Los Angeles Plays Itself Page #2

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

...has been largely occupied...

...by the quasi-private space

of moving vehicles.

It's elusive,

...just beyond the reach of an image.

It's not a city that spread

outward from a center...

...as motorized transportation

supplanted walking,

...but a series of villages

that grew together,

...linked from the beginning...

...by railways and then motor roads.

The villages became neighborhoods...

...and their boundaries blurred,

...but they remain separate provinces,

...joined together primarily

by mutual hostility...

...and a mutual disdain for the

city's historic center.

Maybe that's why the movies turned

their back on their city of origin,

...almost from the beginning.

They claimed to come from Hollywood,

...not from Los Angeles,

...although the first southern California

studios weren't even in Hollywood,

...but in another suburb with

an even more idyllic name:


...just north of Echo Park Lake,

...where Jake Gittes would spy on

Hollis Mulwray in Chinatown.

Mack Sennett had his studio there,

...and when the lake

was drained in 1913,

...he could improvise

a movie plot around it.

The movies moved west,

...and Edendale doesn't exist anymore.

It somehow got lost between

Echo Park and Silver Lake.

The movies claimed

to come from Hollywood,

...even though there were more

movie studios in Culver City,

...one of the small independent municipalities

tucked into the west side of Los Angeles.

In the golden age of comedy,

...when an urban

setting was required,

...it was usually Culver City.

But Culver City was "The heart of screenland"

only in the eyes of its civic fathers.

The greater renown of

Hollywood so frustrated them...

...that they once proposed appropriating

the name for themselves.

Culver City would have

been renamed Hollywood.

Why not?

After all, Hollywood isn't just a place,

...it's also a metonym for the

motion picture industry.

But if you're like me and you identify

more with the city of Los Angeles...

...than with the movie industry,

...it's hard not to resent

the idea of Hollywood,

...the idea of the movies as standing

apart from and above the city.

People blame all sorts

of things on the movies.

For me, it's their betrayal

of their native city.

Maybe I'm wrong, but...

...I blame them for the custom of

abbreviating the city's name to L.A.

"Gotta find somebody in L.A."

"Maybe he's not even in L.A."

"How far did you say you're going?"

"Los Angeles."


"L.A.'s good enough for me, mister."

"L.A. was the gang capital of America."

"Hello, L.A!"

"Hello, Plissken.

Welcome to L.A!"

The acronym functions here as a

slightly derisive diminutive.

Rate this script:4.6 / 19 votes

Thom Andersen

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

All Thom Andersen scripts | Thom Andersen Scripts

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Los Angeles Plays Itself" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 20 May 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/los_angeles_plays_itself_12828>.

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