Thursday, October 06, 2022

Lone Pine Movie Locations: The Hitch-Hiker (1953)

Last year I didn't get a chance to share as much coverage of the 2021 Lone Pine Film Festival as I would have liked; the festival was followed just a few days later by the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival in Palm Springs, and very soon after that we went on a road trip to visit our family in Oregon!

All of which meant we had many wonderful experiences, but I didn't have much time to actually share them here. Fortunately things like visiting movie locations which have been untouched for decades don't really "date"!

Along with scheduled festival events, my husband and I had time to do some exploring on our own at last year's festival, and one of the locations we tracked down was from THE HITCH-HIKER (1953).

THE HITCH-HIKER was a frankly terrifying crime tale directed by Ida Lupino, starring Edmond O'Brien and Frank Lovejoy as buddies whose fishing trip takes a very wrong turn when a psychotic killer (William Talman) commandeers their car and forces them to go along for the ride.  

Near the end of the movie Talman's character threatens to kill the two men and dump their bodies down a well, seen in the above screen shot...and it just so happens that that well sequence was filmed in the Alabama Hills outside Lone Pine.

Above is a look at the location from a distance, with my husband standing about where the well was located, and below is a closer look at the well area to the right of the boulders.

O'Brien and Lovejoy sit in front of these rocks, with the well to the right as you look at the area.

Something interesting was that there was quite a bit of rubble only in this area, causing us to wonder if it was the result of work the film crew did at the scene.

While most places in the vast Alabama Hills remain untouched, film crews did leave behind their marks, whether it's nails and cement remaining from the GUNGA DIN (1939) bridge, bolt holes from tents in KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES (1953), a nail found below the altar location of DESERT PURSUIT (1952), or a stone wall built for ARMY GIRL (1938). So it seems quite possible that the rubble, which happens to be in the exact spot the movie was shot, was left behind by the crew of THE HITCH-HIKER.

As a matter of fact, just steps away from THE HITCH-HIKER site one can find rock work left behind by the crew of YELLOW SKY (1948), which I wrote about for Classic Movie Hub last year. The rocks in the center foreground were part of a dam which made the YELLOW SKY watering hole:

Here's the dam as it looked in YELLOW SKY:

As I wrote a couple years ago, while on one level it's sad rocks were defaced and there were manmade changes in the timeless Alabama Hills, from the perspective of decades later, these changes have taken their own significant places in Lone Pine's cinematic history.

Related 2021 Lone Pine Film Festival coverage at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: Coming October 7th-10th, 2021: The 31st Lone Pine Film Festival; Off to Lone Pine!Back From Lone Pine!.

2021 coverage for my Classic Movie Hub Western RoundUp column: Preview - 2021 Lone Pine Film Festival; Lone Pine Film Locations.


Blogger Jerry Entract said...

More very fascinating location discoveries, Laura! I really like "THE HITCHHIKER" which, in some ways, compares with "JEOPARDY" made the same year. Both films are favourites.
Ida Lupino was an interesting artist - coming from the British Music Hall family of Lupinos she landed in Hollywood in the early 1930s and became an interesting and very capable actress and star of many films at Warners. In 1949 she co-produced and co-wrote a film called "NOT WANTED" which was to be directed by Elmer Clifton but he fell ill on the third day of the shoot and Lupino took over. This very good start set off a chain of films she directed over the next few years at a time female directors were rarer than hens' teeth! I like all the films she directed.

11:38 AM  
Blogger mel said...

I know that comparisons are supposed to be odious, but to add to Jerry's comments, in my opinion Ida Lupino was even more beautiful than Elizabeth Taylor - and much more talented.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you for your comments, Jerry and Mel!

Jerry, both THE HITCH-HIKER and JEOPARDY are real "nail-biters"! I liked NOT WANTED when I saw it a couple years ago.

Mel, Ida certainly was both beautiful and talented -- I only wish she'd had the opportunity to direct even more films as I've liked the ones I've seen so well.

Best wishes,

4:41 PM  

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