The Artist and its Amazing Ties to Chaplin, Pickford, Keaton and Lloyd

Tonight marks the Turner Classic Movie Channel premiere of the 2011 multi-Oscar-winning Best Picture The Artist. Depicting the silent movie era, and filmed on location in Hollywood, the movie has many amazing connections to early Hollywood history and its biggest stars. Here are a few highlights from my series of posts about The Artist.

Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights

 George Valentin's Tears of Love on the Los Angeles Theater screen, at left. Color image Floyd B. Bariscale http://www.flickr.com/photos/7294653@N07/3394648314/ca

George Valentin’s Tears of Love on the Los Angeles Theater screen, at left. Color image Floyd B. Bariscale http://www.flickr.com/photos/7294653@N07/3394648314/ca

To begin, Jean Dujardin’s character George Valentine premiered his failed production Tears of Love at the same theater where Charlie Chaplin premiered City Lights (1931) – the Los Angeles Theater.  You can read more about this amazing theater’s appearance in The Artist HERE.

Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid

56 Fremont Place was home to Mary Pickford from August 1918 to August 1919. It appears in the background from this scene (above left) appearing in Charlie Chaplin's The Kid, and as the home of Peppy Miller in The Artist (above right). The box marks the same corner of the house in each image.

56 Fremont Place was once home to Mary Pickford. It appears in the background (left) in The Kid, and as Peppy Miller’s home in The Artist (right). The box marks the same corner of the house in each image.

Bérénice Bejo’s character Peppy Miller lives in a mansion located at 56 Fremont Place, occupied for a time in 1918-1919 by America’s Sweetheart, silent film superstar Mary Pickford.

55 Fremont Place, as it appears in Charlie Chaplin's The Kid. This beautiful home was recently owned by prize-fighting legend Muhammad Ali, and stands directly across the street from 56 Fremont Place, the former Mary Pickford home appearing in The Artist.

55 Fremont Place in The Kid. This beautiful home, once owned by prize-fighter Muhammad Ali, stands across the street from 56 Fremont Place, the former Mary Pickford home appearing in The Artist.

Across the street from Mary Pickford’s house is the mansion where Edna Purviance abandons her infant son (see above) at the beginning of Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1921).

(c) 2011 Microsoft Corporation, Pictometry Bird's Eye (c) 2010 Pictometry International Corp.

(c) 2011 Microsoft Corporation, Pictometry Bird’s Eye (c) 2010 Pictometry International Corp.

The mansion where George Valentine lives is located at 104 Fremont Place (see above), behind the home Chaplin used when filming The Kid and close to Mary Pickford’s home.  Read more about the Fremont Place neighborhood HERE.

Buster Keaton’s 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 Lillian Way entrance to the Red Studios 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 Cahuenga entrance to the Red Studios on Cahuenga was used in Who Framed Roger Rabbit ? (c) 2011 Google.

oneweek1The studio entrance gate and other exterior studio scenes portrayed in The Artist were filmed at the Red Studios, 846 N. Cahuenga Boulevard, two blocks due south from the site of the former Buster Keaton Studios.  The block where the Red Studios is situated 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 (left) for his debut independent short film One Week (1920).  To see vintage aerial photos of the backlot where Keaton filmed One Week, and how the Red Studios portrayed the Maroon Cartoon Studio in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, you can read more HERE.

Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last!

The Artist, George Valentin, portrayed by Jean Dujardin, takes a bow on the historic Orpheum Theater stage. Color image by Kara Brugman; http://www.flickr.com/photos/hyperbolation/2675673050/

George Valentin, portrayed by Jean Dujardin, takes a bow on the Orpheum Theater stage. Color image by Kara Brugman; http://www.flickr.com/photos/hyperbolation/2675673050/

The triumphant 1927 premiere of George Valentin’s hit movie A Russian Affair was staged inside the historic Orpheum Theater, located in the heart of the Los Angeles Historic Core, at 842 S. Broadway.

Click to enlarge.  This circa 1928 photo looks up Broadway from Tenth Street (now Olympic).  The newly completed Los Angeles City Hall appears as the white tower in the far background.  Harold Lloyd filmed the clock stunt from Safety Last! (1923) on the roof to 908 S. Broadway (red oval above), just steps away from the Orpheum Theater that opened in 1926.  Today the Art Deco Ninth and Broadway Building, completed in 1930, obscures the painted Orpheum Theater wall sign.

This circa 1928 photo looks up Broadway from Tenth Street (now Olympic). The newly completed Los Angeles City Hall appears as the white tower in the far background. Harold Lloyd filmed the clock stunt from Safety Last! (1923) on the roof to 908 S. Broadway (red oval above), just steps away from the Orpheum Theater that opened in 1926. Today the Art Deco Ninth and Broadway Building, completed in 1930, obscures the painted Orpheum Theater wall sign. The yellow oval marks where Lloyd returned to film climbing stunts for Feet First (1930).  USC Digital Library.

As shown above, the Orpheum Theater stands just a few steps north from where Harold Lloyd staged his clock climbing stunt from Safety Last! (1923).  You can read more about the Orpheum Theater HERE and many posts about Safety Last! HERE.

Present Day Backlots and Uggie

My other posts show a variety of The Artist filming locations not reported elsewhere, including scenes where Uggie the dog comes to the rescue, where Peppy comes to the rescue, and how the present day Warner Bros. and Paramount Studios backlots were used to replicate silent-era Hollywood.

The Paramount backlot

The Paramount backlot – color image J. Eric Lnyxwiler

The Los Angeles Times reports some locales appearing in The Artist, as does Lindsay Blake’s ImNotAStalker.Com; including George’s duplex apartment; the history of the Red Studios where much of The Artist was filmed; and of the AFI “hospital” and the Wilshire Ebell where many interior scenes were filmed. The Wilshire Ebell Theater, at 743 Lucerne Boulevard, is also just steps away from the Mary Pickford home on Fremont Place.

The Artist (C) La Petite Reine, The Weinstein Company.  All images from Chaplin films made from 1918 onwards, copyright © Roy Export Company Establishment. CHARLES CHAPLIN, CHAPLIN, and the LITTLE TRAMP, photographs from and the names of Mr. Chaplin’s films are trademarks and/or service marks of Bubbles Incorporated SA and/or Roy Export Company Establishment. 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. One Week licensed by Douris UK, Ltd. Used with permission.

This entry was posted in Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Mary Pickford, The Artist and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Artist and its Amazing Ties to Chaplin, Pickford, Keaton and Lloyd

  1. Paula says:

    Reblogged this on Paula's Cinema Club and commented:
    A while back, I attempted to list all the references in THE ARTIST, and quickly got in over my head. Check out this post from the infinitely more expert John Bengtson

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