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National Parks/Monuments in Cinema


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I just got back from an epic vacation that took me all over the West: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Alberta & British Columbia. I swear I saw John Wayne and the Cavalry as I drove through Monument Valley. I saw these National Parks/Monuments (not in this order, though):


* Grand Canyon

* Canyon de Chelly

* Petrified Forest/Painted Desert

* Yellowstone

* Teton

* Glacier

* Banff

* Yoho

* Glacier, Canada

* Mount Revelstoke

* Arches

* Canyonlands


Now I'm in the mood to see these places in classic movies, of course! So the epic question is:


*Can you think of any movies with these parks/monuments in them?*


I know the movie *PETRIFIED FOREST*, and of couse *SHANE* is filmed at the lovely Tetons, but that's all I got at the moment. While you're at it, throw in other movies with National Parks/Monuments! :D


Let's all go to the Parks with our favorite classic movie stars!


And while we're at it, throw in your favorite Nat'l Park, too!


Edited by: LonesomePolecat on Jun 28, 2013 9:55 PM

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As you know, the John Wayne/John Ford westerns will show off Monument Valley. *Electric Glide in Blue* and *Forrest Gump* filmed there, too.


*Mackenna's Gold, The Professionals* and *Star Trek Generations* all filmed at the Valley of Fire State Park in Southern Nevada.


*711 Ocean Drive* filmed exterior and interior scenes at Hoover Dam.


*Ace in the Hole* was filmed in New Mexico's Laguna Pueblo.


*Midnight Run* has a variety of Southwest landmarks as well.

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Vertigo: Muir Woods (ok, it's a state park), Fort Point, Presidio, Golden Gate National Recreation Area


HIgh Sierra: Death Valley National Monument; San Bernardino National Forest; Mount Whitney, Inyo National Forest.


Dances With Wolves: Badlands National Park


Gentle Ben: Everglades National Park


Thelma and Louise: Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park

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Tortilla Flat (1940) was shot partly in Monterey, CA. It's possible that the scenes amid the Redwoods were filmed there. The scene with Frank Morgan telling his dogs the story of St. Francis is particularly memorable.

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May not be a classic to some but CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND made Devil's Tower NM pretty famous. It is a classic movie to me. Been there several times. Fascinating place.

Fisher Towers Recreation Area in the Professor Valley west of Moab along the Colorado River was featured in many Ford films over many years. Too many to list. Great place I've been to or by many times including snowcovered winter vistas.

The BLM Alabama Hills Recreation Area west of Lone Pine, CA with Mt. Whitney in the background has been seen in too many films to count such as the great GUNGA DIN and BAD DAY AT BLACKROCK. My wife and I climbed Whitney in 2000 and explored the Alabama Hills.

Goblin Valley State Park in Utah north of Hanksville, Utah has been featured in a number of movies requiring strange alien landscapes. My kids when young loved the exotic place.

Badlands NP and Custer State Park in South Dakota were used in HOW THE WEST WAS WON. Both are great places to visit.


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National Lampoons Vacation had the Grand Canyon in in it, as did the recient film With Barbara Striesand and Seth Rogen The Guilt Trip. Then their's that Brady Bunch vacation episode with Jay Silverheels and Jim Backus, (I would not want to go on a trip with six kids and Alice.)


Edited by: sfpcc1 on Jun 29, 2013 8:29 AM

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*Alfred Hitchcock* had a droll sensibility that liked juxtaposing his characters and story upon (and not merely in front of) a revered iconic landmark. The viewer would get to see a life death struggle between the hero and antagonist that symbolised a war between two ideologies; between a hero who stood for the average American man and the subversive agent a foreign totalitarianism.


In *Saboteur (1942)*, the all American guy Barry Kane (played by Robert Cummings), comes under suspicion for having committed arson sabotage at a California aviation defense plant. Of course he didn't do it, it was done by German axis agents and their sell out American stooges. (The wrongly accused protagonist fleeing from the authorities while trying to clear his name, is a common recurring leitmotif in Hitchcock's films). Cummings finds himself at odds with both the American govt and police, as well as the "Fifth column" agents that want to silence him.


