Filming Locations and Studios Around Los Angeles and Beverly Hills

While most of the early silent film work started in New York, New Jersey and France, it was Hollywood and the relocated movie moguls that truly made household names out of stars like Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin. We’ve come full circle with French director, Michel Hazanavicius, and his Oscar winning “The Artist.”

The best part about the 84th Academy Awards, was the voice over that played during the announcement of the best picture winner. It mentioned that out of the nine nominees, “War Horse,” “Moneyball,” “The Descendants,” “The Tree of Life,” “Midnight in Paris,” “The Help,” “Hugo,” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” that only “The Artist” was filmed entirely in Los Angeles.

Formally Desilu, now Red Studios

Formally Desilu, now Red Studios

For a native Los Angeles resident, it was a treat watching this film and seeing my city. From the recreation of the Beachwood Canyon area above Franklin, to resemble old “Hollywoodland” in the 1920’s, to Red Studios on Cahuenga, that was converted into the fictional Kinograph Studios. (This is the same studio that was turned into Maroon Cartoons for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” and where Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz set up their Desilu Cahuenga Studios, filming TV’s “I Love Lucy,” The Andy Griffith Show,” “Make Room for Daddy,” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”)

The beautiful neighborhood of Hancock Park in Hollywood, was used for the various filming locations requiring residential scenes. In the late teens and 20’s, Beverly Hills was home to Pickfair (the legendary estate of Pickford and Fairbanks), Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton. But staying true to the earlier days, Michel filmed in Hancock Park near the older mansion of Pickford, and the home where Charlie Chaplin filmed “The Kid.”

Downtown Los Angeles also hosted many scenes, including a pivotal storyline at the stunning Bradbury Building, where Peppy is climbing in success and George is slowly being pushed aside for his refusal to perform in talkies. The refurbished Los Angeles Theater and The Orpheum Theater on Broadway were used for many of the interior theater shots. (Other theater marquees were re-created on the back lot of Warner Bros.) Also used downtown, Cicada, the restaurant where Peppy Miller is being interviewed as George Valentin listens in on the conversation.

Director of “The Artist,” Michel Hazanavicius really paid homage to the silent film history of Los Angeles. I’m thrilled that the Academy honored “The Artist” with its best picture win. Thank you Michel for showcasing our incredible city, while remembering our past.