Thursday, October 12, 2017

The 28th Lone Pine Film Festival: Friday, Part 2

In Friday, Part 1 of my Lone Pine Film Festival coverage, I described spending the morning at a screening of NEVADA (1944), starring a young Robert Mitchum, followed by a talk by William Wellman Jr. and a tour of the film's Alabama Hills locations.

While I was enjoying all that, my husband toured the Alabama Hills on horseback, an event run by the folks from McGee Creek Pack Station. McGee Creek also hosted a horseback ride my husband participated in a couple years back.

The photo credit of the group shot which leads off this post belongs to McGee Creek. Isn't it beautiful?

The horseback riders went past our NEVADA tour at one point, so I was able to take some snaps of my own:

My husband had a fantastic time experiencing the Alabama Hills on horseback, as so many cowboy stars did over the decades.

Speaking of cowboy stars, the first thing we did after our return to town was hurry into the auditorium for a screening of John Wayne in SOMEWHERE IN SONORA (1933).

SOMEWHERE IN SONORA, directed by Mack V. Wright, is a minor pre-Code Western which runs just under an hour long. It's not particularly memorable, but it has many great shots of the Alabama Hills, and the print we saw was excellent. Wayne's frequent costar Paul Fix -- who was the maternal grandfather of festival guest Melinda Carey -- looks impossibly young here, though he'd already hit 30. Not a great movie but one fans of Wayne and Lone Pine will enjoy taking a look at.

Wayne is seen below with Shirley Palmer and Ann Faye:

After lunch at our favorite Alabama Hills Cafe, we headed over to the Museum of Western Film History, where we discovered a congenial group of the festival's special guests had gathered in the lobby.

Here are Scott Eyman, Wyatt McCrea, and Bruce Boxleitner:

I was honored to learn that Eyman is a regular reader of this blog and was touched by his appreciative inscription when he signed my copy of his new book, HANK AND JIM: THE FIFTY-YEAR FRIENDSHIP OF HENRY FONDA AND JAMES STEWART. I have numerous books by Eyman on my shelves, including volumes on Ford, Wayne, Lubitsch, and DeMille, and I'm excited to read his latest.

We first met Boxleitner at the festival in 2014, when he was interviewed about his experiences with James Arness and THE MACAHANS (1976). (Incidentally, he also hosts the introductory film shown to visitors at McCrea Ranch.) I had the chance to tell him we're fans of the Gourmet Detective Mysteries and looking forward to seeing him in the latest installment. I recorded it Sunday evening and hope to review it here soon. His wife Verena said they were recording it also!

Below is William Wellman Jr., with his excellent book WILD BILL WELLMAN: HOLLYWOOD REBEL. I've had the honor of hearing Mr. Wellman speak on several occasions, at UCLA, the TCM Classic Film Festival, and Lone Pine, and he's always interesting and informative, as well as a very gracious gentleman.

Wellman is joined below by Wyatt McCrea, with the museum's RKO camera truck as a backdrop. Wellman's father directed Wyatt's grandfather, Joel McCrea, in REACHING FOR THE SUN (1941), THE GREAT MAN'S LADY (1942), and BUFFALO BILL (1944).

Next we headed outside town for a short, scenic drive...

...which included a brief stop at the "Hoppy Cabin," where William "Hopalong Cassidy" Boyd once lived. The cabin was also a location in some of his films, as well as other "Lone Pine" movies such as Budd Boetticher's BLACK MIDNIGHT (1949).

The cabin is privately owned and it's hard to see much from the road; in the above photo part of the cabin is just barely seen peeking over the rock. (Click on this or any other photo to enlarge for a closer look.)

The well below, clearly seen in BLACK MIDNIGHT, is one of the cabin's most distinctive features.

For those who are interested, I got a pair of better photos of the cabin in 2014.

