Los Angeles Plays Itself

Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Thom Andersen (narrator)
Director: Thom Andersen

L.A. or should I say the City of Angels or quite simply as the title itself says Los Angeles, home to Hollywood, and consequently the city that has appeared in numerous movies over the years in many, many different ways. This documentary is essentially a collection of various clips from several films that have been filmed either entirely or in part in Los Angeles. From CHINATOWN to BLADE to B movies like the MESSIAH OF EVIL, this film has a huge amount of information for the earnest movie buff including details about buildings like the famous Bradbury building which has been used in films as diverse as BLADE RUNNER with Harrison Ford to WOLF with Jack Nicholson. LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF seeks to discuss the social aspects of the film business in Los Angeles, the varying quality of films made there and indeed the varying architectural landmarks and physical landscapes that have been dressed up to act as some other place when it was required.

Despite the droning voice of the narrator this is still a must for any movie buff primarily for the knowledge it divulges as it covers and discusses so many films and locations. But alas with so much information there is a price to pay as the film turns out to be a bit too long clocking in at 2 hours and 49 minutes. With such a long running time I strongly advise that you view this in the comfort of your own home so that you can take breaks as and when you please because this film does bombard the senses with movie information overload. Although to give it its due there is an intermission that allows for a break.

All in all it is a good documentary that will probably find its true place in film schools as a learning tool. For the average film fan it is a bit heavy handed and detailed.

3 out of 6 stars

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