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High Tower from “Dead Again”

Oct 20th, 2017 | By | Category: Haunted Hollywood, Movie Locations

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I did not see Dead Again when it was first released in 1991 (at 14, I was too young for such an intense thriller), but I vividly remember my parents coming home from the theatre raving about how great it was and how much I would have loved a particularly disturbing scene involving cigarettes.  It was not until years later, after I met the Grim Cheaper, that I finally sat down for a viewing.  The flick was worth the wait.  Dead Again is honestly one of the most well-crafted crime dramas I have ever watched.  And my parents were right – that cigarette scene is horrifyingly fabulous.  The film also boasts one of the spookiest locations ever featured in a movie – High Tower, the striking Italianate campanile (a word I just learned today!) housing the elevator leading to Amanda Sharp’s (Emma Thompson) hillside home.  I first stalked the site shortly after seeing Dead Again and have been back many times since.  In fact, I used to take an acting class just down the road from it and would drive by on a weekly basis.  Each time I would marvel at how lucky I was to be living in such a magical city, where passing by historic and iconic locales is natural happenstance.  It randomly struck me recently that I had never blogged about High Tower, despite it being the perfect Haunted Hollywood spot.  So I am amending that situation today.

Though there are a few differing reports floating around online, according to the Los Angeles Historic Resources Survey, High Tower was originally constructed in 1923.

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At the time, the hillside it flanks looked quite a bit different, as you can see in photos of the structure from its early days here and here.

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The elevator was originally installed to service the dotting of homes on the tiny street of Alta Loma Terrace, situated just northeast of the tower.

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In 1935, over a decade after High Tower’s inception, architect Carl Kay began construction on a series of four Streamline Moderne duplexes cantilevered directly behind the campanile on Broadview Terrace.

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The complex, which Kay modeled after Positano, Italy and dubbed “High Tower Court,” was not completed until 1956.

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Today, the elevator solely services the four High Tower Court properties.

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The garages for the complex are situated at the bottom of the hill, a good five stories below the homes, and, amazingly, none of the residences have direct street access (moving must seriously be a b*tch!), making the conveyance an absolute necessity.

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Without it, residents would have to resort to climbing a haphazard tangle of staircases comprised of more than 200 steps in order to access their units.

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Each High Tower Court unit pays $51 per month for use of the elevator, which, while costly, is well worth it in my book.  (However, there is something to be said for the fact that anyone who decided to save money and forgo the perk would easily have the best legs in town!)  Sadly though, the structure is off-limits to the rest of us.  Without one of the coveted keys doled out to homeowners, the gated tower can’t be accessed.

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While researching for this post, I was floored to learn via a 1993 Los Angeles Times article that, while the elevator is private, High Tower Court is publicly accessible – as long as you’re willing to hoof it those 200 steps.

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I wish I had known that fact before my most recent stalk of the place.  I so would have ventured up the hill!  Can you even imagine the views?  For those interested in journeying to the top, Secret Stairs-LA put together a fabulous itinerary of a 2.6-mile trek that will lead you there.

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High Tower Court has attracted quite a few notable residents over the years, including illusionist David Copperfield, author Michael Connelly (several of his books are even set at High Tower), musician Michael Feinstein, and actress Adriana Caselotti (aka the voice of Snow White in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs).

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Though some reports state that Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love also lived at High Tower in the early ‘90s (during the time that In Utero was written and Frances Bean was born), that information is incorrect.  The couple actually resided just behind the complex at 6881 Alta Loma Terrace.

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High Tower appears a couple of times in Dead Again.  In the movie, Amanda, an amnesiac, resides in the large white home situated directly east of the elevator.

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As ‘Piccolo’ Pete Dugan (Wayne Knight) tells her after finally discovering her true identity, “You live at 1454 Hightower in the old Carl Kay house.  You know, the one with the elevator?”  In reality, the address of the pad used in the flick is 2182 Broadview Terrace.

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According to William A. Gordon in The Ultimate Hollywood Tour Book, “The location was deliberately chosen (and even included in the original script), because the producers wanted to show that Emma Thompson was literally cut off from outside help.”

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The inside of Amanda’s apartment appears to have been a set as it does match the actual interior of 2182 Broadview, which you can take a look at here.  (While you’re at it, you can also check out the interiors of the other three High Tower Court duplexes – 2181 Broadview, 2185 Broadview, and 2189 Broadview.)

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In real life, Amanda’s residence, which was built in 1936, boasts 2 bedrooms, 4 baths, 2,067 square feet, and a 0.10-acre lot.

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Dead Again is hardly the only production to feature High Tower.

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In the Season 2 episode of Naked City titled “New York to L.A.,” which aired in 1961, Franklin Maquon (Frank Sutton) confronts and kills Caldwell Wyatt (Martin Balsam) just outside of the elevator.

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Like Emma Thompson, Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) calls 2182 Broadview home in the 1973 noir The Long Goodbye.

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Unlike Dead Again, though, it really does look as if the actual interior of the property was utilized in the shoot.

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The kitchen seen in the movie, where Marlowe’s poor tabby refuses his attempts at feeding him some non-Courry-Brand cat food, is pretty much a direct match to the kitchen pictured in 2182’s MLS photos.

The Long Goodbye Kitchen

High Tower was also featured in a video adaptation of the first chapter of Michael Connelly’s 2006 book Echo Park.

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And the site portrayed the apartment of murder victim Sandy Boudreau (Alexa Davalos), said to be at 121 Bendix Avenue, in the pilot episode of Raines, which aired in 2007.

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For more stalking fun, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Los Angeles magazine and Discover Los Angeles.

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: High Tower, from Dead Again, is located at 2178 High Tower Drive in the Hollywood Hills.  Amanda’s house from the movie can be found just up the hill at 2182 Broadview Terrace.  Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s former residence is located just around the corner at 6881 Alta Loma Terrace.

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3 comments

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  1. MM says:

    Oh, I see why you seem like such an adorable person Lindsay. Your mom uses words like “Bejesus” …so cute 😉👍

  2. Her mom says:

    That cigarette scene stilll haunts me. I also remember the scene with scissors scared the bejesus out of me too!!

  3. MM says:

    I’m totally going to walk it this weekend.

    I know this place from The Long Goodbye – that movie has lots of cool vintage LA Locales…I have to see Dead Calm.

    Thanks 4 the post! 😉👍🎃👻


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