This week on the Ask Chris blog, we’re going to highlight some of our favorite documentary films about Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Herald-Express produced This Is Los Angeles: Your Blue Chip Market in 1954 to convince big companies to invest in the city. The announcer seems truly dumbfounded by the extraordinary facts he is sharing—as if he cannot believe you are watching the movie and not running out to invest money. The financial promise seems outrageous but rarely has such hyperbole proven true. Postwar California was an economic powerhouse on a global scale. I could watch this gorgeous saturated Kodachrome footage of the boomtown—the parade of groceries rolling down a conveyor belt is mesmerizing—all day.
This insane narrator becomes increasingly hysterical until he is literally shouting and breathless: “The hub of the giant, restless, seething, ever-growing, yet still young city that is the heart of fabulous Los Angeles County!” This film captures the excitement and expectation of a city on the verge like nothing else.