When we returned to town we went to the museum theater, where historian Ed Hulse gave an enjoyable hour-long lecture titled "TV Westerns: An American Love Affair." Hulse did a good job covering the evolution of the genre on television in engaging fashion. I would have enjoyed the talk even more if it had been accompanied by slides to illustrate it, but Hulse was a last-minute substitute so I suspect there wasn't enough preparation time.

We chose the TV Westerns session over the film ULZANA'S RAID (1972) due to our interest in the TV topic as well as the impression that the film's violence would be a little too much for us; those who saw the movie confirmed we made the right call.

I was glad, however, that we were able to slip into the auditorium in time to catch the end of costar Bruce Davison (left) being interviewed by Rob Word. Davison is a busy working actor who has amassed over 250 screen credits over the last half century. ULZANA'S RAID was made about 240 credits ago! The movie also starred Burt Lancaster and Richard Jaeckel, directed by Robert Aldrich.

After dinner with friends, the day was topped off by seeing John Ford's SERGEANT RUTLEDGE (1960) for the very first time. I enjoyed it quite well and plan to write more about it here in the future. (Update: Here is my review of SERGEANT RUTLEDGE.)

The movie was followed by a discussion on Buffalo soldiers, John Ford, and racism conducted by historians Bob Boze Bell and John Langellier, but we regretfully passed on that in order to get some sleep before another early morning Saturday!

Our Friday illustrates the variety of great experiences available at the Lone Pine Film Festival, including movies, film locations, horseback riding, talks, interviews, and the chance to interact personally with festival guests.

Coming next, a look at the rest of the weekend, including another tour, more screenings, and appearances by Ben Mankiewicz of Turner Classic Movies.


Blogger Paul Dionne said...

That's too bad that Ulzana's Raid was "too violent" for you since it is an extraordinary film directed by a master; Robert Aldrich. I was at the festival, Bruce Davison's talk was one of the highlights, it's also hard to imagine that you "enjoyed" Davison's talk when the focus was on one of the best films he was in that you couldn't bring yourself to see....oh well - paul dionne

7:10 AM  
Blogger DKoren said...

Wow! It all sounds so wonderful. Great pictures and write up. I always wanted to ride through the Alabama Hills. I have ridden up at McGee Creek! That was neat too. I like the mix of movies, tours, and talks.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Paul, I'm glad you enjoyed the movie so much!

While it adds another dimension, I don't ever find it necessary to see a film to enjoy hearing an actor speak about his work and career...especially as I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Davison on stage many years ago, as I'll be mentioning in my next post. Hope you had a great time at the rest of the festival!

Deb, I know you would love it! It really is a neat mix of experiences. And how fun you've ridden at McGee Creek. I think that's a future goal for my husband. :)

Best wishes,

8:36 AM  
Blogger Jerry Entract said...

I'm so enjoying your write-ups and fabulous photos, Laura.

I would also have chosen the talk on TV westerns in preference because they are an area of particular interest to me. I saw "ULZANA'S RAID" on its release in 1972 and think it a good movie, and Lancaster superb in it, but some of its violence is excessive (realistic) and I don't believe that is really your 'thing'. You made the right choice, for you, I think.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Robby Cress said...

What a fun day! I would love a chance to ride those grounds on horseback like some of my favorite cowboy stars :)

4:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you, Jerry, I'm delighted your enjoying them! Makes sharing so much more fun knowing folks like you are reading. :)

Thanks also for the feedback on ULZANA'S RAID which seems to be the consensus of people who know my comfort level with that kind of thing. :)

Robby, you would absolutely love it! I hope when your girls are older you can experience it too. So many cool movie locations to go with the horseback riding! Great to hear from you!

Best wishes,

8:40 PM  
Blogger Vienna said...

Another terrific post. And I loved the interview you did on You Tube with Wyatt McCrea.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Raquel Stecher said...

You got some great shots here Laura!

1:14 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Vienna! Just learned the interview was up recently, haven't even seen it yet! Great that you found it. :) So glad you enjoyed both the post and the interview.

Thanks very much, Raquel! I had a fun time taking the pics. :)

Best wishes,

3:06 PM  

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