June 14, 2024


Automotive pure lust

Restored Film Shows Glamorous 1930s Cars In Hollywood At Chinese Theater

Restored Film Shows Glamorous 1930s Cars In Hollywood At Chinese Theater

Restored film makes it possible to travel back in time to a bygone world. It’s one thing to look at a photograph that captures a precise moment. But a film with movement and sound breathes life into a long-dead past.

According to the notes on NASS’s YouTube channel, the setting is the world premiere of Grand Hotel at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 1930s Hollywood. Immediately you hear traffic noise and the clatter of cars. The sounds are artificial but add realism to the setting. The movie premiere floodlights paint the night in gold hues that reflect off the chrome radiators and headlamps of the cars. You can feel the excitement and the press of the crowd, leaning over the rope to catch sight of a movie star.

As for the cars themselves, it’s hard to identify what they are. Big, stately sedans glide up to dispatch people for the event. The street is packed with cars, a reminder of how bad LA traffic can be. These are no ordinary automobiles but cars like Cadillacs and Packards, wheeled finery made to make an entrance. Automobiles on parade like the people they carry. 

There’s a brief glimpse of a car that looks like a Ford Model A roadster. It’s there and gone so fast, it’s hard to be sure. But the short wheelbase and open top stand out against the line of shiny long sedans or saloons as the English refer to them, which seems more appropriate for their formal stateliness.  

The eight minutes of film footage are just a glimpse into a world 90 years past. Like other videos on the NASS YouTube channel, they are extraordinary because the scenes are so mundane. For that reason, the scenes convey a sense of familiarity. Whether it’s 1932 or 2022, there’s a sameness of the crowds straining to see people walking the red carpet and those on the red carpet who stop to socialize. 

The combination of the mundane setting with the sense of sameness and familiarity is what makes the video so amazing. Like the NASS video of 1930s New York, you can relate to it, making it easy to imagine you are part of that crowd. Or better still, someone pulling up in one of those long, shiny, chromed cars and stepping into the bright lights.