Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tribute to John Wayne #2 (The Alabama Hills Series)

(GPS: N36 36.110 W118 07.060)

John Wayne made around 13 films that were at least partly shot in the Alabama Hills/Lone Pine area or just outside of it. Some of these were his early Republic b-westerns when he was first starting to act in movies. Usually, when one thinks of John Wayne scenery they think of the John Ford epics shot in Monument Valley. Although these b-movies are not that great, if you watch them with the right attitude they can be quite fun and usually show some of the more classic Alabama Hills locations. Here is a pretty well known location that has been used lots of times:
This is not a difficult one to find. It is just a matter of walking around the roads and you will run into it sooner or later. The following picture is from, I Cover the War, a Universal Pictures movie where Wayne plays a newsreel cameraman. This is a good non-western that is a bit atypical for a b-movie. I have this on dvdr, but AFAIK, it has not been released officially on dvd. The Alabama Hills play the Middle-East here. It is interesting to me because there is a scene with airplane shots from above that look like they were filming the mountains from up high. The following picture has Wayne and partner in a tent checking out the Arabs messing around with their gear. I drew a square around the area to show the rocks that are the same. I am up a bit higher than the camera would have been. I think you have to head down to where those two posts are near the road below to get the right shot. If you are in the mood you can double click the picture to make it bigger and compare with the above. A hint: look just next to Wayne's forehead to see what looks like a "cracked rock" and now compare below.
The same area was used in King of the Pecos. In this movie, the area was the ranch the bad guys take over. John Wayne and company have to fight it out with them. Although Wayne was here for this movie, more than likely the following picture is a double for him. The key is that big rock there.
Here is that rock connected to the rest of the rocks. To take this picture I came back at a different time and movie about 50 feet or so to the south (or to the left) of the picture I took above.
I moved more to the north and then shot back to the south in this next picture. This rock formation was used in a lot of scenes that had horses racing around this corner.
Spencer Tracy was here too in searching for the man he was looking for in Bad Day at Black Rock.

Although I do have more John Wayne at the Alabama Hills locations this is the last I will do for now. I want to move onto a few more other areas he filmed at.