Sunday, July 06, 2014

Alabama Hills Movie Locations

One of the fun things my husband and I did on our recent vacation was some movie location hunting in the Alabama Hills, located on the 395 just outside Lone Pine, California.

Countless movies, especially Westerns, have been filmed amidst these unique rock formations. We previously looked at some Alabama Hills locations in 2007 and 2010.


A big shout-out is due to the blog The Great Silence. In addition to blog posts and videos, he's provided GPS coordinates, which made finding the precise locations a simple matter thanks to my husband's Garmin navigator. The Great Silence's posts and videos are absolute musts for anyone interested in exploring the area.

We also again used Dave Holland's book ON LOCATION IN LONE PINE.


Heading north on the 395 down Lone Pine's Main Street, take a left at Whitney Portal Road, and in short order one arrives at Movie Road, which is also marked by this historic plaque:


From this point on, Movie Road can be driven to various movie locations. Some sites require a short hike after parking the car, while it's possible to drive very close to other points of interest.

Those considering a visit should know there are no sign markers for any film locations, so it's necessary to be prepared in advance using the previously mentioned references or other maps which are available at the Lone Pine Film History Museum. My husband had saved some screen shots on his Kindle Fire which were a big help as well.

Note that during the summer it's very hot in the Alabama Hills so it's best to visit in the early morning hours.


The first location we visited was the cave site from THE TALL T (1957), which starred Randolph Scott, Maureen O'Sullivan, and Richard Boone, directed by Budd Boetticher.

Much of the movie was filmed right here, as Scott battled Boone for survival. The cave was a manmade add-on.


The Great Silence blog has some screen shot comparisons.

Next we visited the RAWHIDE (1951) burial site. Tyrone Power and Susan Hayward knelt just to the left of the round boulder in the foreground, after burying Edgar Buchanan, while Jack Elam and Dean Jagger looked on.


RAWHIDE is a terrific movie and I found it quite special to be able to stand where my favorite actor, Power, had worked over six decades ago. It's rather remarkable that the spot hasn't changed in all those years.

As can be seen from this wider shot of the area, it's possible to drive up right next to this site.


Here's another screen shot comparison post  on RAWHIDE from the Great Silence.

Although this area is commonly referred to as the "burial site," many other films were made in the area, including one of my all-time favorite Westerns, Randolph Scott and Budd Boetticher's RIDE LONESOME (1959). Here's a video with "then and now" comparisons from the Great Silence.

I used Dave Holland's book to verify that a huge battle took place here in GUNGA DIN (1939):


Finally, we visited the scene of the final shootout from the Randolph Scott-Budd Boetticher classic SEVEN MEN FROM NOW (1956).

Randolph Scott stood right here:


And Lee Marvin stood in front of this backdrop, with the money box at his feet:


That shootout is one of the great scenes from the "Ranown" Westerns, as the Scott-Boetticher films are sometimes referred to, so again it was rather moving to be standing exactly where this beloved film was made.

Here's a final post from the Great Silence blog on the SEVEN MEN FROM NOW site.

Coming soon, new location photos from the Bridgeport area for OUT OF THE PAST (1947) and NIGHTFALL (1957). Director Jacques Tourneur made these films a decade apart, but shot the lake scenes for each film in the very same place! I also have new photographs of locations for each film which were shot in town.

A previous trip photo post: Welcome to Lone Pine.

Update: Bridgeport, California Movie Locations.

8 Comments:

Blogger Blake Lucas said...

Wonderful reading and images. It really makes me want to go there too. I haven't been to Lone Pine since I was a kid, and saw most of these movies that I love so much after that.

2:40 PM  
OpenID vienna said...

Fabulous. Great pictures . The thought of standing where Randolph Scott stood in Seven men From Now is awesome!
I love that other website you mentioned .

12:25 AM  
Blogger DKoren said...

Loved this, of course, and thanks for pointing to The Great Silence blog! What fabulous posts he has. I've done a lot of driving and hiking through the Alabama Hills, but haven't really set out to find genuine locations yet. Usually because I'm cruising through on my way home, and it's usually late in the day. I usually turn off at Moffitt Ranch Road, and then come out at Lubken Canyon, completely bypassing Lone Pine itself. Makes a great detour on the way home. Looking forward to more pictures/locations!

7:44 AM  
Blogger Robby Cress said...

Fascinating Laura. I can't wait to make that trek myself someday. Thanks for posting the pics and can't wait to see more from your trip!

8:00 AM  
Blogger Jerry E said...

Wonderful pics, Laura. Makes me want to get out there more than ever!

9:09 AM  
Blogger SimpleGifts said...

Thanks for the terrific tip about the Great Silence site. We'll definitely consult it next time we're in the Alabama Hills. You'll have fun during the Lone Pine Festival if you venture out to The Hills. There are signs throughout indicating the film locations with stills showing the movie scenes shot at each site. We hope someday to attend the annual Lone Ranger Canyon Concert in the Rocks - a full orchestra playing the William Tell Overture under the stars in the Alabama Hills! Best, Jane

12:17 PM  
Blogger Kristina Dijan said...

I loved reading this and looking at the (familiar) spots! My idea of a great sightseeing trip

4:36 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks to you all so much for your comments! I think you would all love it, it's really special.

Jane, that is so neat to know that they put up signs in the Hills during the festival, I didn't know that! I'll really look forward to that. The concert sounds wonderful! (P.S. I'm overdue to send you an email! This summer is flying by...!)

So glad I could share the links to the Great Silence site with all of you, it's just terrific.

Best wishes,
Laura

11:26 PM  

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