Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fun facts about 50s films set in Santa Monica

You can have a great time looking for films so many different ways using the AFI database at the Santa Monica Public Library. The American Film Institution catalog makes is possible to search for detailed information about films from the beginning of film-making through 1972. Amazing facts are searcheable for the top 10 movies from 2,000 to the present year. You will need to visit the library to use this gem of a database. Have fun!

I was interested in finding information about 1950s era films set and filmed in Santa Monica. Here are some of the results:

Everybody's Dancin' (1950)
A dancehall owner relied on the Colonel (played by Dick Lane) to bring in big name acts to save the business, or face loss of the Waltzland Ballroom on the Santa Monica Pier. Spade Cooley, fiddler and band leader, who actually broadcast from the Santa Monica Pier from the late 1940s to the 1950s helped save the day!

Quicksand (1950)
After 'borrowing' $20 from his employer's cash register to impress a dame, car mechanic Dan Brady (played by Mickey Rooney) gets caught up in a series of events that drag him to the bottom, due to his poor judgement. The lovebirds first date and other action take place on the Santa Monica Pier.

Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951)
Florence Farley, an 18 year old Santa Monica tennis prodigy, is torn between romance and her mother's (played by Claire Trevor) ambition. Love - Love. This was Ida Lupino's third directing job in a film.

The Story of Will Rogers (1952)
Biopic based on a magazine article about Will Rogers by his wife, Betty Rogers. Will Rogers, Jr. plays his father and Jane Wyman his mother. There are so many Santa Monica connection with Will Rogers.

Phantom from Space (1953)
An invisible alien in a spacesuit (because he can't breath oxygen) crashes his spacecraft in Santa Monica, accidentally killing two people with dire consequences.