Sunday, September 28, 2008

Glendale On Film: Crime Wave (1952)

Crime Wave brings together several elements I enjoy: Glendale, Film Noir and Sterling Hayden. It was made in 1952 in 13 days on a minimal budget, and as a result of the aggressive shooting schedule almost every outdoor shot was filmed on location primarily in Glendale. There are also a several locations in Atwater Village and Toluca Lake. Crime Wave was filmed and 1952 and released in 1954. The movie itself is actually quite good. The heist plot is fairly interesting, the cinematography is excellent, the cast is competent and the running time is a refreshingly brisk 73 minutes.

I've taken screen captures from the film and recreated a number of them today.
San Fernando Road, looking north towards Sonora.

Looking south from San Fernando Road and Alma. Note the sign referring to the now-defunct Grand Central Air Terminal, which would have been just across the tracks.

This building is still there, and is still an animal hospital! That's a very young Charles Bronson.

Here is the building today at San Fernando and Alma.

This is looking north on San Fernando from Alma.

Here it is today.

Maryland Boulevard, looking north towards Wilson. Note the sign at the back of the Alex. The current Way To Happiness Foundation building is on the right.

This shot in the film continues, and follows the car heading south on Maryland across Broadway.

Looking east on Broadway from between Maryland and Brand.

The film's central heist is of the Bank of America that once stood at the SW corner of Brand and Broadway.

The interior of the bank.

Storefronts on the SW block of Brand/Broadway.

Looking west on Broadway towards Central.

East on Broadway towards Brand.

West on Broadway again, looking towards Orange and Central.

SE corner of Brand & Broadway. If you look closely, you can see Glendale City Hall and the Hotel Glendale in the distance.

Looking south on Brand towards Harvard, with Masonic Temple in backgound.

Car chase on Brand! Looking north with Palmer Ave. in foreground then panning east.

Heading south on Brand with Seeley's in the distance. Note the palm trees in both photos.

Glendale Blvd, Entering Atwater Village.

Looking west on Glendale Blvd. in Atwater Village.

The Hyperion Bridge in Atwater Village, looking much the same as it does today.

Looking east on Glendale Blvd in Atwater Village near the Hyperion Bridge.

Here are a few more captures from the film:
Bob's Big Boy in Toluca Lake.

More downtown Glendale in winter.

The main character's address.

If you know of any other movies that feature Glendale prominently, please let me know in the comments.


Mig said...

"Double Indemnity" -- directed by Billy Wilder and co-written by Raymond Chandler, with Fred McMurray, Barbara Stanwick an Edward G. Robinson shot in a house on Chevy Chase in Glendale. The characters actually spoke about their Glendale location in the movie --

"Body Heat" directed and written by Laurence Kasdan with William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Ted Danson shot a scene in Glendale which doubled for a bar in Florida.

Scott said...

Double Indemnity is a favorite. Next time I get it from Netflix I will take some screen captures. The train station is featured prominently.

Mildred Pierce mentions Glendale quite frequently but didn't show any Glendale locations of interest that I recall.

Anonymous said...

This is a really interesting post! I see the old tram car in there a few times too.


Anonymous said...

Nice detective work.

Downtown Glendale was a bit more interesting before the Galleria grew out of control. Eventually the entire city south of the 134 will be one big mall.

That BofA building at Broadway/Brand was torn down around 1980. I was 14 and used to ride the 436 bus from Eagle Rock to Hollywood. I remember taking an early bus one day so I could stop and watch the wrecking ball for half an hour.

Also, are you certain that's the Big Boy in Toluca Lake, or could it be the one that was on Colorado a block west of Adams?

PS-Sterling Hayden rules. I gotta see the film.

Scott said...

Thanks for the comment. At first I assumed that Bob's Big Boy was the Glendale location, but earlier in that same shot the camera pans past a sign saying "Riverside Drive Florist", and the Toluca Bob's is on Riverside Drive.

Portland via Japan said...

Freakin' amazing post. Lived in Glendale from 1977 to 2007 (with a few breaks in between!) and have seen "The Jewel City Of The Verdugos" change a lot. I've always liked your website but this time you've outdone yourself! Congrats!

BLT said...

Well I finally saw the film so I'm back to look at your photos again. "Crime Wave" is one helluva tight story with great direction and acting. Aside from a couple of cheesey rear-screen shots, I really don't see how they could have improved it.

Interesting how several of the cast members wound up in Kubrick's "The Killing" a couple of years later. This film must have left an impression on young Stanley.

Anonymous said...

Great post! As a 3rd generation alum from Richardson D White Elementary School on Doran St, having lived in the 300 block of N Cedar St (family HQ for decades until abt 1970), I really miss the buildings that had so much more character than so many newer ones.

