Monday, August 22, 2011
Monumental Pictures, Part 2
After Stagecoach delivered boffo box office, moviemakers rolled into Monument Valley. Before he was replaced by producer Howard Hughes, Howard Hawks planned to direct a scene or two there for Jane Russell’s controversial “sex Western” The Outlaw at the exact same time in 1940 that MGM had a unit among the buttes shooting action sequences for its competing Billy the Kid. MGM would send a cameraman back in 1945 to film rock eye-candy backdrops for George Sidney’s Judy Garland songfest, The Harvey Girls.
Following the lifting of World War II travel restrictions, a Republic Pictures second unit shot a chase sequence in Monument Valley for its 1946 William Elliott Western, Plainsman and the Lady (aka Drumbeats Over Wyoming). Oh, by the way, Wild Bill’s people beat John Ford to the valley by a few days when he went back (his first visit since Stagecoach) to make My Darling Clementine for Twentieth Century-Fox. Concurrently, Yakima Canutt, Stagecoach’s stunt coordinator, was there too, directing the main title action of John Wayne’s Sedona-based Angel and the Badman for Republic.