One of the questions I get asked a lot is whether the bungalow court from the movie Swing Shift is the same as the one from Alvin & the Chipmunks. I wasn’t sure, so I started researching it. I couldn’t find much information online about it, so I rented Swing Shift to see for myself.
My conclusion: they’re not the same. The bungalow court in Alvin & the Chipmunks was a little larger, with more houses and more space between them.
A blogger named Julie who lived in a “Swing Shift” bungalow says:
My bungalow is one of seven built around a courtyard back in 1929, presumably for studio housing. In 1984, it was the location of the Johnathan Demme movie Swing Shift, where Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell say they met and fell in love. Right there on my front lawn.
The housing complex in “Alvin” is known as St. Andrews Bungalow Court, and it was built in 1919, 10 years earlier than these. Here’s what those bungalows look like:
It looks like the porch has been altered a little since the movie was filmed in 1984. At the time she wrote the post in 2005, the bungalow was rent-controlled and she was paying only $835 a month for it. Sounds like a bargain to me.
As the movie opens, Jack (Ed Harris) returns home from work, walking up to the bungalow he shares with his wife Kay (Goldie Hawn):
Their front porch is small but charming with the Adirondack chairs:
Kay steps into the living room:
This is the kind of movie you watch more for the scenery–the sets and the 1940s fashions–than for the plot. I also enjoy the actors in it–especially Goldie Hawn and Christine Lahti’s characters, who strike up an unlikely friendship while working the swing shift.
In this scene, when Ed Harris (Jack) sat down on the chair, he was wearing nothing but a towel and exposed more than he intended to. Oops. It made it to the theaters before anyone noticed it. Viewers saw plenty on the big screen, but it was cropped for the video version.
Jack returns home from the war to discover that his wife has been cheating on him with her boss from work (Kurt Russell).
Here she is with Lucky, who came home with her and borrowed one of her pink robes. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been together since making this movie.
In this scene we get a glimpse of the bathroom.
Doesn’t Goldie Hawn look like her daughter, Kate Hudson, from that angle? Kate was only 5 when this movie was made.
*2012 UPDATE: A reader named Gary sent me more information about the Swing Shift bungalows, which he says were demolished years ago. He writes:
The court was located in San Pedro,Ca at 815 S. Grand Ave., next to the Grand House Restaurant. In the late ’80s the two were linked as a sort of B&B where you could rent one of the cottages for the night. The bungalows are no longer there.
You can see a large apartment building is in their place. I was interested when one of the comments was from a person claiming to be living in these bungalows in Hollywood. The only way this could be is if the structure was relocated, which I hope is the case. However, I am a bit doubtful, as Hollywood is a long way from San Pedro, and I suspect the court was demolished.
Remember the view from the bungalows of the street and the building across from it?