Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bridgeport, California Movie Locations

The tiny Eastern Sierra town of Bridgeport, California, is one of my favorite places on earth. I try to get up there at least every couple of years, if not more often.

It just so happens that Bridgeport was also a favorite spot for director Jacques Tourneur. He filmed scenes for the 1947 film noir classic OUT OF THE PAST in Bridgeport, as I shared in a 2010 post.

A decade later Tourneur returned to Bridgeport to make a film I just discovered last year, NIGHTFALL (1957), starring Aldo Ray, Anne Bancroft, Brian Keith, and James Gregory.

On our recent visit to Bridgeport I was able to take some new location photos for both movies, in both the town itself and at nearby Upper Twin Lake. Thanks is again due to the blog The Great Silence; his photos and videos made it easy to track down the precise spots where the movies were filmed at the lake.

In OUT OF THE PAST Robert Mitchum plays Jeff, who's started a new life in Bridgeport. His girlfriend Ann is played by Virginia Huston. I shared photos of the side of "Ann's house" in my 2010 post.

This time I shot Ann's home from the front. This is where Jeff picks up Ann to take her along on a fateful drive. The house is prominently situated next to the bridge crossed entering town.

I used a more distant shot of Ken's Sporting Goods in my previous OUT OF THE PAST post. Here's a closer shot. Ken's is the business to the left, and the shop known as the Variety Store is to the right. Ken's was "Marny's Cafe" in the movie. The building looked a little different in the film due in part to porch posts which used to be in front of the building.

Here's how it looked on a vintage postcard in my collection:

The fire station on Bridgeport's Main Street, which sits on the corner where Jeff's gas station was located, has been remodeled since 2010. The town school can been seen in the distance on School Street.

The building below was built in 1880 and served as Bridgeport's school until 1964. It was previously located where the current school now sits; it can be glimpsed in OUT OF THE PAST and is seen much more prominently as the church in NIGHTFALL.

The school was transported from School Street to Emigrant Street in the mid '60s, and it is now the Mono County Museum.

Towards the end of NIGHTFALL Aldo Ray and James Gregory are both passengers on a bus trip, after which they have an important conversation where Gregory discloses to Ray that he's an insurance investigator. They stood near the "church" just about here; the original school building referred to as the church would have been to the left of the frame.

Another shot, with the same mountains in the distance which are seen in the film:

One morning we drove down Twin Lakes Road to visit both Lower and Upper Twin Lakes. It turns out that the campsite shared by Aldo Ray and Frank Albertson in NIGHTFALL was in pretty much the same spot on Upper Twin Lake as where Robert Mitchum went fishing with Virginia Huston at the opening of OUT OF THE PAST.

This is the NIGHTFALL campsite; it was downright stunning how little had changed in nearly six decades. The lefthand tree is slanted just as it is in the movie.

The OUT OF THE PAST fishing spot is just to the right of the NIGHTFALL campsite:

Looking toward the NIGHTFALL location while standing close to the OUT OF THE PAST location, just to illustrate that they are within steps of each other:

Please visit The Great Silence blog for screen shots of the NIGHTFALL campsite and church locations.

The 1880 Mono County Courthouse on Main Street in Bridgeport can be glimpsed in OUT OF THE PAST, across the street from the gas station:

Bridgeport was also influential in George Stevens' concept of the town in the classic SHANE (1953) as I described in this post.

Previous trip posts: Welcome to Lone Pine and Alabama Hills Movie Locations.

Coming soon: Photos from this year's visit to the Lone Pine Film History Museum.

This shot taken along Twin Lakes Road is now the background on my phone!

Related post: Laura's Miscellaneous Musings in the Dark Pages.

A postscript: That's my husband's 2010 photograph of the Independence Day Rodeo on the Bridgeport website. We've also seen our photos on the town's Facebook page. Normally it would be a bit disconcerting not to be asked first...but since we love the town so much we decided to consider it doing our bit to help the town and their economy.

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

September 2020 Update: For more on Bridgeport movie locations, please visit Photos From the Road: Bridgeport, Part 1 and Photos From the Road: Bridgeport, Part 2.


Blogger Jerry E said...

Some great shots, Laura, of the sort of "small town" that is so American to us Brits. It is obviously a beautiful place and a nice reminder of "Out Of The Past", one of my favourite "noir" films.

Love the phone background picture too - what a great reminder every time you look at your phone!!

Best wishes,

7:09 AM  
Blogger James Corry said...

Amazing Laura! The news just out from the Warner Archive is that "Out Of The Past" is getting the Blu-Ray treatment and should look incredible. I don't know when their release date for the Blu-Ray is scheduled, but it should be soon. DEFINITELY a "must-have" for all film lovers.


8:23 AM  
Blogger DKoren said...

Love these! I used to come through Bridgeport all the time when I used to come over the Sonora Pass to head down to Bishop, but now that I live South, I've my Bridgeport visits! So, these photos are very welcome, and I love seeing the Nightfall filming locations. How interesting that the campsite is right next to the other! I dig that.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks to you all for the very nice comments!

Jerry, Bridgeport really is quintessentially American.

Brad, thanks very much for sharing the exciting news that OUT OF THE PAST will soon be out on Blu-ray thanks to the Warner Archive. That's one I'll hope to review! :)

Deb, glad I could stir some happy memories for you! NIGHTFALL is a film I've really come to love -- saw it twice in the past year. I was very happy to find those locations in addition to the better-known OUT OF THE PAST sites.

Thanks and best wishes,

4:40 PM  
Blogger Roirat said...

I was reminiscing Bridgeport, maybe taking a wee road trip there this year. Before reading your great post, I wasn't aware any movies had been filmed there. Thanks.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Glad to be able to provide that information!

Best wishes,

3:57 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

What spectacular shots! Merci! ❤❤❤. It is simply wonderful to see so little has changed in this quaint hamlet since the filming OUT OF THE PAST, which is one of my very fav Noir films ever.
Seeing Ann's home and the fishing location where she and Jeff spent their afternoons must have been so thrilling! As someone who is certifiably mad about Noir, I cannot imagine how finding them virtually unchanged felt!
Moi compliments your photographic skills. You did a fantastic job capturing the "real life" Bridgeport, CA" for those of us who probably won't be able to visit there ourselves. It is also comforting to see the lack of change. In a world that leaves those of us who were meant to be born in the era of Noir behind, you showed us there still may be a little place for us to fit in. 💋💋

12:10 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you so much for your note, I'm delighted you enjoyed the photos. I appreciate you taking the time to let me know! I hope you can visit Bridgeport one day. Although the gas station is gone you will find so much of the town and the area exactly as it was in the 1940s. In the meantime I'm glad you felt you visited the town through my photos!

Best wishes,

10:11 PM  

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