Friday, March 4, 2016

Los Angeles and Architecture in Die Hard (1988)

Many years ago, I was driving down Santa Monica Blvd late at night and ahead of me in Century City was a new building that created a fabulous National Socialist light sculpture on top of one of the new buildings that seemed to extend the building into the sky at each corner.

The night was particularly foggy which no doubt enhanced the effect.

It looked fabulous and yet I never saw it again.

Then I heard it was for the movie Die Hard (1988) which I had never seen.

So I downloaded this seminal and important film and I still did not see what I saw that night.

Oh the building was there just fine. And there were even clearly lights on the top of the building for certain important scenes near the end. But that transcendent and inspiring architectural idea that I had seen and been so impressed by was not there. It did not exist. It was an artifact, no doubt, of shooting some of the movie at night and the atmospheric conditions and not intended by the filmmakers, or the architects, at all.

Yes, one more time, I had given Los Angeles and Hollywood, each in their own way, too much credit. This building was and is intended for studio executives, lawyers and accountants. No inspirational pillars of light needed here. No striking architectural innovation. Nothing controversial at all. Just a well-made building for rich people and former presidents.

Once again, Los Angeles is true to its values.

Die Hard (1988) on IMDB

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