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Under the Silver Lake
Photograph: Courtesy A24

Five of cinema’s most notable noir locations in L.A.

We map out the killer L.A. locations used in some of cinema’s most celebrated mysteries

Written by
Tim Lowery

Under the Silver Lake is the latest in a long line of films following amateur sleuths who sink into the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, where they encounter cover-ups, seductions and everything else that we talk about when we talk about noir. This time around, lead Andrew Garfield traverses Downtown L.A. (the Last Bookstore), Hollywood (a party in Hollywood Forever Cemetery) and, yes, the film’s titular, bougie ’hood (a nocturnal dip in the Silver Lake Reservoir). So to toast the new release from It Follows director David Robert Mitchell, let’s
revisit spots from La La Land’s storied past with noir, shall we?

Echo Park Lake (as seen in ‘Chinatown’)
  • Things to do
  • Echo Park

Long before all the swan-shaped pedal boats and accompanying selfies, PI J.J. “Jake” Gittes (Jack Nicholson) surreptitiously snapped photos of engineer Hollis Mulwray and his mistress during a midafternoon paddle. (Psst: The famed green space also appears in Under the Silver Lake.)

  • Theatre
  • Downtown Historic Core

Or, as it’s known in Lebowski speak, Crane Jackson’s Fountain Street Theatre, where the Dude’s landlord performs his dance routine. (Maude’s loft, coincidentally, is in the same Downtown L.A. building.) Oh, and if you don’t think that the Coens’ masterpiece is strictly noir, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

  • Attractions
  • Historic buildings and sites
  • Hollywood

Has anyone ever looked as cool as Elliott Gould in Robert Altman’s shaggy thriller? (That was a rhetorical question. The answer is: Of course not.) On the surface, Gould’s Philip Marlowe screams the classic ’50s Chandler (always a suit, always a cigarette), but his environs, especially his citadel-like Hollywood Heights apartment complex, are pure ’70s, down to his topless stoner neighbors.

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