What do you do when you're a die-hard film noir enthusiast living in the city that played a backdrop for many noir classics? You embark on a noir pilgrimage, of course! I spent an unforgettable week exploring Los Angeles' noir heritage, a journey steeped in history, intrigue, and nostalgia.
Day 1: Union Station and Chinatown
First stop: Union Station. A classic piece of L.A. history, it was featured in the 1950 noir film, "Union Station." Walking its bustling corridors, you can almost feel the tense energy of William Holden on the trail of a dangerous criminal gang. Just a short walk away is Chinatown—both the historical neighborhood and the site of the eponymous 1974 neo-noir film. Despite the years, it still exudes an exotic allure that pulls you into a web of mystery and deceit.
Day 2: The Bradbury Building Famous for its role in "Blade Runner," the Bradbury Building also has a noir history. It was featured in "D.O.A.," the 1950 noir thriller. The wrought-iron railings, marble stairs, and ornate glass ceiling all add to its old-world charm, and it's easy to imagine Edmond O'Brien desperately seeking an antidote here.
Day 3: The Crossroads of the World Next, I paid a visit to the Crossroads of the World, featured in "L.A. Confidential." Standing at the mock ocean liner office, I couldn't help but feel a little like Detective Exley, unraveling a conspiracy at the heart of the city.
Day 4: Hollywood Boulevard No noir tour of Los Angeles would be complete without a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard. It's been the setting for countless noir films and novels, including Raymond Chandler's "The Little Sister." It's surreal, stepping into the world of Philip Marlowe, tracing his steps along this iconic boulevard.
Day 5: Angel's Flight On the last day, I visited Angel's Flight, the historic railway featured in Robert Altman's "The Long Goodbye." Riding the funicular is like stepping back in time, the city spreading out below, steeped in the mystery and history of noir.
Visiting these locations was more than a sightseeing tour—it was a journey through noir history, a chance to step into the world of my favorite movies, if only for a little while. So, to all my fellow noir enthusiasts out there, I say this: put on your trench coats, don your fedoras, and embark on your noir pilgrimage. Trust me, it's a trip you won't forget!
- Check opening hours before you go.
- Most locations are accessible by public transportation, but having a car gives you flexibility.
- Read up on the films each location is associated with to enhance your experience.
- Don't forget to enjoy the city beyond the noir—it's worth it!
So, fellow noir fans, ready for your own noir pilgrimage?