The deadly struggle reaches it's culmination at the end of the film, where the pursuit ends not merely AT the Statue Of Liberty, but up her arm and right out of her torch! The villain ends up hanging by the arm of his jacket, over the edge of Lady Liberty's hand. As the material can't bear the weight of his body, he falls to his death. This has to be one of the most visually remarkable and symbolic endings in the cinema, one that must have given a wartime audience great satisfaction.


In *North by Northwest (1959)*, (already ably mentioned by Karloffan on this thread), all American man Roger O. Thornhill (played by Cary Grant) encounters a parallel dilemma to that portrayed in Saboteur. WW2 is over and now it's the Cold War. Axis agents have been replaced with agents of Communist espionage. Our hero is wanted by the authorities in connection with a murder, while also pursued by enemy spies who believe he is an american agent.


The action culminates at film's end not at or in front of iconic Mt. Rushmore- but UPON it- literally under George Washington's chiseled nose! The viewer is treated to quite a close up of those sculpted faces.



These films were inspired by real life infiltration of America by enemy agents. The FBI was kept rather busy in those days following up on the activities of both Nazi and Communist saboteurs and spies. Hitchcock was telling us that the struggle with these regimes was not always something far away, but more immediate to us, right on our own soil, affecting the lives of our own citizens. His use of major symbolic landmarks bordered on the scandalous, justified to the audience by one thing:


*That what the antagonist stood for was a greater real life challenge and affront to what these landmarks represent, than their sensational use as a fictional film backdrop.*






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Nope, but when my wife and I still lived in Prescott, I once ran into Toni Tennille and "The Captain"!!! LOL (actually true, as they do reside there, though not that Stevie and Toni have that much in common, of course) ;)


Speakin' o' celebs who live or have lived in Sedona, Nick Cage and Madonna supposedly still have homes here. In fact, because our home is situated somewhat close to the flight-path of the small Sedona Airport, whenever we hear or see a business jet on approach(a rare occasion, as most of the little air-traffic we get here is of the small plane and sightseeing helicopter variety), my wife will sometimes jest, "Looks like Madonna is comin' back into town."

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Aah yes, Iz. Good point. The Vasquez Rocks formation there right off of north Topanga Canyon Blvd in northwestern San Fernando Valley(know it well...an old SoCal boy here, remember) and where many an old Western was filmed back in the day, DOES look like the "Cadillac Mountain Range" in Cars, also.

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Interesting you bring up the San Andreas Fault here, Iz...and especially because much of what was talked about earlier in this thread was about how Hitchcock would use certain National Parks for his settings.


As you probably know, that most famous of fault lines eventually meets and begins its run under the Pacific Ocean at Tomales/Bodega Bay in northern CA. And of course, Bodega Bay was the location Hitch used to film the movie where our "fine feathered friends" started acting less than friendly.



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Didn't even think of those Traveltalk shorts. I love those things!


We've compiled quite a list. Already we watched SHANE and THE SEARCHERS, with plans to watch INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE tonight (filmed partly in Arches, apparently). But we'll add many of these to our list.


Plus there's the movie THE PAINTED DESERT :)

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Vasquez Rocks is nice and I have been there, but Moab Utah is much better. One can hike for days in that place and see something new at each turn.


Have you been to the West End trail in Sedona? (it is off the main highway that runs from Sedona to Flagstaff).


This is a great place to hike in the spring and fall. One of the nicest hikes for those that don't do a lot of hiking (i.e. fairly easy, but in spring one does have to cross the creek about 9 times and if the water is high that can be difficult).



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Yeah James, as a matter of fact my wife and I just last Thursday hiked the "West Fork" trail(I believe that's the trail you're referring to here) up about 12-15 miles on Oak Creek Canyon Road aka AZ Hwy 89A from our home here. It's absolutely gorgeous up there.


If this is the trail you mean, then you may know that there's a "Hollywood connection" along there. It's the ruins of a mountain cottage that according to the sign marker next to it mentions that at separate times Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart had stayed there a few times when they wanted to get away from it all.

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