James Ellroy's LA: City of Demons DVD

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  • Additional Details
  • Format: DVD
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Studio: ID Channel
  • DVD Release Date: August 9, 2011
  • Genre: TV Series
  • Release Date: 2011
Iconic and bestselling author James Ellroy, the "demon dog of American literature" who penned "Black Dahlia" and "LA Confidential," takes a fresh look at some of Hollywood's most notorious stories from the past to the present. JAMES ELLROY'S LA: CITY OF DEMONS showcases Ellroy's larger-than-life personality and his unforgettable verbal style as he exposes the dirt behind the silver screen. These are the tales of Hollywood's power players - stars on the big screen, but criminals behind closed doors. Ellroy brings these stories to life as only he can, conducting in-depth interviews with witnesses, prosecutors, investigators and jurors.

Disc 1

Episode 1 - Dead Women Own Me
On June 22, 1958, a woman named Jean Hilliker was sexually assaulted and then strangled to death. Her killer was never found. Jean's son grew up to become James Ellroy, America's King of Noir Fiction. As a boy, James transferred his unresolved pain to LA's most notorious unsolved homicide, the Black Dahlia. This conflagration of female victims would become a recurring theme in his books and writing. In 1994, James re-investigated his mother's murder with the help of retired detective Bill Stoner. Together the two dissected the clues and re-interviewed witnesses. While they never found the killer, Ellroy discovered a new appreciation for his mother and her effect on his life. Ellroy is still haunted by women who die through murder. During the past few years, James has intensely researched the homicide investigations of new victims whose lives were cut short: one is a young 16 year-old girl murdered in her own home; another is kidnapped while using an ATM machine. In each case, James comes to the conclusion: dead women own him.

Episode 3 - The Scandal Rags
Lana Turner was one of Hollywood's biggest stars during the 1940s and 1950s. Her personal life, however, was a roller coaster of relationships with the lows outnumbering the highs. Turner, already divorced multiple times, began an affair with reputed mobster Johnny Stompanato. The movie star-mobster hook-up quickly spun out of control and into physical abuse. Then, when the threats involve Lana's daughter, Cheryl, a knife appears and one of them ends up dead. During the 1950's, studio-based publicity gave way to the rise of tabloid journalism. Led by Robert Harrison's Confidential Magazine, the personal lives of celebrities became the fodder for housewives nationwide. Confidential shed light on the real people behind the façade. Scandals that hit the front pages threatened to make or break Hollywood careers. Confidential's meteoric rise was matched only by its dramatic descent. In 1958, the movie studios banded together and sued the magazine. The high-profile case featured mudslinging and big time celebrity witnesses, but in the end, the jury voted to acquit the editors. Still, Robert Harrison knew his days were numbered and pulled out of the game. Unfortunately for Hollywood's hypocrites, the tattling tabloids never went away.

Episode 4 - Serial Killers
In 1956, serial killer Stephen Nash turns Los Angeles into a hotbed of headline driven hysteria. Nash's murderous rampage begins with two killings in the San Francisco Bay Area. After fleeing to L.A.'s Skid Row, his string of vicious attacks continues, leaving another man dead and one severely wounded. As the LAPD desperately search for the killer, Stephen Nash turns up in Santa Monica where he befriends and murders a ten year old boy. A police dragnet brings Nash to justice. After a speedy trial, Nash sentenced to death in the San Quentin gas chamber. Flash forward to the late 1970s and the citizens of Los Angeles are once again choked with fear. Another serial killer is on the prowl, preying on young women and abandoning their sexually assaulted, strangled bodies near remote hillsides on the outskirts of town. The media uses the location of the body dumps to create a nefarious nickname: The Hillside Strangler. Police eventually discover that the strangler was not one but two men, cousins who partnered up to kill at least 14 women before they were arrested in 1979. The 1980s brings a new era of glitz and glam to Los Angeles. There are legions of Hollywood hopefuls flooding the city, and plenty of sleazy schemers waiting to take advantage of them. After a string of young women go missing, suspicion begins to mount against photographer Bill Bradford, a prior sexual offender who has a habit of telling women he can help them launch their modeling careers.

Disc 2

Episode 2 - Dames & Delinquents
1949 Los Angeles was ripe for scandal and corruption. The post-war City of Demons was ruled by two gang-like factions - the mob, and the LAPD. The two sides warred over control of the city, and the battle came to a head when L.A.'s premiere madam, Brenda Allen, was caught in bed with the head of the LAPD Vice Squad. Big time thug Mickey Cohen used the information to bring down the police force that had been trying to run him out of town for a decade. Police Chief William H. Parker was brought in to spearhead the clean-up of the LAPD. His first order of business-- drive the mob out of Los Angeles. Gangsters did flee, and sought refuge in the desert of Nevada. One of the men responsible for the success of Las Vegas was David Berman, who along with his daughter, Susan, and showgirl wife, turned the arid land into a paradise. But Susan Berman's enchanted life would be cut tragically short. Her unsolved, execution-style murder in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve, 2000, still continues to generate conspiracy theories. Organized crime continues to thrive in modern-day Los Angeles. The Italian and Jewish gangsters of yesteryear have given way to the violent and vicious underworld of Russian mob cells. Ellroy explores a complex kidnap ring in the San Fernando Valley responsible for the disappearance of wealthy Russian businessmen.

Episode 5 - The Dark Side Of Hollywood
The madcap misdeeds and misfortune of the LaLa land notables is nothing new. James Ellroy, the king of crime fiction, takes viewers on a journey through the dark side of fame. This torrid tale begins in the earliest days of Tinsel Town: 'Keystone Kop' Fatty Arbuckle hits the hay with a hot-blooded Hollywood hopeful and is soon charged with homicide. Did the 'Prince of Whales' really consummate a soda bottle sex snuff? It will take the 'Trial of the Century' to sort it all out. Flash forward to the 1960s, where up-and-coming actress Karyn Kupcinet careens and convulses, doped up on delectable diet pills. She's living in the fast lane! She's dating a movie star! But when death visits Karyn's doorway, her closest friends become suspects. Next, we're at the dawn of the modern celebrity era: freaky fandom. Sitcom sweetie Rebecca Schaeffer personally replies to every letter she receives. She even writes a kindhearted response to a socially-stalled stalker named Robert Bardo. For her trouble, Rebecca gets shot by the schizo. World famous prosecutor Marcia Clark leads the team charged with putting Bardo away. Finally, in the new millennium, rascally Robert Blake, once known world over as Baretta, is booked after someone blasts a hole through the head of his scandalous new spouse, Bonnie. Evidence seems stacked against the has-been star, but when you can afford the shrewdest legal sharks, no case can be considered open-and-shut... "

Episode 6 - Hot Spot Homicide
Clamor! Commotion! Cocaine! Carnage!!! It's the Los Angeles nightclub! These sensational speakeasies have been home to all manner of grift, graft, and gangland garroting. From shootouts to shakedowns, from OD's to DOA's, James Ellroy recounts the whacked out history of these wicked watering holes.
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