While many Hollywood films are set overseas, in far off lands, or in cities and states ranging across the United States, a good portion of them are set right in California, just off of Hollywood’s so-called 'front doorstep'. California has long been a very inspiring place, a ‘wild, wild’ west sort of state filled with adventure, romance, and mystery. The perfect blue skies, rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean, beautiful orange groves, and a strange cast of characters that call California home, making it the perfect location to set a film in.
The four films mentioned below all epitomize California in their own way. Whether you’re California dreamin’ yourself or just in the mood for a new flick, these classic old-time Hollywood films are sure to keep you glued to your seat.
In Old California (1910)
No list of the best Hollywood films is complete without the classic 'In Old California'. In fact, 'In Old California' was actually the very first film ever shot in Hollywood. If that doesn't make it a classic film for the California dreamin’, then what does? The film, which was directed by D.W. Griffith, is a silent movie that portrays California in the age of the Mexican era.
The Square Man (1914)
Once thought to be the first movie ever shot in Hollywood (the footage to 'In Old California' was lost for some time), the classic film, 'The Square Man', does hold the honors of the first feature-length movie to be shot and produced in Hollywood. It was made in 1914 and is also a silent movie but takes the stance of a Western drama. Dustin Farnum, one of the most popular actors of the day, had the lead role in the movie.
In Old California (1942)
Also titled 'In Old California', this 1942 movie was shot in Hollywood and stars film legend, John Wayne, as the lead. The character played by Wayne is a pharmacist from Boston, Massachusetts, who is wooed by the California Gold Rush of the late 1940s and early 1950s. He then moves to Sacramento to take part in the new California Dream.
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Few other classic films have come as close to perfectly portraying the charm of Los Angeles and Hollywood as 'Sunset Boulevard' does. The film, which is named for the street of the same name that runs through the city, reached audiences in 1950 and starred Gloria Swanson and William Holden as the leads. It focused on the L.A. vanities of the time and really zoomed in for an up-close shot of what being an actor or film star in Hollywood really meant.
In truth, there are dozens upon dozens (probably even hundreds) of great Hollywood films that are perfect for those with California Dreams in mind. However, the four described above are a handful of the very best. Watch these and you’ll get a good idea of what the classic allure of California at the times they portray was all about.
Please note: The author of this article, Max Chennault, is a Hollywood movie fan of many years. In his free time, he likes to share his love of movies online. Visit the TV Local website to learn more.