Sunday, September 16, 2007

Audie Murphy's Showdown Rock + Iron Man Preview (The Alabama Hills Series)

(GPS: N36 37.902 W118 07.330)
One of my favorite old western actors is war hero turned actor, Audie Murphy. I have often said elsewhere that Rambo is a myth, but Audie was the real thing. One of the coolest cult westerns out there is No Name on the Bullet where he plays a "good" bad guy. Of course, his autobiographical movie, To Hell and Back, is required watching.

Audie visited Alabama Hills for three separate movies. Hell Bent for Leather, Posse From Hell, and Showdown are the three quality B-westerns he did out there. I have shown one area in the past from Hell Bent for Leather. Unfortunately, like a lot of Audie's movies, these are not on dvd. In the past some of these have played on television. The one I am going to talk about is actually pretty rare and I was fortunate to get a less than steller copy of it. I am grateful to even have that since Showdown is next to impossible to find, but the following picture was taken from a magazine I have:
In this movie, Audie's friend (Charles Drake) has been chained by the bad guys to this rock. The movie is like The Tall T and Rawhide that were filmed out here, in the sense that Audie and his friend are captives of the badmen here. A lot of the movie deals with getting ransom money for the men as both friends are split up. This chained rock becomes an important area in the movie.

Fortunately, finding this rock was not too difficult and may have been a lot harder for me to find without help. The Lone Pine Film Museum has a map you can buy on your way out for a dollar that gives a driving tour of most of the main Audie Murphy sites. Still I was not sure it would be that easy since this location is much further north than the main sites I have gone over in the past. This is actually a good thing about Audie's movies is that he and some of the crew scouted for areas that had not been used before. He even flew overhead in his plane looking for them. A lot of these rocks out in this area were not as distinctive for me, but following the directions and using my location hunting intuition I eventually found the area.
The funny thing is that I shot this at the end of June around 8:00am. In mid-August, I was there around 9:30am in which I hoped to take a picture with my new camera and not have any shadows at all, but it was much worse. Naturally, the month of June up to the 21st has the longest daylight. Next month it will be interesting in that I hope to be here during the middle of the day so that shouldn't be an issue. I'll edit this if I get a better picture.

I have other location sites with Audie Murphy, but I'll save those for another time.

Coincidentally, I was watching random youtube video's this morning. I had already intended to put this entry up today with this site. I saw that the new trailer for Marvel Comic Book character, Iron Man, was up. I clicked it and the next thing I saw was Iraq! Well, not really, but that's where part of the story takes place.

After further examing it I was shocked to see how north they were in Alabama Hills. Here Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is talking to a bunch of soldiers about his weapons. Then I thought this is really a strange coincidence. They are not that far away from Audie Murphy's Showdown rock location. It is just a few minutes walk south of it from what it looks like.
Strange as it is, in my picture above, if you look to the left and the midground of the picture, some of those rocks look very similar to the two right rocks in the trailer picture. The backgrounds are very close. It would make sense for them to film that scene there. It is very close to a very large area anyone can park at to walk to these areas. When I go back next month I will verify this.

In the meantime, check out the trailer. It will be nice to see some of these areas on the bigscreen in May, 2008. FYI, Mt. Langely is just to the right of Downey's head. I was on top of that one a few weeks ago...another entry, some other time.

Iron Man Official Site (Go here for the best trailer quality)
Iron Man Trailer on Youtube