Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The 7 Men From Now Relay Station (The Alabama Hills Series)

(N36 36.550 W118 07.525)

Here is some nice movie archaeology. This is going to be the last one of these I do for a while so I thought I would end on fun one.

The station was out right next to Movie Road and most people just drive right past it. The Tyrone Power movie, Rawhide, was filmed in almost the same area. When you watch that movie look for some of the same areas I have shown here.
The camera for the movie was slightly to the right of where I was, but you should see the same rock formations all around.
After Randolph Scott rides across Movie Road he goes to this water well.
It does look like they knocked down the well, but left some of the stones there. There are some small cement fragments lying around. It does seem these are the remains of that well.
Here is another look at these stones.
There are other pieces of debris out near where the station was. This is the one I showed in the video. Was this from the movie? Maybe, maybe not, but things like this are unique to this area and you do not see debris like this just lying out in most of the areas in the Alabama Hills.

I am going to put a hold on the Alabama Hills stuff for a few months. I have a bunch more, but when I get back to doing videos and blogging I will be posting more about other things for a while.

Friday, August 08, 2008

8/8/8 Surprise

(AKA The Triple T on Triple 8)

I get a kick out of people that make a big deal about these calendar numbers. First, people really cared about 666 which I can kind of understand. Then it was 777 last year. Now we are up to 888. We go on and on until 121212. I think the people on youtube are the ones that make the most out of these with their "gatherings." Not that this day really has that much importance, but I thought I would "celebrate" it by mentioning two things.

Of course, I have talked about this area lots of times before. Here are some of the older blogs with old pictures:
I have even camped out there too:

Second, Since I am mentioning The Tall T I thought I would take this time to mention something regarding the dvd box set that is supposed to come out soon. Everyone knows that I love the Budd Boetticher/Randolph Scott movies and I have constantly put up videos and pictures of their locations on this blog. Let me give a little movie history background and tell you what I was told about what is coming.

Originally, the script for Seven Men From Now was wanted by Robert Mitchum. That did not happen because John Wayne was able to get it and intended to star in it. They got Budd Boetticher to direct, but Wayne was busy with The Searchers. Wayne decided that Randolph Scott would be good to get because he was near the end of this career and would be cheap. Wayne's group Batjac made the movie. It was only few years ago that some of the Batjac titles were released on dvd and Seven Men From Now was one of those made available by Wayne's son. This movie is what started the teamup of Budd Boetticher and Randolph Scott for a series of movies.

The movies that Boetticher and Scott teamed up on after Seven Men were known as the Ranown cycle. Ranown is combination of Randolph Scott's and Harry Brown's names. Brown was the producer. In the credits you might see "A Scott-Brown Production." Those movies consisted of The Tall T, Decision at Sundown, Buchanon Rides Alone, Ride Lonesome, and Comanche Station. There is another movie that Budd Boetticher directed with Scott during this period, Westbound, but it is not part of the Ranown cycle. Harry Brown was not the producer on that movie, Boetticher was brought in as a replacement director, and it was a Warner Bros. movie. The Ranown cycle of movies were produced and distributed by Columbia Pictures. Apparently, the deal with Westbound is there were some problems on the set and Scott called Boetticher asking him if he could help out. Boetticher never liked this movie and the consensus among viewers is it is not as good as the above movies. So, it is kind of left off the list if one is talking about Boetticher/Scott collaborations.

Sometime back I was reading something online where someone said that they had hoped someone like Criterion would release these movies. The problem is they do not own them. The movies were owned by Columbia Pictures which is now owned by Sony. Sony is the company that owns the rights to the Ranown movies.

These movies were been released on vhs ages ago. The question many have had is when they would see a dvd release. For quite sometime they have been shown over and over again on the Encore Western channel. In fact, a lot of the recent popularity of these titles seems to be due to them getting on the rotation on Encore Westerns for the past few years. I have seen lots of younger people in recent years claim they have been big Boetticher fans due to these movies, but I suspect this is due to Encore Westerns because these people were not around 10-15 years ago claiming this. In any case, it is good that these movies are finally getting the exposure they should be getting.

When are these movies going to get a dvd release? At this point let me mention what I was told. I was told sometime near the end of this year Sony will release the Ranown movies in a box set along with the 2005 Documentary, Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do that. Now with any company there is a difference between what they project as the release date and when the the product actually comes out. This is just my personal experience in dealing with music cds, video games, movies, etc. It is common for delays to happen in any business. If they are not out by the end of the year, then look for them sometime the next year. I can not remember if I mentioned this on this blog, but this was the same situation with the movies The Gunfighter and Rawhide. I was told they would be released about 6-9 months from when they were filming the extras. There was not anything online about this at the time, but sure enough six months later they were out. The same with How the West Was Won and The Law and Jake Wade that are coming out later at the end of this month. I was also told about some of the filmed extras that might be on the dvd's too, but these sorts of things I think it are best for Sony to reveal. Please do not ask for any "links" because as of right now I do not know of any. Not everything in the real world is found on an internet link. There is some "chatter" out there if you do some searches, but nothing official as to the exact date of release. When they do have a official link I will come back to this entry and add it right here.

(EDIT (August 13, 2008 and September 7, 2008): Well that did not take too long. TCM, Movies Unlimited, Deep Discount Dvd, and Amazon.com are now taking orders for a NOVEMBER 4, 2008 release date. Here are the links:

For a listing of what the box set will contain here is the official Sony link (click here).It turns out the "Eastwood on Comanche Station" extra was the one I had been told about some time back as well as the set having audio commentaries. This is the last edit I intend to do because I think I have covered all the major links.) )

The main reason I wanted to mention this is because I often refer to these movies a lot in this blog and I get e-mail asking about where people can buy these movies. Sometimes I will see people advertise links to online vendors that sale these movies as bootlegs. In some cases, that is not a bad thing, but since we are so close to an official dvd release it is not worth spending money on movies that really are just burned dvd-r's taken from the Encore Western channel.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Tom Mix Ropes Them Up Location (The Alabama Hills Series)

(GPS: N36 35.860 W118 11.160)

Here is an easy one, but fun because it is a silent movie location:
Tom Mix made Riders of the Purple Sage in 1925. He made Just Tony (1922), Flaming Guns (1932), and Terror Trail (1932) here in Lone Pine as well. This is an easy to find location because they filmed in what is known today as Lone Pine Campground. In fact, if you reserve it, there is a camp parking spot right next to this rocks on the right side. Usually when I am here there is someone's car right next to these rocks.
The only movie I know of that has Henry Fonda in Lone Pine is How the West Was Won. In a scene, he had a cabin nearby that he lived in. John Wayne was nearby as well for North to Alaska. People tend to take pictures from here because you have a direct line to Mt. Whitney in the background.
You may have to click my picture to get a bigger view of it or look closely, but you can see the trail that was there in 1925. It looks like it splits around.
I like silent movie locations because those tend to be the harder ones to find. Most silent film areas are so old that they usually are built over unless you are away from civilization like this one.