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Old Posted Nov 28, 2010, 4:44 AM
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GaylordWilshire GaylordWilshire is online now
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Cool Pico-Union, 1964



I always wondered exactly where Cornelia Hilyard, the poetess played by Olivia de Havilland in this odd movie, lived. It was clearly filmed in L.A. in one of those parts of town that interest me the most--those neighborhoods of big-gabled houses from, say, Wilton Place east, down as far as West Adams and University Park. I had a feeling it was most likely north of the 10, somewhere around Pico or Venice. I watched the movie again and discovered the number of the featured house--1132--which I'd never noticed and which would in fact put it only a block and a half or so above Pico, it if were, as I suspected, on a north-south thoroughfare. The movie uses not only the front of the house but the back, including the service alley, which indicates a street closer to downtown. Well, I took a look at a Google map for streets with alleys, and after a few tries I found it--1132 S. Lake Street. Lady in a Cage is seen by some as precociously reflective of post JFK-assassination America (it was released in July 1964) and the end of a supposedly orderly country. In terms of L.A., it even seems predictive of the Watts Riots a year away in another hot summer, and even has some characters eerily suggestive of the Manson Family to come. There are shots in the movie reflective of fears of "The Bomb" (military jets in formation overhead) and of urban alienation and violence. (You might say that the film has a "late-noir" aspect.) It is interesting to me that Lake Street in 1964 looks as good as it does--although as you watch more of the movie you can see that it's in a neighborhood beginning to deteriorate. No doubt after her ordeal Mrs. Hilyard sold 1132 and moved west to safer precincts, or maybe to Pasadena (she's that type). Lady in a Cage is sort of a fun if not silly movie, and at the same time disturbing--worth looking at for a glimpse into how downtown L.A. began to crumble in reality. Here are some screenshots of the movie, and their corresponding current views. There is obvious decay and even squalor in this neighborhood now, but also here and there are still-well-maintained sections, and, what has always struck me, seemingly miles and miles of great big pre-Depression houses and apartment buildings. There is still alot of life in these old L.A. houses, even if bars on the windows might be necessary these days.





Olivia in a Cage















Hello young man...





La Sothern behind 1132.




Partial rear view of 1132 S. Lake from Alvarado Street.




North toward buildings at Lake and 11th Street, 1964 and now.
In the movie, an absurd number of cars (the same 20 or so
over and over) stream in both directions on Lake Street, past
dead dogs and drunks, apparently to underscore the frantic pace
of the city and modern life. Yes, it's the Fourth of July weekend,
but you'd think Lake is the only route into and out of L.A.




The end of Caan and the movie.



All black and white photos: Paramount Pictures Corporation

All color photos: Google Street View

Last edited by GaylordWilshire; Nov 28, 2010 at 1:22 PM.
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