Friday, October 02, 2020

Photos From the Road: Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills

For the last half-dozen years we've traveled to Lone Pine, California, each October for the Lone Pine Film Festival.

My overview of last year's festival may be found here, and links to my coverage of previous festivals are at the bottom of the post.

As I mentioned in a link roundup a couple weeks ago, this year the festival is going virtual, like pretty much every other event of its type in 2020.

The three-day online festival, which can be signed up for here and will stream via Vimeo, costs $45 and includes a 4K restoration of MACKINTOSH AND T.J. (1975) starring Roy Rogers; several additional films with introductions by Richard W. Bann; a trio of virtual tours; plus Zoom panels, interviews, and documentaries. I hope many of you will join us at the virtual fest!

Participants can also buy souvenirs to benefit the Museum of Western Film History. Today I ordered the Western Watch Party mug which will be a nice memento of this unusual year.

Since we knew we wouldn't be going to the festival this year, we spent a night in Lone Pine at the end of our August road trip. While we were there we drove out to Movie Road in the Alabama Hills to visit some favorite locations.

Here are a few photos from that day, starting with the marker at the intersection of Whitney Portal Road and Movie Road which was dedicated by Roy Rogers in 1990:

A close-up:

We first stopped to visit where Randolph Scott, Richard Boone, and Maureen O'Sullivan filmed THE TALL T (1957), directed by Budd Boetticher:

Later in the afternoon we visited the temple location from GUNGA DIN (1939). I had previously been there on a 2015 bus tour.

This GUNGA DIN plaque was dedicated by one of the film's stars, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., in 1992.

It's rather profound being out there in the quiet desert, where nothing has changed since the movie was filmed in 1938. On my previous tour I learned that people walking the area sometimes still find bits of plaster where the temple once stood.

The bridge seen in the movie was set up in a different area, and rusted nails which held the bridge in place can be seen to this day.

On one level it's a bit sad these rocks were defaced, but by this point, over eight decades later, the scars left by the bridge have taken their own place in Lone Pine and cinematic history.

The bridge was strung from the rocks in the foreground to those further back in the photo. It was relatively low to the ground; the height was an optical illusion. More photos of the bridge area can be seen in my 2016 post.

A view of the bridge area:

And a great view of Lone Pine Peak and Mount Whitney above the beautiful Alabama Hills:

During the trip I came across a nice article by Geoff Mayer for Senses of Cinema, which I'll share in closing: "Alone in the Alabama Hills: Budd Boetticher and Lone Pine."

Previous photos from this road trip: Photos From the Road: Halfway House Cafe and Vasquez Rocks, Photos From the Road: Hot Creek Geological Site, Photos From the Road: Bridgeport, Part 1, Photos From the Road: Bridgeport, Part 2, Photos From the Road: Highway 395 and Lone Pine, and A Visit to Glen Haven Memorial Park.


Blogger Bill said...

Certainly one of the most amazing places in the US--- even the world. Thanks for the great pictures.

12:35 AM  
Blogger Walter S. said...

Laura, thank you for taking us to the beautiful rugged landscapes of Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills, which most of us have only seen through the movies. As we know, the landscapes are very important characters in outdoor movies.

Also, thank you for the link to Geoff Mayer's really good write-up concerning Budd Boetticher, Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills. Mayer writes about the common elements on Boetticher's Lone Pine Western Movies. These elements were director Boetticher, star Randolph Scott, screenwriter Burt Kennedy, and Lone Pine. It is well worth reading. Barry Lane's comments have touched on this somewhat on Colin's site concerning collaborative efforts in the making of movies.

Stay safe and healthy. Walter S.

8:22 AM  

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