-letter moments of LA Story: " I've seen a lot of L.A. and I think it's also a place of secrets: secret houses, secret lives, secret pleasures."
    posted by apparently at 4:54 AM on July 27, 2014

    Man, I love the THEN film; I wish I could show it to my aunt, who was a teenager in LA then (according to the YouTube comments, the cars are 1948 models, so that's presumably when it was filmed); she could have been one of the young women walking by around 2:20 (except she's shorter than that), and at around 2:45, there's a guy who looks like my grandfather, her father. Also, even though I went to college in LA (well, Eagle Rock) and have consumed my share of LA noir, I didn't really know anything about about Bunker Hill, so I found the Wikipedia article interesting—I should finally get around to reading John Fante's Ask the Dust, which is set there. Thanks for the post!
    posted by languagehat at 7:37 AM on July 27, 2014

    Having a good time filling in buildings and murals on the spreadsheet.
    posted by carsonb at 10:05 AM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

    Very cool. I've worked in downtown L.A. for over 15 years now, but I rarely see the portions that were filmed by the quadcopter.
    posted by malocchio at 6:27 AM on July 28, 2014

    « Older I love life and I love me, but I don’t want to...   |   Between dreams & reality Newer »

    This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments