7:00pm COSTUME CONTEST
Opening night of the Film Festival is always an exciting evening. Old real friends and memories of older “screen” friends. Now, come on, admit it – Who’s cowboy hat did you wear when you were a kid? Vest? Guns, Western boots? Bring your finest and strut them for the movie audience before the opening night film. Larry Maurie will MC, and comment on the night’s fashion. Winner takes home $100; 2nd place $75.00; and 3rd place $50.00 bucks!
7:30pm WHEN COWBOYS WERE KING/The History Channel (100 min.) Color & B&W
Directed by Michael Emerson with narration by Eli Wallach. This documentary revisits the first half of the 20th century, a time when the cowboy character ruled the “B” genre of the big screen. Eli Wallach tells the story of When Cowboys were King and highlights the history of making of western movies and careers of the stars who made them what they were.
7:30am GUNS OF HATE/RKO Pictures/(1948) (Lone Pine) Tim Holt (60 min.) B&W
Directed by Lesley Selander with Tim Holt, Richard Martin, Nan Leslie, Steve Brodie Jason Robards, Sr. A string of 8 Tim Holt post-war Bs for RKO are considered by many to be some of the best series westerns of this era. With tremendous chemistry between Holt and sidekick Chito (Richard Martin), high production values, breathtaking location photography in the Alabama Hills, strong supporting casts and topnotch scripts, they resemble nothing less than major studio “A” efforts, tightly wound into a 60 minute running time. GUNS OF HATE is no exception, as Tim and Chito hear gunshots in the Alabama Hills. Arriving on the scene, they discover the murdered body of prospector Ben Jason (Robards, Sr), who has discovered the legendary Lost Dutchman Gold Mine. Friends with Jason after helping him repair his wagon, they are stunned at his loss and subsequently suspected and arrested for his murder and hauled off to jail. Determined to prove their innocence they stage a break out and comb the Alabama Hills in search of the real culprits. The supporting cast includes stellar work from a very intense Steve Brodie as a corrupt and violent saloon owner. Location buffs will notice the Lone Pine Cabin used as leading lady Nan Leslie’s ranch house. At the end of the film, local Lone Pine wind conditions were so intense that the closing dialogue had to be shot in a studio, using rear screen projection.
9:00am HELL BENT FOR LEATHER Universal Pictures/(1960) (Lone Pine) Audie Murphy (82 min.) Color
Directed by George Sherman with Audie Murphy, Felicia Farr, Steve McNally, Jan Merlin. In the first of his three pictures made in Lone Pine, Murphy portrays innocent horse trader Clay Santell. He is mistaken for a wanted murderer and then arrested by Sheriff Deckett (McNally) who knows Santell is innocent and refuses to conduct an investigation. Santell’s only alternative is to go on the run with hostage Janet Gifford (Farr) while searching for the real culprit, Travers (Merlin). Murphy had just completed what may be some of the best acting in his film career in John Huston’s THE UNFORGIVEN and brings his same “A” game to this film, turning in a brilliant performance as a frightened and unarmed fugitive endlessly pursued by a bloodthirsty posse. Stephen McNally’s performance as the psychotic pursuing Sheriff is chilling and Felicia Farr is equally good as the hostage who comes around to believing Santell and aids him in eluding capture. Good vistas of the Sierras and Alabama Hills in Eastmancolor and CinemaScope.
11:00 am TRAIL TO SAN ANTONE/Republic Pictures/(1947) Gene Autry (Lone Pine) (67 min.) B&W
Special tribute to Peggy Stewart after the movie with Cheryl Rogers Barnett, Julia Rogers Pomilia and Dorothy Best!
Directed by John English with Gene Autry, Peggy Stewart, John Duncan. 2023 marks the 100th birthday of the inimitable Peggy Stewart and we are pleased to screen one of her finest films, co-starring with Gene Autry in this western classic. Apart from Peggy’s spectacular acting career, lasting well into recent decades with guest starring roles in SEINFELD and JUSTIFIED, Peggy was a longtime friend of the Lone Pine Film Festival. We celebrate her this year. Returning home from World War II, Army Air Force pilot Gene Autry learns that the Cass County Boys, his singing ranch hands, have bought a racehorse for him as a surprise. The real surprise is when Kit Barlow (Peggy Stewart) shows up at his ranch with horse trainer Cal Young (Tristram Coffin) demanding the horse back. It seems that the horse was previously stolen and later sold to the Cass County Boys by fired horse trainer Rick Malloy (William Henry). Malloy’s brother Ted is a crippled ex-jockey; his injuries were suffered in an accident engineered by Cal Young. Over Cal’s objection’s, Gene hires Rick, Ted and comic relief Droopy Stearns (Sterling Holloway) as extra ranch hands. Joining forces with Kit Barlow, Gene convinces her to help crippled jockey (Duncan) regain his confidence to race again. In the meantime, the prize horse gets loose out in the open range. Gene flies to the rescue, using a plane to find the horse in time to start the race. One scene to watch for: early in the film, when the horse gets loose, it jumps over Peggy Stewart and Tristram Coffin while they sit in an open convertible. Gene gives chase on horseback and jumps over the same car. That car is now on exhibit, beautifully restored, in the Lone Pine Museum of Western Film History. Check it out!
