Los Angeles Plays Itself

Synopsis: Of the cities in the world, few are depicted in and mythologized more in film and television than the city of Los Angeles. In this documentary, Thom Andersen examines in detail the ways the city has been depicted, both when it is meant to be anonymous and when itself is the focus. Along the way, he illustrates his concerns of how the real city and its people are misrepresented and distorted through the prism of popular film culture. Furthermore, he also chronicles the real stories of the city's modern history behind the notorious accounts of the great conspiracies that ravaged his city that reveal a more open and yet darker past than the casual viewer would suspect.
Director(s): Thom Andersen
Actors: Encke King
Production: Submarine Entertainment
  3 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
169 min

...who is either too stern...

...or too soft?

A narrow public stairway...

...between Vendome Street...

...and Descanso Drive

in Silver Lake...

...has been named the Music Box Steps,

...after the classic Laurel

and Hardy short...

...filmed there in 1932.

Some buildings that

look functional...

...are permanent movie sets.

A McDonald's in City of Industry...

...is never open to the public.

Here actors are paid...

...so we can see them smile...

...as they ingest their Big Macs.

A roadhouse...

...at the corner of Avenue Q

and 145th Street...

...in Palmdale...

...has never served a regular patron,

...but it appears prominently...

...in Swordfish and Brother.

And other buildings that

have lost their purpose...

...can be preserved

as movie locations,

...like the Ambassador Hotel,

...famous since 1968...

...because Sirhan Sirhan...

...assassinated Robert Kennedy there.

Sometimes it works the other way around:

A building constructed as a movie set...

...takes on an afterlife.

Mr. Blandings's dream house,

...fictionally located in the

woods of Connecticut,

...has been preserved as an

administration building...

...at Malibu Creek State Park.

Los Angeles...

...may be the most photographed

city in the world,

...but it's one of the least photogenic.

It's not Paris or New York.

In New York, everything

is sharp and in-focus,

...as if seen through a wide-angle lens.

In smoggy cities like Los Angeles,

...everything dissolves into the distance,

...and even stuff that's close-up...

...seems far off.

New York seems immediately

accessible to the camera.

Any image from almost

any corner of the city...

...is immediately recognizable

...as a piece of New York.

Los Angeles is hard to get right,

...maybe because traditional

public space...

Rate this script:(4.78 / 18 votes)

Thom Andersen

Thom Andersen (born 1943 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American filmmaker, film critic and teacher. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Los Angeles Plays Itself" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 17 Apr. 2021. <https://www.scripts.com/script/los_angeles_plays_itself_12828>.

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