CineSavant Column

Saturday March 23, 2019


The Lone Reviewer is plugging away dutifully on CineSavant discs this week, with not a lot of hot news to report, except a touch of rain, and perhaps a Mueller report.

But I’m looking forward to the arrival of the Noir City Hollywood Festival of Film Noir at the American Cinematheque starting on March 29. I’ve never attended their opening or closing parties, so I think I’ll be taking a look this year.

Won’t Come Back from Mae West Curve! (Jan and Dean?)

It’s a neighborhood notice!  A few blocks West of CineSavant headquarters on shady Rossmore Ave. are two famous apartment buildings. The fancier of the two is the El Royale which is old but very classy looking, and has a top two floors that are like a mansion in the sky. In local lore, probably exaggerated, the El Royale is said to have been the assignation spot for The Rat Pack (did Peter Lawford live there?) and where Frank, Dino and JFK would meet with various folk, including Marilyn Monroe. You can see the El Royale’s impressive sign in the first shot of the sequence in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, where Bette Davis makes a right turn on the way to visit her bank.

But up the street is the Ravenswood, which has long been known as the home of the legendary Mae West, from her saucy heyday ’til the batty end. Last week I got this notice on a Larchmont neighborhood chat board:

“Help us designate Mae West Curve in Hancock Park, Los Angeles, CA! …. We would like to see a brown city sign erected in the legendary Hollywood actress Mae West’s name on Rossmore Avenue between Melrose Avenue and Beverly Blvd. to commemorate the 50 year span that Mae West had residing on Rossmore Avenue in the Ravenswood Apartments as well as her groundbreaking history as a woman in Hollywood. The sign and stretch of land would be known as MAE WEST CURVE. It is important that we show community support to the city of Los Angeles for this project. We have been working with them to make this happen and will continue to update you on the next and necessary steps.

Mae West is a Hollywood maven often copied for her style and wit and deserves this honor to solidify her place in history as Hollywood’s first blonde bombshell and as well as saving Paramount Pictures from bankruptcy. In short, there probably would not be any Hancock Park to speak of without her contributions to the movie industry that built the neighborhood.”

‘First blonde bombshell?’ Well, it’s for a good cause. The petition authors sound very organized … if this happens I’ll definitely post a picture here. When people ask for directions to my house, I’ll be able to say, ‘Oh, just go to Mae West Curve and turn right.’

More semi-personal non-news: the mysterious emissary Wayne Schmidt breezed into town and con-fabbed with fellow 1980s filmmaking folk Paul Gentry and Steve Nielson. Wayne’s on a secret Sci-fi Blu-ray- related mission, purpose to be announced soon.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson