Once location shooting became an fixture of film noir directors managed to use about
every landmark and geographic feature in and around Los Angeles. Unlike everything
in Bunker Hill which is gone, many of the these places still exist and still attract
The Bradbury Building
The five storey Bradbury building in downtown Los Angeles was built in 1893. Its
ornate ironwork interior was first used by director Billy Wilder in Double Indemnity
and has subsequently been seen in more than 24 films. The building is still a functioning
office building and has become something of a tourist attraction for visitors.
Edmond O’Brien contfronts his killer inside The Bradbury Building in D.O.A.
Ann Sheridan’s attorney’s office inside the Bradbury Building in The Unfaithful.
MacArthur Park is located west of downtown on Wilshire Blvd. The park dates to the
1880s and was formerly known as Westlake Park. It was popular for boating and place
for young couples to meet. The park was used in a half dozen noirs.
The name of the park was changed after WWII to honor General Douglas MacArthur. The
Westlake district in which the park is located is plagued by drug dealers and high
Broderick Crawford talks with Ruth Roman on park bench in 1954’s Down Three Dark Streets.
Zachary Scott walks along the lake in The Unfaithful .
Arthur Kennedy and Lizabeth Scott on the boat dock in Too Late For Tears.
Edmond O’Brien waits for Ida Lupino in 1953’s The Bigamist.
MacArthur Park Today
During the film noir era most travel was by train so the Union Train Station near
downtown certainly was used in noir. The station was built in 1938 in the mission
style architecture and remains a popular location, especially for retro films. It
has been used in more that 50 films
Burt Lancaster inside the terminal in Criss Cross.
William Holden strolls the terminal in 1950’s Union Station. The film was set in New York City but filmed entirely in L.A.
Edmund Gwenn walks out of Union Station in The Bigamist.
Dick Powell walks the columned corridor in Cry Danger.
Union Station today
Malibu became well known as a backdrop for the surfer and beach party films of the
1960s. But long before that the area was popular with noir directors. It’s provided
quite a contrast in the otherwise shadowy world of noir.
Vince Edwards goes for swim in 1958’s Murder By Contract. In the backseat is Herschel Bernardi
Joan Crawford at a beach house in Mildred Pierce in 1945.
Ralph Meeker gets chased by thugs on the beach in Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly.
Mickey Rooney contemplates on the beach in Drive A Crooked Road in 1954. The house directly behind Rooney was also used in 711 Ocean Drive (below) and Tension (right).
Audrey Totter with Lloyd Gough at beach house in Tension.
Edmond O’Brien plays with his dog in 711 Ocean Drive.
American Film Noir
The same Malibu house from Kiss Me Deadly is used in Loophole in 1954 as Barry Sullivan approaches in car from the other side.