Location Filming in the Alabama Hills
Charles Michael Morfin
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Forged from glaciers and sacred to Native Americans, the mountains, boulders, and rocks of the Alabama Hills mirror landscapes found all over the world. A scenic three-hour drive from the Hollywood sign, this location would prove to serve as the place to make movies. Early Hollywood studios sent location scouts to the area after hearing stories shared by travelers, and the rest is movie history. Over 500 films have completed shooting here, including silents, A movies, B Westerns, serials, sci-fi, film noir, television shows, and commercials. Tom Mix, Errol Flynn, John Wayne, William Boyd, Clayton Moore, Lucille Ball, Roy Rogers, Natalie Wood, Humphrey Bogart, Steve McQueen, Russell Crowe, Jamie Foxx, and many more have all scrambled amongst the terrain in the Alabama Hills.
(1953) and Bad Day at Black Rock (1955). The highest-decorated soldier of World War II was Medal of Honor recipient Audie Murphy. Murphy starred most notably in Showdown (1963). In it, he can be seen galloping along Movie Road just as the Roman hero Russell Crowe does in Gladiator (2000). His personal pistol is on display at the film museum in Lone Pine, California, from the collection of Jim Phillips, who is a distant relative of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. John Wayne, born Marion Morrison,
by famous photographer Ansel Adams in 1943. Below are the author and his dog at the abandoned Manzanar gatehouse. (Above, courtesy of Library of Congress.) In Independence, California, is the courthouse where the films Daft Punk’s Electroma (2006) and Trial and Error (1997), starring Jeff Daniels, Michael Richards, and Charlize Theron, were filmed. The photograph at right shows Daniels on the roof of the courthouse with the Eastern Sierras in the background. Charlize Theron plays a small-town
and rodeos. Jack Hoxie made more pictures in the Alabama Hills than any other silent actor of the day. He and his horse White Fury are shown here in Don Dare Devil (1925), which was filmed in the Ruiz Hills area. He also had a horse named Scout. Jack Hoxie can also be seen in numerous other films, including Back Trail (1924), also filmed in the Ruiz Hills area. Jack Hoxie, like Tom Mix, was one of the more famous cowboys of the early era and is buried at Willowbar Cemetery in Keyes, Oklahoma.
construction that once supported an elephant. Also in the northwest area are locations of various film stunts, a movie burial site, and locations of films including Maverick, with James Garner and Mel Gibson. In the northeast area are the more notable sites of the B Westerns and serials. The locations are identified best by the rock formations that are easily spotted. This area has a dominant gravel path that can be easily walked while exploring various filming locations. Find the Lone Ranger
of Hate (1948), which was filmed entirely in the Alabama Hills. Directed by Lesley Selander and starring Tim Holt, the film tells the story of two men falsely accused of murder who escape from jail and search for the real killers. Tim Holt’s horse was named Duke. This lobby card is for The Adventures of Hajji Baba (1954). This film included many wonderful scenes showing locations in the Alabama Hills. Below is the lobby card for The Violent Men (1955). The film, starring Glenn Ford, centers