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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • TAKE A KODAK, c. 1930s

Rags, Bones, Bottles

Rags, Bones, Bottles

Circa 1920. "Unidentified buildings, possibly movie set, associated with Famous Players-Lasky." This seriously askew alleyway has a Dickensian-Disneyesque vibe. (Also: "I love Myrtle.") Nitrate negative by Arnold Genthe. View full size.

 

Not a great film, apparently

The NY Times has this review.

"The Street of Sin," 1928

Shades of Diagon Alley! This wonderful outdoor set was probably built on the Paramount back lot, and certainly could have been older than the visual reference to it that I lucked into online. The tiled roof slopes and chimney pots in the upper left are recognizable in a tinted glass slide used to advertise Emil Jannings as the star of "The Street of Sin," a drama set in a London slum in Soho, and released in 1928 by "Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation." The slide is in the collection of the Cleveland Public Library.

Outdoors?

[I scanned the film last night hoping to find this set, but no dice. All the "exteriors" were shot on indoor sets. -tterrace]

Maybe this set on an indoor stage?

[The single-point light source casting a sharp shadow indicates full sun illumination. Anyway, there's no set like this in the film. -tterrace]

A back alley for Mr. Hyde?

Dickensian yes, or maybe Robert Louis Stevenson. According to IMDB, Famous Players Lasky made a version of "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" in 1920.

[I scanned the film last night hoping to find this set, but no dice. All the "exteriors" were shot on indoor sets. -tterrace]

There was a crooked house

This calls to mind Anton Grot's sets for Svengali (1931), though he did not come to Hollywood until 1922. Remarkably similar in style, however.

Coo, what a sight!

Isn't that Dick Van Dyke in that chimney?

Shambolic

The set evokes the flavor of The Shambles, a medieval street in York, England.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tjblackwell/4493969222/

Hollywood roots

Famous Players-Lasky eventually became Paramount Pictures.

Movie Sets

I think you are right. As a kid in the early 60's, I had the opportunity to roam the old abandoned sets on the Columbia Ranch and there were a number of catch all, medieval, Western and generic suburban streets.

There is something very haunting about an experience like this and it stays with you. There was a Twilight Zone 'Where Has Everybody Gone' Where Earl Holliman is wandering one of these empty sets thinking everyone in the world has gone. I had that same feeling.

These sets dated all the way back to the early 20's

There was a crooked man

Who walked a crooked mile. He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile. He bought a crooked cat, who caught a crooked mouse.

And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

Reminds me of film school

"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari."

 
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