Hollywood’s “Hightower” Movie Past! “Vintage Los Angeles” Climbs These Legendary Stairs!

Vintage Los Angeles Hollywood Hightower

Welcome To The Hollywood Hightower!

I love iconic Hollywood, and it is disappearing – but there is a website that is fighting back! Alison Martino’s terrific website “Vintage Los Angeles” has a wide variety of stories about some of entertainment’s most fascinating haunts, including a great story about this cool building, which has also inspired some of Hollywood’s greatest Artists!

Hollywood landmarks

“Vintage Los Angeles” Rocks!

Here is what Alison posted on her Facebook page for “Vintage Los Angeles:”

“The Hollywood Hightower” is located on High Tower Drive in the Hollywood Hills tucked behind Hollywood Bowl. It was designed in 1935 by Carl Kay – and can be seen in Robert Altman’s 1973 film ‘The Long Goodbye” as detective Philip Marlowe’s apartment played by Elliot Gould. (note: more on this film in a moment)

Raymond Chandler books

Alison adds: “It was apparently the inspiration for Raymond Chandler’s book, “The High Window” in which Chandler describes the residence of Philip Marlowe as being on the cliffs above High Tower Drive in a building with a fancy elevator tower.”

kurt cobain in utero

“Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love also lived here for a few years in the early 90s. Kurt wrote most of, “IN UTERO” in one of these apartments. See the awesome documentary, “Hit So Hard” for more insight.”


Hollywood Hightower building

First of all, thanks to “Curbed LA” for this great shot of the hightower, and make sure you go to Alison’s great “Vintage Los Angeles” website for all kinds of great Hollywood history – the link is at the bottom of this story!

Vintage Los Angeles

Also, rush on over and “like” her Facebook page so you can get more great stories of vintage Los Angeles!


And of course, it’s time to look at a classic film from the 70’s that has a “Hightower” connection!

the long goodbye movie poster

“The Long Goodbye!”

If you want an inside tour of the “Hollywood Hightower” and don’t happen to live in Hollywood, well as Alison pointed out, Robert Altman’s neglected masterpiece “The Long Goodbye” was filmed there!

First, check out the trailer:

Robert Altman directed this quirky, “L.A. Noir” starring Elliot Gould as detective Philip Marlowe…based on Raymond Chandler’s brilliant series of novels about the “tough as nails” detective…in such classics as “The Big Sleep” and “The High Window”…

classic film noir

Here is how the film’s plot is described by the website IMDB: “Chain-smoking, wisecracking private eye Philip Marlowe drives a buddy from LA to the Tijuana border and returns home to an apartment full of cops who arrest him for abetting the murder of his friend’s wife. After Marlowe’s release, following the reported suicide in Mexico of his friend, a beautiful woman hires him to locate her alcoholic and mercurial husband. Then, a hoodlum and his muscle visit to tell Marlowe that he owes $350,000, mob money the dead friend took to Mexico.”


This film was completely overlooked when it was released in 1973: Altman’s acerbic approach was radically different than previous films like “The Big Sleep” with Humphrey Bogart as Marlowe…but it is full of great moments and mood.

Robert Altman The Long Goodbye Elliott Gould THE_LONG_GOODBYE-0(2)

FYI, Elliott Gould improvised the scene in police custody in which he smears fingerprint ink all over his face.

Detective: “Listen – what are you here for, Marlowe?”
Philip Marlowe: [smearing fingerprint ink under his eyes] “Well I’m here ’cause I’m gettin’ ready for the big game Saturday. You know, we’re playing Notre Dame and I hope I catch a touchdown pass.”

early Arnold Schwarzenegger

“The Long Goodbye” is also one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s earliest movie roles!

Check out this classic Robert Altman film!

best Robert Altman films

The “Ball Four” Connection!

Yes, baseball’s original “bad boy”, pitcher Jim Bouton, has a role in “The Long Goodbye”! If you don’t know Bouton, he wrote what is the greatest baseball memoir of all time, about his comeback effort on the Seattle Pilots expansion team:

ball four book

Read all about this classic baseball book by clicking onto my story here:


So many ways to appreciate the “Hollywood Hightower!”

Hollywood landmarks

And of course, Alison shares other great stories of vintage Hollywood on her blog, which you can see here:


And here are two other stories I posted related to “Vintage Los Angeles”:

special Sunset Blvd screening

Alison hosted a special screening of “Sunset Boulevard” at the “Million Dollar Theater” in downtown Los Angeles – see the whole story here:


I completely support Alison’s effort to keep vintage Los Angeles alive – there are so many great stories about this city – like this classic film noir:


You can read more about “Chinatown” by clicking here:


Categories: 70's Cinema, Academy Awards, Action Films, Awards, Books / Media, Film Noir, Golden Globes, Great Films, Hollywood, Independent Cinema, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Movies, Movies About Movies, Obscure Movies, Politics, Revenge Movies, Sports, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized

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9 replies

  1. FYI you can rent the Hightower Hideaway which is the top floor apartment directly behind the elevator tower.

    We are staying there now and are enjoying reading about the area. We have heard the Beatles stayed here back in 64. Also Curt Cobain and Courtney Love lived just around the walkway on Alto Loma Terrace. We walked down to check it out and the whole building is abandoned. Very spooky.


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