Welcome to L. A. (1976)

R | 106 mins | Black comedy | 12 November 1976

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HISTORY

The credits list Richmond Properties as the film’s 1976 copyright holder.
       In a 7 Jun 1977 LAT interview, writer-director Alan Rudolph said he based Welcome to L.A. on musical director Richard Baskin’s suite of songs called City of One Night Stands, which Rudolph first heard when he and Baskin worked on producer Robert Altman’s Nashville (see entry, 1975). Using Baskin’s lyrics, Rudolph wrote the script during late nights at a Nashville, TN, motel and finished it at Baskin’s beach house in Los Angeles, CA.
       The 10 Dec 1975 HR noted that Welcome to L.A. was set to start principal photography that week in Los Angeles. The 2 Feb 1976 HR announced that principal photography had ended, and the 6 Feb 1976 LAT added that Rudolph was “holed up in a broom closet-sized editing room” to prepare the film to show to Altman and representatives from the Cannes Film Festival. Rudolph later told the 7 Jun 1977 LAT that he shot the film on a thirty-day schedule for $900,000 and had it ready for release as early as Sep 1976. The final cost, he told the Jan-Feb 1977 Film Comment, was about $1.1 million.
       Because Rudolph wanted to capture the “solitude” and “collective privacy” of Los Angeles, he used only his principal actors, without employing “extras” for the background, he told the 6 Feb 1976 LAT. As a result, 200 members of the Screen Extras Guild (SEG) picketed the film’s locations and disturbed or ruined several shots. One location was 747 N. La Cienega Boulevard, said the ... More Less

The credits list Richmond Properties as the film’s 1976 copyright holder.
       In a 7 Jun 1977 LAT interview, writer-director Alan Rudolph said he based Welcome to L.A. on musical director Richard Baskin’s suite of songs called City of One Night Stands, which Rudolph first heard when he and Baskin worked on producer Robert Altman’s Nashville (see entry, 1975). Using Baskin’s lyrics, Rudolph wrote the script during late nights at a Nashville, TN, motel and finished it at Baskin’s beach house in Los Angeles, CA.
       The 10 Dec 1975 HR noted that Welcome to L.A. was set to start principal photography that week in Los Angeles. The 2 Feb 1976 HR announced that principal photography had ended, and the 6 Feb 1976 LAT added that Rudolph was “holed up in a broom closet-sized editing room” to prepare the film to show to Altman and representatives from the Cannes Film Festival. Rudolph later told the 7 Jun 1977 LAT that he shot the film on a thirty-day schedule for $900,000 and had it ready for release as early as Sep 1976. The final cost, he told the Jan-Feb 1977 Film Comment, was about $1.1 million.
       Because Rudolph wanted to capture the “solitude” and “collective privacy” of Los Angeles, he used only his principal actors, without employing “extras” for the background, he told the 6 Feb 1976 LAT. As a result, 200 members of the Screen Extras Guild (SEG) picketed the film’s locations and disturbed or ruined several shots. One location was 747 N. La Cienega Boulevard, said the 30 Dec 1975 DV. The 18 Jan 1976 LAT reported that over fifty SEG members created a disturbance and blocked cameras at a couple of locations. Superior Judge Norman R. Dowds eventually enjoined the SEG from hindering production or picketing within fifty feet of exterior shooting. Though Rudolph didn’t use extras, he did cast nearly a dozen actors in uncredited parts.
       According to the 3 Nov 1976 Var, Altman was set to premiere Welcome to L.A. at a Seattle, WA, independent theater on 12 Nov 1976. The 2 Mar 1977 DV reported that the film did very well in the 400-seat Harvard Exit Theatre, grossing $90,000 in thirteen weeks, but other early screenings in Milwaukee and Madison WI, and in Denver, CO, were not so promising. The film was well-received, however, at festivals in Paris, France, and Tehran, Iran.
       Altman’s Lion’s Gate Films took over the distribution of Welcome to L.A. from United Artists because the film’s marketing and theater placement needed a “highly individual approach,” according to the 2 Mar 1977 HR, but also suggesting that the film was not performing well at the box-office for the original distributor. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
22 Dec 1975.
---
Daily Variety
30 Dec 1975.
---
Daily Variety
2 Mar 1977.
---
Daily Variety
21 Mar 1977.
---
Film Comment
Jan-Feb 1977
pp. 10-13.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Nov 1976
p. 3, 19.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Jan 1976
Section II, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
6 Feb 1976
Section E, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
1 Jun 1977
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
7 Jun 1977
Section IV, p. 6.
New York Times
11 Mar 1977
p. 18.
Variety
29 Oct 1975.
---
Variety
3 Nov 1976.
---
Variety
1 Dec 1976
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Robert Altman presents
a film by Alan Rudolph
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
Stillman
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
Best boy grip
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Paintings by
COSTUMES
Principal mens' fashions des by
MUSIC
Mus and songs
Mus performed by, guitar
Mus performed by, bass
Mus performed by, violin
Mus performed by, woodwinds
Mus performed by, percussion
Mus performed by, piano
Mus performed by, harp
Mus performed by, concert mistress
Mus performed by, vocals
Mus performed by, vocals
Mus arr
Mus arr
Mus arr
Mus arr
Mus arr
Mus rec
Mus pre-dub
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Prod accountant
Visual consultant
Scr supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Welcome To L.A.," music and lyrics by Richard Baskin
"City Of The One Night Stands," music and lyrics by Richard Baskin
"The Best Temptation Of All," music and lyrics by Richard Baskin
+
SONGS
"Welcome To L.A.," music and lyrics by Richard Baskin
"City Of The One Night Stands," music and lyrics by Richard Baskin
"The Best Temptation Of All," music and lyrics by Richard Baskin
"Night Time," music and lyrics by Richard Baskin
"Arrow," music and lyrics by Richard Baskin
"At The Door," music and lyrics by Richard Baskin
"After The End," music and lyrics by Richard Baskin.
+
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
12 November 1976
Premiere Information:
Seattle, WA, opening: 12 November 1976
Los Angeles opening: 1 June 1977
Production Date:
11 December 1975--late January 1976 in Los Angeles
Physical Properties:
Sound
Sound by Dolby Systems® noise reduction high fidelity
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
106
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24685
SYNOPSIS

