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Angels Flight in Film Noir

Angels Flight in Film Noir
Start your tour of L.A.’s “mean streets” at this surprising funicular

The narrow-gauge, funicular railway called Angels Flight was built on downtown’s Hill Street in 1901 to ferry well-to-do denizens up and down the steep incline of Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill. During the years of this area’s gradual decline—it was mostly demolished by 1966—the Bunker Hill neighbourhood perfectly resembled the “mean streets” described by noir author Raymond Chandler. As a result, Angels Flight became a familiar sight in classic noir films, like 1952’s The Turning Point, when William Holden and Alexis Smith rode the funicular to find a witness in a corruption investigation. Two 1950s noir films—Joseph Losey’s remake of M (1951) and Kiss Me Deadly (1955)—both feature Angels Flight and exteriors of Bunker Hill’s tenements.

Angels Flight has been in its present Hill Street location since 1996, and even though it’s currently non-operational, it provides a great start to a noir walking tour of downtown L.A. The Los Angeles Conservancy offers guided tours, but you can also just go it alone: Start with lunch at the food stands of Grand Central Market, then walk past the splendid wrought-iron atrium of the Bradbury Building on South Broadway (as seen in 1950’s D.O.A.), then walk to City Hall on Spring Street, which was pictured in 1945’s Joan Crawford-starrer Mildred Pierce and 1946’s The Blue Dahlia. For a nosh with noir flavour, order a slice of apple pie and black coffee at the 24-hour Original Pantry Café on Figueroa Street, which has been open since 1924.

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Ryan Killackey

Southern California

Discover Los Angeles County

See a film star. Sip a cocktail on a rooftop bar at sunset. Slip on a pair of designer shoes in an ultra-luxurious boutique in Beverly Hills. At Universal Studios Hollywood theme park explore world class museums or dance the night away in a starlet-filled club. Welcome to California’s liveliest city, America’s entertainment capital, with mega star wattage and non-stop things to do. 

“You know, you’re really a nobody in L.A. unless you have a really big door.”  --comedian Steve Martin

The main hub is the city of Los Angeles, with legendary Hollywood north-west of downtown, the San Fernando Valley to the east and the inviting beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu to the west.

Koreatown is just south of central Los Angeles
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Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant

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"The Squaw Man" was filmed in 1913, and was the first feature-length film made in Hollywood.
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Griffith Observatory

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Bright lights, A-list celebrities & diverse culture

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Showbiz, celebrities & endless possibilities

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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
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Sharon Mollerus/Flickr

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You’ll definitely want to leave room in your suitcase for L.A. shopping.

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February or March

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Jorge Gonzalez/Flickr
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Courtesy of Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

Warner Bros. Studio Tour

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Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

La Brea Tar Pits

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Courtesy of MasterChef Australia

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The Gamble House in Pasadena, California
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The California Questionnaire: Margaret Cho

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