Monday, July 02, 2012

Repost: Out of the Past (1947) in Bridgeport, California

NOTE: This week I'm on vacation, camping near the Sierra town of Bridgeport, California. While I'm away, I hope classic film fans who missed this post in 2010 will enjoy learning more about the connection between Bridgeport and the classic film noir OUT OF THE PAST (1947).

OUT OF THE PAST (1947), one of the quintessential examples of the film noir genre, stars Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, and Jane Greer. It was directed by Jacques Tourneur.

It just so happens that the film's opening scenes were shot in Bridgeport, California, a small town in the Eastern High Sierras where I vacation most summers.

Most of the town's main street can be glimpsed at one point or another in the movie. Last month I took some photos of a few spots in town which are seen clearly in the film.

The town draws its name from the bridge over the East Walker River which is crossed as one enters town driving north on the 395. Here's a photo of the river shot from the area of the bridge:

Just past the bridge and to the right is this house, which is the home of Ann (Virginia Huston) in the film:

It's a private home so I decided not to go around and shoot the front porch. The distinctive three chimneys can easily be matched up with shots in the film.

In this bottom photo there is also a glimpse of the the columns of the front porch, seen in the film when Ann walks out to meet Jeff (Mitchum).

In the first shot after the credits, a car drives up Main Street heading this direction...

...and then pulls in to the left at Jeff's gas station, which was once located at the current site of the fire station:

Another shot of the fire station is below. At the end of the road to the left of the fire station is the current elementary school. In the film a small white building can be spotted in the same location.

That white building, the town's former schoolhouse, was relocated to the town park in the mid-'60s, where it now serves as the Mono County Museum; the museum website and a photo of the building seen in the film are here.

The 1880 Mono County Courthouse is also seen in the film.

The restaurant in the film was located in what is now Ken's Sporting Goods, at the left:

The courthouse can be glimpsed to the left of Ken's. Click to enlarge this or any of the photos.

The porch posts seen next to the restaurant in the film, which are also visible in vintage postcards I've collected, were removed decades ago, but otherwise the building has changed little over the years.

Lower Twin Lake, a few miles outside of Bridgeport:

IMDb credits Lower Twin Lake as one of the film's locations, but the location detective who also put together this wonderful video of the OOTP sites believes, based on the way the mountain ridges line up in the scene where Jeff is fishing, that it was actually filmed at Upper Twin Lake further up the road.

Bridgeport is also part of the background history of another classic, George Stevens' SHANE. In an interview Stevens once described Bridgeport as the inspiration for the little town in his Western, although he actually filmed it in Wyoming. An article on SHANE at Big Hollywood recently included a Stevens quote describing Bridgeport, which I believe I first read in the book George Stevens Interviews.

Further south on the 395, Stevens had filmed the epic GUNGA DIN (1939) in the Movie Rocks outside Lone Pine, California. The Film Museum in Lone Pine has a number of nice mementoes from that film.

A couple final photos of popular spots in the Bridgeport area. The Jolly Kone on Main Street has been in existence for decades; I ate there as a five-year-old. It's quite common to hear languages from all over the world in the little parking lot, as tourists who have been to Yosemite continue up the 395 and stop in Bridgeport.

Alas, the town's very fine bakery, also in existence for decades, was closed by its relatively new owners before Summer 2009. Everything is still inside the building, hopefully awaiting a new owner. It is greatly missed. (2012 Update: The original owners have reopened the bakery!)

Virginia Creek Settlement is located south of town, near the turnoff to the ghost town of Bodie. Bodie, a State Historic Park, is a "must" for newcomers to the area. When I was a child it was a 13-mile drive on a dirt road to get to Bodie; now only 3 miles are unpaved.

The food at this cozy restaurant is excellent, including the Best Pizza Anywhere:

A visit to Bridgeport isn't complete without breakfast at Hays Street Cafe. You'll want to return!

Bridgeport is one of my very favorite places. I highly recommend visiting the area and spending time in Bridgeport to discover what makes it so special.

Previously: Back From the Sierras!, The Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History, and Independence Day in Bridgeport, California.

August 14th Update: There's a brand-new post at Dear Old Hollywood on OUT OF THE PAST locations in Los Angeles.

Update: Laura's Miscellaneous Musings in The Dark Pages.

2014 Update: Bridgeport, California Movie Locations. More movie locations from OUT OF THE PAST plus Jacques Tourneur's NIGHTFALL (1957).

September 2014 Update: Tonight's Movie: Out of the Past (1947) - A Warner Archive DVD Review.


Blogger Lasso The Movies said...

I just watched Out Of The Past two days ago and really enjoyed it. Thanks for the pictures and the tour.

10:37 AM  

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