Ernst Lubitsch – High Nooner

February 13, 2008

So, I sent EJ this story from today’s New York Times on the release of some Ernst Lubitsch movies to DVD. Expecting a positive response, I ask, “Hey. Any good Ernst stories?”

Turns out that the home where this prolific director died was a stop on a tour in EJ’s first book, “Hollywood Death and Scandal Sites“. Hardly a surprise. With all the other commentary about the Paul Bern book, the Wally Reid book and the others, we neglect to mention what a terrific guide is HDASS. Turn-by-turn directions. A story at each stop. Sixteen guided tours.  The book has an amazingly detailed index.  It’s Hollywood history…you drive through.  It formed the basis for what has become The Movieland Directory.

Anyway, back to Ernst. Here’s the entry from the fourth stop on “Tour 10 – Bel Air”, 268 Bel Air Road:

German director Ernst Lubitsch suffered a fatal heart attack at his Bel Air estate at 268 Bel Air Road on November 30, 1947 at the age of 55. He studied acting under European stage legend Max Reinhardt and became a top German stage star. He later began producing films, including Carmen (1918), which became the biggest movie in European history and earned him the reputation as the greatest filmmaker on the continent. He discovered Pola Negri and starred her in his controversial classic Madame du Berry (1918) before Mary Pickford brought him to the U.S. to direct her in Rosita (1922).

Over the next 25 years, Lubitsch worked for several studios and was responsible for some of the most famous movies in history including classics like The Student Prince (1927), The Love Parade (1929), Monte Carlo (1930), Greta Garbo’s Ninotchka (1939), Maurice Chevalier’s The Merry Widow (1934), To Be or Not to Be (1942) and Heaven Can Wait (1943). In 1946 he received a Special Academy Award for his “contributions to filmmaking during twenty-five years of filmmaking.” Lubitsch was known for mixing subtle humor with imaginative situations, giving his movies an implausible Cinderella-like quality that came to be called “The Lubitsch Touch.”

The great director battled heart ailments for most of his life, suffering a fairly severe heart attack in October 1947 at a party at his neighbor Otto Preminger’s house at 333 Bel Air Road. He survived, but a month later suffered a fatal heart attack during an afternoon love-making session on the couch in his den here. Kind of a “High Noon-er.” He died just a week after completing his final film, That Lady in Ermine (1948). The home across the street at 325 belonged to actress Mary Martin, and later writer Dashiel Hammett.

Virtual Globetrotting

February 3, 2008

Though not exclusively about Los Angeles, theVirtual Globetrotting website is a well put together, feature rich website for the online traveler. In fact, celebrity homes are the most popular tagged maps on the site. The site has great social networking features permitting users to collect and share pages they create.

You will notice – using this example of Steve Martin’s house – that Virtual Globetrotting Read the rest of this entry »

Find A Death

January 19, 2008

No special reason for this post but to visit online an old friend. Just a link to a tried-and-true original, Scott Michaels’ Find A Death. A site where you can always find a good story. Lots of LA history. Lots of Movieland history. Lots of…death. It might not be for you. In which case, you would leave.

If you decide not to leave, then you might be someone who would enjoy taking any of the sixteen driving tours of Los Angeles, complete with turn-by-turn directions, from E.J.’s first book: “Hollywood Death and Scandal Sites”

“The Hills” Tour

January 19, 2008

We don’t spend too much time talking about today’s celebrities or anything overly trendy. We’ll let TMZ and the rest take care of that. But, we read and we always like seeing a nicely put together do-it-yourself tour. Here’s a tidy tour and map of sites pulled from “The Hills”, put together at Pick any stop on that tour and you can add stops of interest from TMD. For example, if you visit gridskipper’s suggested stop in Studio City, The Movieland Directory offers hundreds of stops just in Studio City. So, click around until you find a name you recognize, like…Matthew Broderick.

Even if you decide you don’t want to leave your desk, go ahead and take advantage of the fact that TMD passes our address information directly to the major search engines. You simply click. On any screen where you see a hyperlink to Yahoo, Google, or Virtual Earth, click nd TMD will pass the address to that site. Here’s the Virtual Earth look at the Studio City address Matthew Broderick used to call home.

