F.: Blaine Walker. Prod.: Fox News. 35mm. L.: 53 m. D.: 3’ a 16 f/s. Bn

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The Hollywood sign, the film industry’s most celebrated and evocative symbol, was built on the slopes of Mount Lee in 1923, when much of today’s Los Angeles did not yet exist. Not many know that the sign was then conceived as part of a massive marketing campaign to publicise an elegant new real estate development called Hollywoodland, created in the hills north of the Hollywood district by a syndicate of wealthy entrepreneurs, including “Los Angeles Times” publisher Harry Chandler. The grandiose sign, spelling out the name Hollywoodland in large letters, was built with tons of metal sheets, hundreds of telegraph poles, and thousands of light bulbs that were intermittently illuminating it at night. Intended to be dismantled just after 18 months, it soon became too popular to be torn down and remained standing, until in 1949 it lost its final “land” portion, which had by then deteriorated beyond repair. On 27 November 1923, Fox News cameraman Blaine Walker climbed the hills around Mount Lee and filmed “the largest sign in the world” nearing completion. These unique images convey the grand scale and ambition of the project, as well as the labour needed to carry it out, and won’t fail to impress the viewer.

Daniela Currò

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(Fox Movietone News Collection)