Monday, July 19, 2010
The Long Beach Airport in Long Beach, California, specifically its Art Deco style terminal building, has been used in a number of movies over the decades. Among the films with scenes shot here are “The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer” (1947), “Executive Suite” (1954), which we’ll discuss in more depth down the road, and “Key to the City” (1950). I believe some modern TV shows have also used this location.
“A Stolen Life” (1946), discussed in this recent post. When Bette Davis was striding through an airport terminal, I suddenly noticed markings on the floor that looked familiar. They turned out to be that map of the world with lines drawn connecting airline destinations we see in the opening scenes of “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946), when Dana Andrews lugs his overstuffed suitcase across the terminal, looking for a flight home. Aha, same airport terminal, confirmed by our friends at the IMDb website.
I don’t suppose that shot is discussed that often as a “message image” in this landmark film on the homecoming of three servicemen after World War II, but for me this view of Dana Andrews walking, encumbered with his bag, across the map of the earth in his weary journey home is iconic.
In “A Stolen Life” there is no such greater meaning to the airport terminal, except that Bette Davis is meeting her cousin here while she is pretending to be her twin sister. It is a place of meeting and greeting and new beginnings overshadowed with foreboding.
The Long Beach Airport was built in the late 20s, and commercial aviation began at least by the mid-1930s. The Art Deco style terminal building was constructed in 1941.
For more on the Long Beach Airport, have a look at this website. For more on the history of filming in Long Beach, have a look here.