Karen Hood, a frustrated housewife, rides around Los Angeles, California, in taxi cabs, writing in her notebook and reciting observations about life. Her husband, Ken Hood, works for dairy millionaire Carl Barber and is too busy to pay attention to her. Nona Bruce, a photographer who takes pictures of room corners, drops by the office of talent agent Susan Moore, looks out a window, and takes a picture of Karen standing within the corner of a retaining wall. Susan goes to realtor Ann Goode’s house to pick up a key for an apartment she has rented for Carroll Barber, Carl’s son, who is returning from London to Los Angeles to write lyrics for her client, singer-pianist Eric Wood. Ann and her husband, furniture salesman Jack Goode, are having a party as Susan arrives, and Jack is in the kitchen romancing their young maid, Linda Murray. When Linda gets a break, she goes to a phone booth to call her lover, Ken Hood. As Susan arrives at Eric’s recording session, Carl Barber is already there because he is secretly financing Eric’s new album, with the stipulation that Eric use his son Carroll’s songs. Later, Susan and Ann go to Carroll’s newly-rented apartment. At her office the next day, Susan welcomes Carroll to Los Angeles and tries to rekindle their old relationship, but he resists and drinks from a pint bottle of hard liquor. Susan tells Carroll that Eric doesn’t want him in the recording studio. Ann drives Carroll to his apartment and seduces him. Later, Carroll sits in the waiting room of his father’s office, with Nona next to him taking photographs. When Carl welcomes Carroll into his office, he ... +