SPECIAL PANEL: After the movie, Steve Latshaw will moderate a tribute panel with lots of stories from Cheryl Rogers Barnett, Julia Rogers Pomilia and Dorothy Best about their adventures with Peggy Stewart..
Peggy comments during the 2012 Film Festival on Jim Rogers donation of the1941 Buick Eight Roadmaster https://youtu.be/fQwThuQiHWs
1:00pm BELLS OF CORONADO/Republic Pictures/(1950) Roy Rogers (67 Min.) Color
Introduced by Cheryl Rogers
Directed by William Witney with Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Pat Brady and Grant Withers.. In this classic Republic TruColor western, Roy poses as a cowhand looking for work while investigating an insurance claim for lost uranium ore by mine owner Craig Bennett (Withers). After Bennett’s partner is murdered at the dam, Roy learns that the true ownership of the mine is suspicious and that Bennett still has the ore. Roy and Pat Brady race against time to gather evidence against Bennett before he and his henchmen have time to abscond with the ore. But a 3rd act twist reveals Bennett may actually not be the bad guy. This one has great songs from the cast with Foy Willing & The Riders of the Purple Sage and a memorable fight outside a general store inadvertently started by Dale Evans. Dale displays top notch comic timing throughout the film, including a memorable line to a cow mooing at her as he blocks her car on a dirt road: “Next time I see you I hope you’re on a plate!” The film features spectacular location work at and around Littlerock Dam, plus a modern-day battle between our heroes and uranium rustlers as they rendezvous with a foreign transport plane in the desert. As with all William Witney Roy Rogers films, Bells of Coronado is filled with fast-paced and sometimes brutal action.
2:30pm THE WILD HORSE STAMPEDE/Monogram Pictures/(Silent – 1926) (Lone Pine) Jack Hoxie, Fay Wray (59 min.) B&W/Color tints
“Spoiler Alert” – Young rancher Jack Tanner, who is in love with Jessie Hayden, offers to corral a herd of wild horses that have been spoiling the neighboring cattle ranges, stopping Champion, who wants to shoot them. Meanwhile, a strange woman (Grace Connor?) meets Jack on the range, and he gives her shelter while he searches futilely for the herd; at length, his horse Scout and dog Bunk corral the horses. Jack wants to propose to Jessie, but when she sees the strange woman, she spurns him and goes to Champion, whose proposal she has rejected; and Champion’s men set out to steal the herd. While she and Champion ride to town in a buckboard, the herd is freed and begins to stampede, and Jack, learning that the strange woman is Champion’s wife, rides after the endangered buckboard; Champion is flung from the wagon and killed, and Jessie is rescued by Jack. A posse arrests the gang, and the lovers are reunited.
NOTE: Wild Horse Stampede will feature live piano accompaniment by JAY C. MUNNS. Jay has been entertaining audiences for nearly five decades, specializing in vintage American music from saloon piano to the great hits of the 20s, 30s and 40s. He has performed for two U.S. Presidents and entertained countless celebrities including Bob Hope, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, as well as movie directors from Hal Roach and Mervyn LeRoy to Steven Spielberg.
