Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Lone Pine Film Festival: Final Roundup

It's time to wrap up my coverage of this year's 30th Lone Pine Film Festival!

In past posts I reviewed six of the nine films seen at this year's festival -- along with one I watched at the hotel!

The final trio of films seen were BLAZING DAYS (1927), HOPALONG RIDES AGAIN (1937), and KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES (1953).

BLAZING DAYS was a short 48-minute silent film directed by William Wyler, starring Fred Humes, Ena Gregory, and Churchill Ross. The movie was preserved by the Library of Congress thanks to it having been directed by the great Wyler.

The plot, involving sheep ranching and a stagecoach robbery, was unfortunately not very memorable, a real rarity for this director. That said, as always I really enjoyed the live musical score by Jay C. Munns.

HOPALONG RIDES AGAIN was the seventh film in the series which started with HOP-A-LONG CASSIDY (1935) just two years previously. I recently wrote about that film at greater length for Classic Movie Hub.

In HOPALONG RIDES AGAIN Hoppy, Windy (George "Gabby" Hayes), Lucky (Russell Hayden), and young Artie Peters (Billy King) are on a cattle drive with a man (Harry Worth) who claims to be a professor studying the area and looking for fossils. In truth, he's a cattle rustler!

It was a particular treat to see this as it was one of four Hoppy films costarring child actor Billy King. I met him at a past Lone Pine festival, and he was a lovely man. He passed away earlier this year at the age of 94. There's a short video on YouTube of part of an interview he did with Rob Word.

This 65-minute Hoppy film was directed by the reliable Lesley Selander and filmed by Russell Harlan, with story and screenplay by Norman Houston. Nora Lane and Lois Wilde costarred.

I previously reviewed KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES, seen at the festival on Sunday, in 2014. As I noted in an earlier post, we realized when watching the movie that the opening battle scene had been filmed on Whitney Portal Road, looking down at the valley below.

I noted in my original review that it was windy when the movie was shot and much of the dialogue was obviously looped in later, sounding at times as though it was coming from an echo chamber. That made understanding all of the dialogue from the Blu-ray projected at the festival a bit of a challenge, but at least I had a good idea what was happening due to having seen it before! And watching Tyrone Power is never a hardship, even if the film's soundtrack is less than optimal.

Sunday was also the day we enjoyed the parade down Main Street and the closing campfire at Spainhower Park. Click on any photo to enlarge it for a closer look.

I love the local entries which are mixed in with the festival guests:

Stuntman Diamond Farnsworth, the son of the last actor-stuntman Richard Farnsworth:

Darby Hinton (in red) and Robert Carradine rode horseback:

William Wellman Jr. waves to our camera.  He was accompanied by his wife Flossie.

Actor Michael McGreevey:

Jay Dee Witney, son of director William Witney, and his dog Pixel:

Wyatt and Lisa McCrea:

J.C. Munns played live music as he went down the parade route in the back of a pickup!

The delightful John Gilliland in his Hopalong Cassidy costume:

We spent an hour or so at the closing night campfire. There was live music...

...and a farewell speech by Darby Hinton (below right), speaking with master of ceremonies Larry Maurice. Having been a fan of Daniel Boone as a child, it was fun to see Darby in person this year; he seemed like a nice guy who really appreciated his Lone Pine experience.

In addition to appearing in BILL TILGHMAN AND THE OUTLAWS (2019), which screened on the festival's opening night, he is also in the brand-new Hallmark Channel Christmas film CHRISTMAS WISHES AND MISTLETOE KISSES (2019).

The next morning it was time to head home after another wonderful weekend in Lone Pine. We're hoping to be there again next year, and I'd encourage anyone who's considered it to make 2020 the year to attend!


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