Monday, May 09, 2022

Marmont Monday: Room 54, Pt. 1

When I first acquired this vintage image of actor Anthony Perkins at the Chateau Marmont Hotel on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, I assumed it was shot on the balcony of Room 64, the Penthouse. When I finally got around to attempting to match it up with a contemporary shot though, it just didn’t line up. Until…I was able to stay in Room 54...and then it all came together.

One of my favorite films, “Laurel Canyon” (2003), features sweeping aerial shots of Los Angeles and Hollywood during the opening credits. One of the shots includes the Chateau. You can also see the now demolished Lytton Savings Bank in the lower right of the frame:

A number of scenes take place at the Hotel, which are established by this frame:

Here’s a shot I took in May 2002, right about the time “Laurel Canyon” was released at the Cannes Film Festival:

A more contemporary view from March 2016:

Our first glimpse inside of the Chateau shows actress Frances McDormand lying on a couch. The fabric on this couch is used in many of the hotel’s rooms. Not a good indicator of which room it is.

A few minutes later though, Alessandro Nivola talks on the phone on the same couch, but the camera has pulled back much more to reveal…

Room 54! The light on the end table has changed, but the rest is the same.

While Alessandro is on the phone, McDormand’s character stands between a window in 54 and the entrance to the Dining Room.

Willis stands in for Frances.

Later on, Kate Beckinsale’s character makes a call from the balcony, with a bottle of MGD on the billboard behind her.

It just so happens I shot the same bottle back in May 2002, too.

The one mystery is what room they used for the bedroom scene. It doesn’t appear to be 54, as the windows/doors do not line up. One of the employees said they used two different rooms for the movie; the other room that was mentioned didn’t seem to match up either.

Once again, Willis attempts to stand in for the actors.

The bathroom was an easy one to match.

Same tile, same towel rack, and same window.

You can match just about everything from these two frames with my contemporary shots of 54.

Frances McDormand and I have a toilet seat in common now.

ROOM SERVICE! A shot from the movie shows the waiter bringing champagne for Beckinsale, McDormand, and Nivola:

Same view today from 54:

Christian Bale exits the elevator on the 5th floor:

My contemporary view of the same location:

Room 54 is a beauty; it also has the distinction of once being the residence of Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski, just before they had the bad fortune to move to Cielo Drive.

See more Chateau Marmont photos at my main website.

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