Buster Keaton and Film Noir? – It’s Also True

It’s now Buster Keaton’s turn, after Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin (see prior posts), to brush shoulders with film noir.

Buster Keaton in College (1927) to the left, and Van Heflin in Act of Violence (1948) right.

The station is now the Glendale Amtrak Station.

The Glendale Southern Pacific station was barely three years old when Buster Keaton used it to portray the station for Clayton, the fictitious college town where Buster’s character pursues higher learning in the 1927 comedy College. Above to the right, the station was also the setting for the climax to Act of Violence, a 1948 noir drama starring Van Heflin and Robert Ryan, who portray re-united army veterans who were once imprisoned together in a German POW camp during WWII.  Act of Violence contains several scenes filmed on Court Hill, near the Hill Street Tunnel, and on Bunker Hill, near Angel’s Flight.  Unfortunately, these nighttime scenes are darkly lit, and tightly framed, so there is not much to see.

Matching views looking north. Glendale is re-named Santa Lisa for the Act of Violence shot. California History Room, California State Library, Sacramento, California.

Act of Violence does contain a nice view of Clay Street, the narrow alley running between and parallel to Hill Street and Olive Street, and underneath the mid-way point of the Angel’s Flight elevated tracks.  As shown below, Harold Lloyd filmed a runaway bus stunt on Clay Street for his 1926 comedy feature For Heaven’s Sake.

Earlier during Act of Violence, Van Heflin runs south down Clay Street towards Angles Flight. The same Clay Street setting appears during the wild double-decker bus chase in Harold Lloyd's 1926 comedy For Heaven's Sake, above left. The same area of Clay Street is marked with a yellow box in each image.

Harold Lloyd filmed many other movies on Bunker Hill, and I will explore more Lloyd/noir connections in further posts.

College frame images reproduced courtesy of The Douris Corporation, David Shepard, Film Preservation Associates, and Kino International Corporation.

HAROLD LLOYD images and the names of Mr. Lloyd’s films are all trademarks and/or service marks of Harold Lloyd Entertainment Inc. Images and movie frame images reproduced courtesy of The Harold Lloyd Trust and Harold Lloyd Entertainment Inc.

Act of Violence copyright 1948 Loew’s Incorporated.

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This entry was posted in Angels Flight, Bunker Hill, Buster Keaton, College, Film Noir, For Heaven's Sake, Harold Lloyd, Los Angeles Historic Core and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Buster Keaton and Film Noir? – It’s Also True

  1. Nino Zachetti says:

    Also filmed here was Double Indemnity…

  2. Pingback: Project Keaton: John Bengtson’s Buster Keaton and Film Noir |

  3. Pingback: The Great Big Project Keaton Blogroll Page |

  4. Pingback: The Glendale Amtrak Station from “Bulletproof” | IAMNOTASTALKER

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