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The Trail of the Lonesome Pine

The Trail of the Lonesome Pine(1936)


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This film was shot on location in Chatsworth, at Big Bear (in the San Bernardino Mountains), and at the Santa Susana Pass in CA. According to news items in Daily Variety, shooting at Big Bear took place in mid-October 1935, and the crew began four all-night sessions of exterior shooting at Santa Susana Pass on December 5, 1935. The onscreen foreword to this film outlines the feud between the "Falins" and the "Tollivers," "shut-in valley people of the mountains of America." Novelist Rupert Hughes was commissioned by Walter Wanger to write the foreword. In a prologue, a Falin-Tolliver shoot-out, which occurs during the birth of "June Tolliver," is depicted. A Los Angeles preview for this film on February 18, 1936 was 110 minutes long; the New York premiere the following day was only 100 minutes. The New York and Miami premieres of this film occurred within two days of each other, and each boasted record attendance. This film was the first feature-length outdoor film to be shot in three-strip Technicolor. A contemporary New York Times review states: "We can no longer doubt the inevitability of the color film," while Motion Picture Herald called the film "a Wow!" saying the Westwood preview received the "greatest burst of applause heard in years." Contemporary reviews mention the poor quality of the color blue in the film, but color designer Alexander Toluboff stated in an article in Motion Picture Herald on January 18, 1936 that the sky's natural color appeared artificial in the film because it was naturally "too blue." A Motion Picture Herald ad lists Toluboff as art director. An article by director of photography Robert C. Bruce in Film Daily on January 23, 1936 states that for close-ups of the film's stars, the cameramen had to do all their work before three p.m. because after that hour, when the sun was low in the sky, it cast a yellowish tinge on actors' faces. The Call Bureau Cast Service credits Norman Willis as playing "Old Dave" in the prologue, although Film Daily and New York Times credit Frank McGlynn, Jr., and Motion Picture Herald credits Frank McGlynn, Sr. in the role. McGlynn, Sr. is also credited in the role of a preacher by the Call Bureau. According to an article in the New York Times on March 29, 1936, the funeral scene in the film was eliminated by censors because the minister recited "The Lord's Prayer." A May 16, 1936 Hollywood Reporter news item states that Australian censors cut the entire burial scene (nearly half a reel of footage) from the film. According to Hollywood Reporter, this film was renamed Song of the Forest People for its release in Sweden. John Fox, Jr.'s novel was adapted into a play of the same title by Eugene Walter (New York, 29 January 1912) and was the source for three other films of the same title: one produced by Broadway Picture Producing Co. in 1914, starring Dixie Compton; a second made by Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Co. in 1916, directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Charlotte Walker, who also starred in the stage version (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.4537 and F1.4538); and a third made by Famous Players-Lasky in 1923, directed by Charles Maigne and starring Mary Miles Minter and Antonio Moreno (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.5810).