Thanks for the effort you put into these stills & recreations!

Anonymous said...

Great post! As a 3rd generation alum from Richardson D White Elementary School on Doran St, having lived in the 300 block of N Cedar St (family HQ for decades until abt 1970), I really miss the buildings that had so much more character than so many newer ones.

Thanks for the effort you put into these stills & recreations!

ethereal_reality said...

This is such a great post Scott.
It's really very impressive.

Do your interests include other areas of Los Angeles?
If so, I started a thread on a site called
You can find it in the forum section under 'found' photos. The title of the thread is 'noirish Los Angeles'. Feel free to post your photos if you like.

Keep up the good work. Now I'm off to the video store to find 'Crime Wave'.

Unknown said...

Great post! The then and now pictures are awesome! I just love seeing what has survived since then! Nice work!

Anonymous said...

I commend you!

This is really good, interesting work. We also live in Glendale and are interested in the history of the place. Our favorite of course is Mildred Pierce.

thanks for your effort and good work.


truck rental said...

OH! I think this post is simply wonderful! :) The way you followed the action of the movie on the streets of the city... Such a great idea!

Anonymous said...

What a great post, I loved following the pictures from back then in the movie to today!
Glendale Florist

Glendale Girl said...

Great post! Hidden Los Angeles posted a link to your blog. I grew up and still live in the Tropico section of South Glendale. I've got to see that movie!

Bruce Swanson said...

I was impressed by the longevity of the animal hospital -- both as a building and as a business. But I think I've got that beat. I was looking through the Los Angeles Public Library's photo database of Glendale, where I've lived on and off since 1976 (and have absolutely no memory whatsoever of the BofA building at Brand and Colorado). Anyway, I found this, a look at the SW corner of Brand and Colorado. Look at the left hand margin -- there is what looks very much like part of a Firestone sign, at Elk Street. Today, 81 years later, a Firestone store is still there. On Google's street view, you can maneuver the image and see the (new) Firestone sign, also at Elk.

Jack Bludis said...

Nice Historic Array ...
Good comparison shots ...
Thanks for the trip to the past

Jack Bludis said...

Nice photos of a step-by-step chase. Good comparisons with today.
A great service to those who go there now and were there then.

Kent said...

Wow, great post. Thanks for all the work and thought you put into this piece. I went to R.D. White and lived in Glendale in the 50's and 60s. Kent

the b said...

Great work...I remember Sawyer's hospital in the 40's....near Gordon Duff Welding. I went to R.D. White in 1949-50 when Miss Brinn was Principal..

the b said...

I lived on Norton when a child. I exp;ored that area on foot and bicycle. I recall airplane engine noise day and night during the waning of WW2. After the war was over, much small business moved into the Grand Central complex including model air plane engine maker who made Super Cyclone engines. Also, there was a Griffin used Airplanplace place just across the tracks and I used to examine the planes and even got into a two engine plane. I sat in the pilot's seat and pretended I was bombing the Germans. The owners either did not see me or they did not mind. What days those were. Netting still over San Fernando Road.

the b said...

Just finished looking at the pics again...they stir lots of so what the 40's, there were still a good number of vacant lots here and there. On the lot on the S.E. corner of Norton and San Fernando, some boys had dug a world class fox hole. It was huge..must have been eight feet deep and it was bell shaped. Grew larger at the bottom. I recall a make shift ladder was needed to get to the bottom. It caught the city's attention and they filled it up. No one seems to recall the Galemore Apts on Glendale just South of Monterey Rd. About seven stories, old, but nice. Through the front door, you could see a beautiful oil painting on wall. I delivered the Daily News to residents. Across the street was Rice's Hobby shop where I bought model airpanes. Just North of Rices was Hammil's to Old English Cleaners. Person's Rx on N.W. Corner. oN San Fernando, there was a huge clock that hung on out side wall and it had lots of neon..TIMM Industries, was around it in neon. Mitchell Camera and then "Dick Love's Good food" Tell me any memories about R.D. White..please. the b

Richard Harland Smith said...

Arch Oboler's Five concludes in Glendale.

David said...

Very well done.

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting all the comparison shots! I saw the movie a few years ago and loved it. Looks like at least the solo DVD has been discontinued, so I bought a few. New copies are almost $100 on Amazon. They still make the box set,Film Noir Classic Collection (Vol. 4). This is the best example of Glendale in the movies that I know of. -Jonathan of

Unknown said...

You've probably seen this, but for those who haven't-- fun stuff on the Masonic temple.

Unknown said...

Beautiful thank you so much!

M.D. Perkins said...

Fantastic work in finding all the comparison points. I posted a link to this page from my own blog writeup about Crime Wave. Cheers.