Archives for posts with tag: Hollywood

Veronica_Lake

‘I’ve reached a point in my life where it’s the little things that matter… I was always a rebel and probably could have got much farther had I changed my attitude. But when you think about it, I got pretty far without changing attitudes. I’m happier with that.’

– Veronica Lake

Advertisements

Since its opening, the Chateau Marmont has fulfilled cultural writer Mike Davis’ theory of “historic Hyper-reality” – a mock chateau modeled after the type found in the Loire Valley, filled with antique furniture, “a social fantasy embodied in simulacral landscapes.”

The Chateau is contrasted with the modern  Bungalows arranged at the rear of the main building.  Designed by Craig Ellwood, these Bungalows “demonstrate a more explicit idea of living space as a ‘mere symbolic convenience’.”

The overall effect, as Davis has described LA, is an artificial world that lives by its own rules, its own fashion, its own rhythm.

It has come to embody what the ‘artist’s commune’ thinks an hotel should be.  For the Chateau Marmont is and always has been the haven for artists, writers, musicians, actors, directors.  “There is no hotel like it in the world, and there is no world like it in any hotel.”

From the day it opened its doors, on the 1st of Ferbruary 1929, the Chateau Marmont was home to the world’s greatest actors, writers, directors, producers and musicians.  It was “a bit like the Left Bank must have seemed to Americans coming to Paris in the 1920s,” according to screenwriter Gavin Lambert.

Back then the Chateau was home to Rudolf Valentino, Hedy Lamarr, Fritz Lang, Peter Lorre, Errol Flynn, Bertolt Brecht, Josef von Stroheim, and Billy Wilder. Wilder said of the Marmont – “I would rather sleep in a bathroom than at any other hotel.”

In fact, when Wilder and ‘M‘ star Peter Lorre arrived in Hollywood, the pair shared a room together at the hotel, until Wilder found out that ‘the sinister’ Mr Lorre was a dope fiend.  Eventually Wilder spent time sleeping in the Ladies toilet ante-room, “Which got very embarrassing.  People would come in, look, and say, ‘There’s a man asleep in there.’  It’s the only time I had a bedroom with six toilets.”

“If you must get into trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont,” legendary studio boss, Harry Cohn told young Hollywood hopefuls William Holden & Glen Ford in 1939.

Constructed to be the first earthquake proof hotel in Los Angles the Marmont has successfully survived most of Hollywood’s earth-shattering events.

Errol Flynn bedded his three wives at the Marmont, as well as Marlene Dietrich and 15 year old Beverly Aadland, over whom Flynn just avoided a statutory rape charge.

Rita Hayworth had it away with Prince Aly Khan, Orson Welles, and James Hill.   Marilyn Monroe fooled around with Arthur Miller; Grace Kelly with Gary Cooper et al.

John Wayne arrived with an ‘unidentified  brunette’  and stayed two weeks.  Jean Harlow slept with virtually everyone, and kept the staff informed of her activities with the coded phrase “Gone Fishin”, which meant she she was out cruising Sunset Strip.

Nicholas Ray moved there after his divorce from Gloria Grahame.  He cast ‘Rebel Without A Cause’  in Bungalow No. 2, and made love to his underage female lead, Natallie Wood, there.

Shelley Winters went on honeymoon In Room 55, with new husband Anthony Franciosa.

Franciosa obviously did not have a good memory for numbers, as he seemed to spend more time in Room 68, the residence of the ‘insatiable’  Anna Magnani.  This led to complaints of a knife-wielding Winters screaming “I’m going to kill you!” outside Magnani’s door.

And in Room 14 Warren Beatty, Barbara Streisand and Janis Joplin got their ‘Marmont start’.

Jim Morrison used the eighth of his nine lives here; Hunter S Thompson wrote some of his best and worst; and John Belushi notoriously died here in 1982, bringing a brief hiatus to Hollywood’s love of drugs and excess.

“The Chateau stands for all the fables of exotic Hollywood.  Romantic passion is no stranger; nor is the medicinal dose of scandal.  Liberated from what one is tempted to call the realities of the world outside, emboldened by the tradition of privacy and discretion, life takes on more than one element of theatre.”Andre Balazs