3:45pm RED RYDER TV PILOT (Gun Trouble Valley) /Hollywood Television Service – (1956) (Lone Pine) (25 Min.) B&W
Red Ryder was a popular western character in comics, radio and movies back in the day. Between 1946-1947, Allan “Rocky” Lane starred as Red Ryder in a series of action-packed B westerns for Republic Pictures. After the seventh, the studio’s rights to the character lapsed. Eight years later, Gene Autry had become a successful TV producer. In addition to his own half hour show, he’d had series success with RANGER RIDER, BUFFALO BILL JR., ANNIE OAKLEY and THE ADVENTURES OF CHAMPION. Former Red Ryder Allan Lane was still in great shape and Gene thought Rocky Lane’s return as Red Ryder in a new TV series might turn into similar small screen gold. A pilot, “Gun Trouble Valley,” was completed in 1956. Filming took place at Lone Pine, in the Alabama Hills, and the guest star was edgy James Best, playing a married rancher having some trouble with the local criminal element until Red Ryder and sidekicks Little Beaver and the Duchess come to the rescue. By the late 50s, television schedules were glutted with western series, and old fashioned kids westerns like Red Ryder were giving way to an entirely new crop of “adult” western series, more drama than action. The Red Ryder pilot ultimately didn’t sell… but it wasn’t due to lack of quality. “Gun Trouble Valley” disappeared for decades but we are happy to present it to our Lone Pine audience as a part of our Friday tribute to legendary character actor James Best.
7:00pm Introduction of film for tonight’s main screening – Steve Latshaw
A conversation hosted by Rob Word with two-time Emmy Award and two-time Humanitas Prize–winning writer/producer Kirk Ellis “will precede the screenings below.” Veteran screenwriter Kirk Ellis in his recently released, 2023, book, Ride Lonesome, brilliantly unpacks the themes, narrative, visual language, and editing in this seminal film. In Ride Lonesome Ellis not only shows how this one film embodies a turning point for the Western, but he also explores the unique vision and contributions of director Boetticher and his writing partner Burt Kennedy.
Ride Lonesome, the fifth film in the “Ranown cycle,” is both the best and most representative of the whole series, which has been called “the most remarkable convergence of artistic achievement in the history of low-budget movie making.” Director Bud Boetticher captures the alienation and loneliness of an America faced with the Cold War and the daily threat of nuclear annihilation. Shot in seventeen days for under a half-million dollars, Ride Lonesome is a masterpiece of cinematic minimalism.
Post screening, Steve Latshaw will host a Q&A about the life and career of RIDE LONESOME co-star James Best with special guests Dorothy Best and Kirk Ellis.
8:00pm RIDE LONESOME/Columbia Pictures/ (1959) Randolph Scott (Lone Pine) (73 Min.) Color
(A Budd Boetticher/Burt Kennedy film)
7:30am BAR 20 RIDES AGAIN/Paramount Pictures/(1935) (Lone Pine) William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy (60 Min.) B&W
Directed by Howard Bretherton with William Boyd, Gabby Hayes, James Ellison, Harry Worth. In this 3rd of 66 Hopalong Cassidy movies, Hoppy (Boyd) travels from the Bar 20 to go to the aid of friend, Jim Arnold, whose cattle are being rustled by a well-organized and secretive gang. He sheds his traditional all-black garb to go undercover and pose as a gambler in order to infiltrate the rustling gang and get his man. The suspected leader of the gang is George Perdue, aka: Nevada (Harry Worth), a smug and eccentric easterner who has a fascination of and desire to emulate the French emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. Spectacular views of the Alabama Hills are featured throughout the film.
9:00am THE BAMBOO SAUCER/National Telefilm Associates (NTA)/(1968) (Lone Pine) Dan Duryea (103 Min.) Color
Directed by Frank Telford with Dan Duryea, John Ericson, Lois Nettleton. A flying saucer hidden in a Chinese village is sought by military teams from the U.S. and Soviet Union. Upon finding it they join forces to fend off the approaching Chinese army and seek shelter in the saucer. This is a rarely seen independent science fiction film with a relevant (for 1968) cold war subplot. Spectacular color photography makes good use of the Alabama Hills and Whitney Portal areas for filming locations.
11:00am THE LAW AND JAKE WADE MGM Studios/(1958) (Lone Pine) Robert Taylor (85 Min.) Color
Directed by John Sturges with Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark, Patricia Owens. Outlaw, Clint Hollister (Widmark) escapes from prison and teams up with reluctant former partner, Jake Wade (Taylor), who has since gone straight and become a Marshal. By holding Wade’s girl Peggy (Owens) hostage, Hollister forces Wade to lead him to loot buried by Wade a year ago when he quit the gang. But it may be all for naught; when they reach the secret stash an encounter with an overwhelming number of unfriendly natives may be the death of all of them. Legendary action master John Sturges had built an entire town south of the railroad tracks in Lone Pine three years earlier for BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK. For LAW AND JAKE WADE, Sturges built a small street on the same spot. Years later, in the late 60s, while on a road trip, Sturges made a point of stopping again in Lone Pine to show his son where he’d had the sets built for those two films. Sturges would go on to direct THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, THE GREAT ESCAPE, ICE STATION ZEBRA and other action classics.
