A yummy new book “Location Filming in Los Angeles,” written by arts·meme pal, Marc Wanamaker, in collaboration with Karie Bible and Harry Medved, provides a delicious historic photo-tour of location shooting all ’round our fair city.
In the rare promotional still photo above, James ["You're tearin' me apart!"] Dean broods while filming “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955) at the Griffith Park Observatory. Shooting took place in and around the elegant, iconic building, which sits in the hills of Los Feliz, California, also renowned for the global headquarters of arts·meme.
The Observatory, says architectural historian Daniel Paul, who authored the Los Angeles City historic landmark document for all of Griffith Park, is a classic PWA Moderne structure. Daniel explains:
PWA Moderne is the term for it. Streamline Moderne is something more like the Coca-Cola bottling plant on Central [Avenue]. PWA Moderne mixes Moderne with a Classical monumentality. The style is also called “Stripped Classicism.” This is not to say that the Observatory was a PWA project; it wasn’t, except for the sculpture near the building [shown in photo above].
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Wendy Perron, editor of DANCE Magazine, reminds us in a tweet that James Dean (and Marlon Brando) studied dance with the great Katherine Dunham.
In the photo, Dean grinds at the barre, looking none too comfortable, but not too shabby, either, in terms of his placement. Good standing-leg alignment, James Dean!
A teacher, arguably Dunham, can be seen correcting the student behind him.
Student #3 demonstrates how dire it can get. Click for detail.
“Location Filming in Los Angeles” | Arcadia Books