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Los Angeles's Bunker Hill: Pulp Fiction's Mean Streets and Film Noir's Ground Zero! [Kindle Edition]

Jim Dawson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $19.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Book Description

When postwar movie directors went looking for a gritty location to shoot their psychological crime thrillers, they found Bunker Hill, a neighborhood of fading Victorians, flophouses, tough bars, stairways and dark alleys in downtown Los Angeles. Novelist Raymond Chandler had already been there drawing inspiration for his work, exploring the real-life "mean streets" that his hardboiled detective, Philip Marlowe, prowled in the writer's exacting prose. But the biggest crime was going on behind the scenes, run by the city's power elite. And Hollywood just happened to capture it on film. Using nearly eighty photos, writer Jim Dawson enlarges the record of L.A. history with this grass-roots investigation of a vanished place.

Editorial Reviews


"...the author's characteristic mix of meticulously compiled background information, bold analysis and inarguably concluded extrapolations is aimed at rectifying the colorful myths and even wilder truths that have emanated from and been laid at the feet of this Los Angeles locus classics." --LA Weekly

"Long before the busloads of tourists and soaring skyscrapers and Disney Concert Hall, the Bunker Hill area of downtown Los Angeles was a charming neighborhood marked by its stunning Victorian homes and vibrant street life." --Which Way, L.A.?

About the Author

Jim Dawson is a graduate of West Virginia University and a longtime resident of Hollywood. He is the author of over a dozen books, including Los Angeles's Angels Flight (2008), as well as a short documentary called Los Angeles's Bunker Hill (2011) on the Criterion Collection's Blu-ray/DVD reissue of the 1955 film noir classic Kiss Me Deadly.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3892 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (July 15, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008LWAVR6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,698 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for fans of LA Noir August 20, 2012
By J M Dho
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Whether you're a fan of the classics of Los Angeles film noir like 'Murder My Sweet,' 'Double Indemnity,' 'Kiss Me Deadly' and 'Criss Cross' or you were recently introduced to Los Angeles' mean streets by last year's excellent computer game, LA Noir. . .this book is for you.

Bunker Hill was once one of LA's premiere residential areas but by the late 1940s, it had regressed to a run down neighborhood of once opulent hotels and mansions converted to low-income apartments. The seedy nature of the neighborhood along with spectacular views of the rapidly expanding Los Angeles skyline and some great locations, including the Angels Flight funicular and the Third Street tunnel, and its proximity to the Hollywood studios made Bunker Hill a made-to-order film set.

Sadly, Bunker Hill succumbed to redevelopment in the 60s leaving very little of the original intact. As Jim Dawson points out in his excellent paen to Bunker Hill and LA-based film noir, even the restored Angel's Flight railway was reinstalled in the wrong location! Mr. Dawson's copiously illustrated book takes the reader on a nostalgic journey through the famous and not so famous movies of the late 40s through early 60s while providing a fascinating history of arguably the most interesting neighborhood in Los Angeles, past or pressent.

Highly recommended!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Big Jim" has done it again! October 3, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dawson, an expert on film, music, and the cultural history of Los Angeles, has put together a fun book about the development, and sad final decline, of LA's Bunker Hill neighborhood, focusing on its use for location filming for great noir thrillers. I would have enjoyed more photos and maps (especially as the literal destruction of the geologic Hill itself and the invasion of today's office skyscrapers makes it nearly impossible for a visitor to get oriented), but the list of films in the appendix is priceless. Add to that, Dawson introduces the reader to some writers he or she might not know. Had it not been for this book, I might never have considered tracking down a used copy of John Fante's "Ask the Dust," his spare novel of a brief period in the life of Bunker Hill. I did, and enjoyed the novel thoroughly. And through it all, of course, Dawson maintains the wonderful sense of humor -- tempered with respect -- that he brings to everything he does, whether his books, his internet radio show with Ian Whitcomb on Luxuria Music, or his personal appearances. This is one you'll want for your library.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastc August 3, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an awesome, inspiring book, well researched with warmth and nostalgia. Great read. I hope to read more by this author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LA's Bunker Hill April 9, 2013
By M. P.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Those of us who are LA history buffs will really enjoy this. Losing Bunker Hill was a terrific loss to the city that is irreplaceable. More and more of historic LA is disappearing. We may only have the memories in books soon.
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More About the Author

Jim Dawson is a Hollywood, California-based writer who has specialized in American pop culture (especially early rock 'n' roll) and the history of flatulence (three books so far, including his 1999 top-seller, "Who Cut the Cheese? A Cultural History of the Fart"). Mojo magazine called his "What Was the First Rock 'n' Roll Record?" (1992), co-written with Steve Propes, "one of the most impressive musical reads of the year"; it remains a valuable source for music critics and rock historians, and an updated second edition is currently available on Kindle. Dawson has also written a series of articles on early rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll pioneers for the Los Angeles Times, including a front-page story in the Calendar entertainment section on the forgotten tragic figure Ritchie Valens. The piece led directly to Rhino Records reissuing Valens' entire catalog (with Dawson's liner notes) and eventually to the 1987 biopic "LaBamba," which used some of Dawson's research. Since 1983 Dawson has also written liner notes for roughly 150 albums and CDs, including Rhino's prestigious "Central Avenue Sounds" box set celebrating the history of jazz and early R&B in Los Angeles. His most recent book (2012) is "Los Angeles's Bunker Hill: Pulp Fiction's Mean Streets and Film Noir's Ground Zero." He's currently working on a novel about a 1920 coal mine war in his native West Virginia.

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