2:00 pm PANEL DISCUSSION with Celebrity Guests / Moderated by Rob Word (Pre-panel entertainment by Kat Lively)
Those in attendance will have a special treat prior to this panel with a special performance by Kat Lively. Kat is the creator and host of the ‘Calling old Hollywood’ Podcast, where she seeks out Hollywood legends and their stories to document the unique and brilliant film history of Hollywood from the 1930’s through today.
Kat Lively isn’t just a film and music historian, she’s also a country/folk singer-songwriter. Before she started interviewing legends in Hollywood History, she was serenading audiences around the country with soulful songs. You don’t want to miss Kat’s first performance in 4 years – she will will perform her brand new folk song about Lone Pine, or as she says, “new memories of ole’, a new song by a youthful ole sole.”
Come and join the dialogue or sit back and enjoy it with a panel of celebrity guest actors, directors, authors and star family members who will share their interesting personal stories and anecdotes with you. Hear the journey they took that shaped their lives and careers. The participants include Cheryl Rogers Barnett, Dorothy Best, Bruce Boxleitner, Kirk Ellis, Jimmy Hunt and Daryle Ann Lindley. The diverse range of backgrounds of these guests make will make for absorbing conversation that won’t disappoint.
7:00pm LARRY MAURICE, POET & Introduction of film.
7:30pm THE LONE HAND/Universal Pictures/(1953) Joel McCrea, Barbara Hale, Jimmy Hunt (Color) (80 ,min.)
A conversation hosted by Rob Word with Wyatt McCrea, and Bruce Boxleitner will precede the screening.
In 1870, widowed farmer Zachary Hallock (Joel McCrea) and his son Joshua (Jimmy Hunt) try to establish new roots on their farm near a small western town victimized by outlaws. In the wake of the Sheriff’s murder, local merchants and ranchers have formed a vigilante group called “The Regulators” to oppose the constant threat faced by their families. The Regulators try to recruit Hallock, but he refuses and instead secretly joins the outlaw band as a solution to his financial troubles. Son Joshua and his new
bride Sarah (Barbara Hale) are horrified at Zachary’s new life of crime, but all is not as it seems as the film races like an out-of-control stagecoach to its action packed and surprising conclusion. Tightly directed in Technicolor by George Sherman, with a literate script from Joseph Hoffman and Irving Ravetch, the film features nuanced performances from the three leads, particularly in the father and son moments between McCrea and Jimmy Hunt. Using an unusual dramatic device, Hunt also narrates the film, from the perspective of his character, McCrea’s son. The film makes fine use of spectacular Colorado locations, with only a few town scenes shot on the Universal back lot. Just before the screening, Rob Word will host a conversation with Wyatt McCrea, grandson of Joel McCrea, and Bruce Boxleitner.
10:30am TREMORS/Universal Pictures/(1990) (Lone Pine) Kevin Bacon (96 Min.) Color
Directed by Ron Underwood with Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter. Two pals, Val and Earl (Bacon and Ward), along with seismologist Rhonda (Carter) discover large and deadly worm-like creatures living underground that begin terrifying the surrounding area. Together with the residents of the small desert town of Perfection, Nevada, they find themselves fighting for their lives. It will take all of their courage and ingenuity to defeat these formidable beasts.
2:30pm MAVERICK/Warner Brothers/(1994) James Garner (127 Min.) Color
Directed by Richard Donner with Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner. Conman and gambler Bret Maverick (Gibson), needing a large grubstake to enter a high stakes poker tournament, first cons another gambler, Annabelle Bransford (Foster). Upon learning she is a con artist herself they team up to fleece others in order to get enough cash for the buy-in. Meanwhile, they have to stay several steps ahead of Zane Cooper (Garner), the unstoppable lawman on their trail. This all-star western epic is spectacular old-fashioned fun, with star turns from Gibson, Garner and Foster, a host of cameos from some of the most famous and beloved western stars of film and TV history, a few surprises (watch for a surprise scene early in the film between Gibson and his LETHAL WEAPON co-star Danny Glover). And finally, Richard Donner, himself of veteran director of classic 1960s TV shows, brings it all together in the spirit of the original series, with a surprise ending that ties into its small screen history very nicely. Note: Filming locations include the Sierra Nevada foothills somewhere in direct view of Mt. Whitney and Woton’s Throne, somewhere in the Big Pine, Fish Springs, Bishop area.
*** Thank you to Woody Wise and Steve Latshaw for their research and selection of films for this year’s film festival.
Indicates film crews shot on location in the Alabama Hills, Lone Pine and or vicinity.