Unique LA Tour

January 12, 2008

The Movieland Directory hooks into the big three mapping engines. We like do-it-yourself intelligent tours, and we like maps. Stopped in today at UIC’s Gallery 400 which was set up with this ‘Radical Cartography’ collection, one of the many locations around Chicago which have put together shows for a Festival of Maps. Some very creative work. Some great historical exhibits. Anyway, one click led to another and I came across this quite different tour of a few parking lots around Hollywood which, to quote their site, “looked at the emerging relationship between neighborhood resident groups, speculative developers, architectural preservationists and, of course, tourism.” The site includes a PDF. So…go do it yourself.

Playa Vista…Swimmin’ Pools…Movie Stars

May 19, 2007

OK…maybe not.  But, this article in the New York Times about Playa Vista had me wondering if The Movieland Directory had any PV entries.

Searching on Playa Vista and checking the few entries, I came across this entry on Buddy Ebsen.  If you want to drive a Do-It-Yourself Buddy Ebsen tour, click here to see other address where Jed lived.

Downtown Walking Tours

May 11, 2007

In case you have not visited prior, you should know that one of the things that guided the development of The Movieland Directory was our thinking that there is life for travelers beyond shopping and eating.

I was clicking through the links at the blog here and see that USC Geography Department has revamped their downtown walking tours site since last I looked.  Nice job.  We will have to do our homework and get more of these sites on the Directory.  Take a look.  You will find something here for your next visit.

Tracking Your Walk In LA … or New York or Chicago or Anywhere

March 21, 2007

Plan Your WalkWe think of The Movieland Directory as a travel-related site.  We hook into all the major mapping tools, so you can use your favorite, and mix in your own stops along the route.  

When I plan walking or biking routes, I love this online pedometer which uses Google Map functionality.  I have only found it useful for person-powered travel, as opposed to planning car travel.  I use it to keep track of my running and biking routes around Chicago, like my path home from work, last night.  If you stayed at Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City, and the staff threw you off the jogging track at Harvard-Westlake up the street (been there, done that), this little route would not be an unpleasant weekend morning jog.  (But, try the track.  It’s nice!)

To use the site, you zoom to street level, then start double-clicking your waypoints along your route.  It calculates how far you have traveled on the fly, so you’ll have a good idea of how much time will be passing and how much longer you will want to go before breaking for a drink.  When you are done, it saves the route and provides the numbered url, immediately.

There are other cool map sites with more features, but this is a handy and focused little tool which does this one thing very well.

If you have any handy general map or travel links, or any great Los Angeles links you feel any traveler must review to know LA better, let us know.  We can include them here or on our links page at The Movieland Directory.

L.A. Videos

February 22, 2007

If you scroll down the page, you’ll see that we’ve added the WordPress video applet, which points to  Very easy to implement.  I began by adding the trailer for Scott Michael’s DVD.  To see a longer clip, head to findadeathI’ll warn you – as Scott does on his site – that the content is often adult.

I’ve also added vids posted at  I spied that site about a year ago, when they must have just been starting out.  They have since updated it.  I am impressed with the controlled manner in which they have proceeded.  They have only a limited number of generally well thought out and directed shorts.  About 30 altogether, representing towns and neighborhoods all over LA.

Their films are virtual tours.  And, like The Movieland Directory, they include maps – in this case Google – with addresses.  A very nice touch.

If you’re traveling to Los Angeles, in the flesh or virtual, the films at turnhere are highly recommended.

How Addresses Are Added…Slowly…

August 13, 2006

This is how “it” works.  This sick, twisted obsession of mine.  Now up to 45,266 names, waiting for the final upload when Tony get’s his butt in gear.  Anyway, I was doing my weekly check of Pasadena filming;

I noted among the various feature films and episodic television being filmed in Pasadena in the next few weeks a program for Touchstone Television with several filming dates listed just as “Episode #302” (one is a misprint, listed as #203).  There are also other Touchstone Television series film locations in the same period, with the series’ name included in the schedule.  This tells the cynical streetwise Hollywood detective that it’s listed #302 because they don’t want people knowing what’s filming, and hence, showing up.  That means popular.  So I did a little poking around and found…

It’s the second episode of Desperate Housewives, which is why they don’t want the world knowing it’s being filmed those days at those addresses.  Lord knows I’d go…