LOS ANGELES NOIR

My hatred of modern-day “L. A.” (as some people like to call it) is equaled only by my love of Los Angeles (with a hard ‘g’ please) before my time, the 1950s and earlier.

From Bryan Castañeda comes a link to the wonderful footage above, apparently filmed to be used as process shots for the 1948 movie Shockproof, directed by Douglas Sirk.

In the early days of cinema, itinerant cameramen would have collected footage like this as “actualities” for exhibition to audiences spellbound by the sheer beauty and fascination of tracking shots depicting their own or distant cities. By 1948, the spell of such shots was broken, at least as a stand-alone commercial product, relegated to material for back-screen projections, but the footage recorded is just as beautiful and fascinating as that collected by the cinematographers of the Edwardian era.

4 thoughts on “LOS ANGELES NOIR

  1. “Los Angle-ese” (the hard “g” way) is exactly how Anjelica Huston pronounces it in “The Grifters.” That movie came out in 1990 and I think that’s the first time I ever heard it pronounced it that way.

    And why, sir, I shall not have an East Coaster (!!!) telling this native son of El Lay how to pronounce his city’s name! Good day to you, sir! (In my defense, at least I never say “Cali” or “Frisco.” *shudder*)

    • You hear the hard ‘g’ in lots of early movies. It’s the way you pronounce the name of the old, lost Los Angeles — what people call it today is something else. In my defense, I put in a lot of hard time in “L. A.” over the course of 25 years and have earned a right to pontificate about it. Curiously, I prefer “Frisco” to “The City”, which is how current residents like to refer to it. Frisco is what Jack London and his ilk called it when it was a rough and ready town — not the prissy little preserve of Big Nanny it is today. I live mostly in the past — I admit it.

    • Your hear both pronunciations in movies, from the 30s into the 50s, with the ANGLE-ess version getting rarer and rarer. By the 60s it seems to have settled into the modern version almost exclusively, except with contrarians like myself.

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