Movie Buffs Flock To Alabama Hills, L.A. Times Reports
In an article by the Los Angeles Times today, the history and culture surrounding the Alabama Hills location just east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is put under the microscope. Apparently, Hollywood owes quite a lot to the badlands found out there.
From the 1930's all the way through the present time, film makers have been relying on the vast expanse and beautiful terrain of the Alabama Hills for a seemingly endless amount of movies. From John Wayne to Jamie Foxx, it seems like everyone has gotten in on the action there.
For that reason, movie buffs from all over the United States have descended on the location in hopes of reliving some of their favorite movie scenes. As enthusiast Kent Sperring describes, the process is not always easy.
"We're doing the Lone Pine shuffle - looking down at a photograph, then looking up at the landscape, then looking down on the picture again without tripping," said Sperring, visiting from Duluth, Ga. "We've all taken a tumble or two during these investigations."
The film history in Alabama Hills is rich. The first movie to shoot there was "The Roundup" all the way back in 1920. From there it progressed on to a multitude of projects, primarily of the Western variety, with filming still going on to this day. "Django Unchained" was one such recent movie to use the location for its Western scenery.
For the movie enthusiasts that make their pilgrimages here, it's all about connecting to this sacred extension of Hollywood in an attempt to get closer to the actors they love. They walk around and hold up photographs of their favorite movie scenes, waiting to find the right cliff or formation that will let them know they've struck cinematic gold.
"It's a rather formidable game," said a smiling Dan Gillespie, a nuclear physicist who lives with his wife in Castaic. "Sometimes, having a photographic image snap into place with the surrounding terrain is a matter of walking 10 feet in a certain direction."
Beyond the movies however, hunting for film scenes in the Alabama Hills is about the environment as much as it about anything else. For that reason, there is always a unified reverence and respect for the land from almost all of the movie buffs who make it to this remote location.
"Our biggest exhibit is the surrounding terrain - and we'd like to keep it just the way it is," said local Lone Pine Film Museum Executive Director Chris Langley. "The ghosts of all those actors are still out there reenacting their best days."
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