Saturday, May 22, 2010

Quintessential Cool (Arch/Hooray for Hollywood)

The High Tower - built circa 1920 and inspired by the Italian Campanile towers in Bologna. It has elevators for the local residents, rather than bells.:

Hooray for Hollywood
That screwy ballyhooey Hollywood
Where any office boy or young mechanic
can be a panic
With just a good looking pan
And any shopgirl can be a top girl
If she pleases a tired businessman

Hooray for Hollywood
You may be homely in your neighbourhood
Be an actor, see Mr. Factor
He'll make your kisser look good
So try your luck, you may be Donald Duck
Hooray for Hollywood

From another angle, from the quintessentially cool Philip Marlowe (here by Elliot Gould, later of 
Friends and the Ocean's series fame):

Rarely will you see the High Tower depicted from the street in the Long Goodbye, as where would be the shots of the lovely nudist/candlemakers who double as Marlowe's neighbors? "Gotta be the nicest neighbor - I'm a private eye. It's OK with me."

Instead, it's seen framing Gould's Marlowe, as seen above while he fixes his shirt collar (quintessential) and with his ever-present cigarette (cool) on a 3am mission for cat food (desperate). Behind him, your eyes deceive you not, are in fact the same hills of Hollywood which will be warbled on about for the rest of the film.

Great care is taken to depict him here, now a complex where the apartments can barely fetch 900k in a good real estate economy. Is nothing sacred anymore, not even nostalgic notions of quintessentially Hollywood, desperately cool? That's a blow.

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