The Artist Locations Part 2, Roger Rabbit, and Buster Keaton’s Debut – One Week

Click to enlarge. The Kinograph Studio entryway and other studio scenes portrayed in The Artist were filmed at the Red Studios, 846 N. Cahuenga Boulevard. The Lillian Way entrance pictured here was fixed up to appear in the movie. The red box marks the same sliding door and shed in both images. The left yellow oval marks the shadow cast by the modern day rooftop air-conditioning unit (the right yellow oval), replaced with open sky in the movie frame. The other entrance to the Red Studios on Cahuenga was used in Who Framed Roger Rabbit ?, see end of post below. (c) 2011 Google.

The Artist depicts the romance between a fading silent film star and a rising “talkie” ingénue, set in Hollywood during 1927 to 1932.  Writer-director Michel Hazanavicius, and his mostly French cast and crew, traveled to California to film at true Hollywood locations in order to re-create the magic of the past.   Continuing my prior post about locations appearing in the movie, I explain here how The Artist was filmed just steps away from Buster Keaton’s small studio, and where he filmed his debut solo short film One Week (1920).

Buster Keaton's home in One Week stood on the block bounded by Lillian Way, Waring, Cahuenga, and Willoughby, now occupied by the Red Studios appearing in The Artist.

The Kinograph Studio entryway and other studio scenes portrayed in The Artist were filmed at the Red Studios, 846 N. Cahuenga Boulevard, two blocks due south from the former Buster Keaton Studios, and across the street, to the south, from the former Metro Studios.

From between 1920 to 1928, Buster created 19 short films, and ten feature comedies, from his studio located in Hollywood at Eleanor and Lillian Way.  Before being folded into MGM, the former Metro Studios were located adjacent to Buster’s lot.  For many years the block on which the Red Studios now stands was used as a backlot for the Metro Studios to build exterior sets.   It was here that Buster Keaton constructed his disastrous build-it-yourself two-story home for his debut independent short film One Week (1920).

Click to enlarge. The block bounded by Lillian Way, Waring, Cahuenga, and Willoughby, was a backlot for the former Metro Studios, and is today the site for the Red Studios used to film The Artist. Notice the large castle set in the far corner of Lillian Way and Waring. The bungalow at 817 Cahuenga (the upper yellow oval) partially blocked by the apartment in the circa 1925 image above, still stands on Cahuenga today (red oval directly above), the only structure to appear in both images. Vintage image Bruce Torrence Hollywood Historical Collection. Aerial image (c) 2011 Microsoft Corporation, Pictometry Bird's Eye (c) 2010 Pictometry International Corp.

This circa 1925 aerial view of the Metro backlot above shows the block on which the Red Studios would be later built.  The aerial view looks to the SE, while the matching modern view looks east.  The same bungalow, at 817 N. Cahuenga Boulevard, across the street from the Red Studios, appears in both images – the only original structure to survive.  This same bungalow appears during scenes from Buster Keaton’s One Week, described further below.

Jean Dujardin, as George Valentin, strolling south within the Red Studios, beside a studio covered porch. The red box marks the Lillian Way entrance to the studio (appearing as the Kinograph Studio during the film) as described at the top of this post.

Several scenes from The Artist that take place on the fictional Kinograph Studio grounds, including this shot above, were filmed at the Red Studios.

Click to enlarge. Buster building his home in One Week on the Metro backlot. The red oval in each image marks the same Metro Studio filming stage rooftop ventilation shed. The red box, now in the middle of the Red Studios lot where The Artist was filmed, is the approximate spot where Buster's One Week house set was constructed. The yellow arrow shows the point of view of the movie frame to the left.

Above, Buster builds his do-it-yourself home during a scene from One Week, filmed at the future site of the Red Studios .  A portion of a Metro Studio filming stage appears in the background.  Below, the surviving bungalow at 817 N. Cahuenga, discussed above, appears in two scenes from One Week.  Buster’s finished house is all contorted because his rival had secretly re-numbered the boxes to Buster’s do-it-yourself kit.  In the movie frame to the lower right, a piano-mover delivers Buster’s piano, walking north up Cahuenga past the 817 address.  You can see the bungalow on Google Street View at the end of this post.

Click to enlarge. The bungalow at 817 N. Cahuenga, across the street from the Red Studios, appears in these two scenes from Buster Keaton's 1920 debut short film One Week. The yellow box marks the same distinctive horizontal trim piece in each image.

Circa 1921 view, looking south at the small Keaton Studio in the foreground (oval), and the future site of the Red Studios (box) at back, with the two blocks of the Metro Studios standing in between. The small oval at back marks the same bungalow at 817 N. Cahuenga. Bruce Torrence Hollywood Historical Collection

The more prominent Cahuenga entrance to the Red Studios was employed to portray another vintage Hollywood studio, Maroon Cartoons, for the 1988 animated-live action classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

The 846 Cahuenga entrance to the Red Studios portrayed the Maroon Cartoon Studios in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (C) Google Inc.

For more photos and location information about  One Week, see my book Silent Echoes.  As mentioned in my prior post, this LA Times story describes a number of locations from The Artist worth exploring.

You can learn more about the classic Hollywood studio backlots at this wonderful Yahoo Groups forum http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StudioBacklots/

The Artist (C) La Petite Reine, The Weinstein Company.  One Week licensed by Douris UK, Ltd.  Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (C) Touchstone Pictures.

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7 Responses to The Artist Locations Part 2, Roger Rabbit, and Buster Keaton’s Debut – One Week

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