Karen Hood, a frustrated housewife, rides around Los Angeles, California, in taxi cabs, writing in her notebook and reciting observations about life. Her husband, Ken Hood, works for dairy millionaire Carl Barber and is too busy to pay attention to her. Nona Bruce, a photographer who takes pictures of room corners, drops by the office of talent agent Susan Moore, looks out a window, and takes a picture of Karen standing within the corner of a retaining wall. Susan goes to realtor Ann Goode’s house to pick up a key for an apartment she has rented for Carroll Barber, Carl’s son, who is returning from London to Los Angeles to write lyrics for her client, singer-pianist Eric Wood. Ann and her husband, furniture salesman Jack Goode, are having a party as Susan arrives, and Jack is in the kitchen romancing their young maid, Linda Murray. When Linda gets a break, she goes to a phone booth to call her lover, Ken Hood. As Susan arrives at Eric’s recording session, Carl Barber is already there because he is secretly financing Eric’s new album, with the stipulation that Eric use his son Carroll’s songs. Later, Susan and Ann go to Carroll’s newly-rented apartment. At her office the next day, Susan welcomes Carroll to Los Angeles and tries to rekindle their old relationship, but he resists and drinks from a pint bottle of hard liquor. Susan tells Carroll that Eric doesn’t want him in the recording studio. Ann drives Carroll to his apartment and seduces him. Later, Carroll sits in the waiting room of his father’s office, with Nona next to him taking photographs. When Carl welcomes Carroll into his office, he introduces Nona as his mistress and Ken Hood as his right-hand man. Unimpressed, Carroll leaves, picks up Carl’s African-American secretary, takes her back to his apartment, and has sex with her while she tells him how much she hates him. The next day, when Carroll enters the control room of the studio where Eric is recording, Nona takes his picture and flirts with him. At Carl’s office, Ken calls Karen to tell her he will not be home for dinner or breakfast. Meanwhile, Carroll finishes off another pint and laughs at nothing. The next day, Ann arrives at Carroll’s apartment with Linda, his new housekeeper, who is impressed that Carroll is working on Eric Wood’s next album and takes off her blouse to vacuum the carpet. Ann tries to get Carroll into bed again, but he brushes her off. At Ken’s office, he opens a wrapped family photograph album that Karen has delivered and looks at snapshots of their happier time together, then goes to his boss’s Malibu beachfront house where Carl throws a party celebrating his son Carroll’s return to Los Angeles. When Carroll gets Nona alone and asks if she really cares about his father, she flirts with him. Carl takes Carroll onto a balcony and tries to soften his son’s resistance toward him. However, Carl becomes angry and Carroll leaves. Later, as Carroll drives around the city, he sees Karen sitting on a curb and asks if she wants a ride. She coughs and tells him how much she liked Greta Garbo in the film Camille and how much the death of Garbo’s character from consumption made her sad. Carroll offers Karen a drink to calm her cough, and after she drinks nearly the whole pint, he takes her to his apartment and shoots pool while she continues to cough and talk about Camille. She lies on the pool table and lets Carroll kiss her, then pushes him away and leaves. When she returns home, Karen tells her husband, Ken, how unhappy she is in Los Angeles, performs several different coughs for him, and says she is dying and wants to live in the country. Meanwhile, Linda the maid moves some of her possessions into Carroll’s apartment and asks if she can use the place to entertain a friend later in the day. When Carroll agrees and drives away, Linda calls Ken, and while he is there, Ann shows up looking for Carroll. Meanwhile, Carroll drives around Los Angeles, swigging from his bottle, while Susan, Nona, and Ann sit wishing for him to come to them. When Carroll returns home, he phones Karen and says he misses her, but she hangs up. Later, when Carl offers Ken a partnership in Barber Dairies, the younger man is overjoyed and takes Christmas presents home to Karen and their son. Meanwhile, Carroll plays piano and sings at his apartment, and Linda tells him that she wants to meet Eric Wood. Jack Goode, Ann’s husband, later phones Linda and asks to spend Christmas Eve with her, then calls Ann to say he will be working through dinner. At the office, Ken looks at the scrapbook that Karen brought him and calls Ann to say he wants to see her, but when she arrives ready to make love, Ken feels guilty and sends her home. At Carroll’s apartment, Jack gets angry when Linda asks him to pay her for sex. He throws crumpled bills at her, demands his “money’s worth,” and treats her roughly. Later, Carroll takes Linda to the studio to meet Eric, and Susan is there, drunk and angry at Carroll because he does not appreciate this opportunity she set up for him. Nona kisses Carroll and lures him out of the studio, which makes Susan angrier, but as Carroll and Nona arrive at his apartment, Karen waits at the door, so Carroll sends Nona home in Karen’s waiting taxi. Meanwhile, Susan locks her doors, both crying and laughing at herself in the mirror. Ken gets a message to call an unknown number: Carroll picks up the phone on the other end, but Ken does not recognize his voice and asks for his wife. Carroll gives Karen the phone. When Ken demands to know who she is with, Karen hangs up, but Ken calls again and tells Karen he wants her back home. Carroll gives Karen his bottle for her cough and leaves. Meeting Linda outside the front door, Carroll gives her his hat and house keys and tells her the place is hers. Seeing Karen on the bedroom telephone, Linda goes to a phone in another room to listen in on her conversation and hears her lover, Ken, giving his wife Karen the same “line” he has used on her. Linda hangs up, reaches into the bedroom, and pulls the phone plug from the wall, ending Ken and Karen’s conversation. Karen introduces herself to Linda as Marguerite, the tragic heroine of Camille, and says that her husband is quitting his job and taking her to the country because she is dying of consumption. Linda answers by telling Karen that her own real name is Virginia. Meanwhile, Carroll goes to the studio to talk with Eric, but the singer is gone, and Faye, Eric’s producer, tells Carroll that the singer does not want to finish the album. As Carroll begins to sing his own songs at the piano, Faye turns on the tape recorder. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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