Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Lone Pine Film Festival: Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) Locations Tour

Here's a look at one of three terrific location tours we took at last weekend's 30th Lone Pine Film Festival.

"Good Day at Black Rock" was a car caravan tour focused on the locations for BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (1955), with a side visit to site where the ghost town was located in THE LAW AND JAKE WADE (1958). Both films were released by MGM; please click the title links for my past reviews.

Our first stop, near the Black Rock town site, was the above unnamed dry lake bed. Our guide, Jerry Condit, provided a list of movies which were filmed at that location. (Click on this or any photo to enlarge for a closer look.) We saw another site from ARMY GIRL (1938) in the Alabama Hills that day while on a KING OF THE PECOS (1936) tour, and I've pulled that movie out to watch soon, along with some other titles on this list.

This was where the town site was built for BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK. It's located off of Narrow Gauge Road in Lone Pine. A closed train depot we photographed in 2017 is in the same area.

More of the town was built looking this direction:

The train tracks were here:

Our guide with a still of Spencer Tracy on the tracks:

This rusty nail was found at the site of the BLACK ROCK jail. Could it have been left when the set was torn down? It's certainly possible. Bits of plaster from the GUNGA DIN (1939) temple can still occasionally be found in the Alabama Hills, and when I was on a tour in 2016 we found what was very likely a nail from an altar set built for DESERT PURSUIT (1952).

The ghost town site from THE LAW AND JAKE WADE was in walking distance of the BLACK ROCK site, seen looking towards Mount Whitney and Lone Pine Peak:

Next we headed back into the Alabama Hills on the opposite site of Lone Pine. This was the spot where Spencer Tracy's Jeep was forced off the road in BLACK ROCK:

Finally, this was the spot where Spencer Tracy hurled a Molotov cocktail at Robert Ryan:

This was a very interesting tour which we thoroughly enjoyed. We then headed back to town as the sun was setting.

For more on the BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK locations, please visit a 2008 post at my favorite Sierras movie location site, The Great Silence.


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