Wild, Wild WesternsWritten by Stephen Schochet
In early days of Hollywood, for studios like Universal Westerns were easiest films to make. They required very few props and made use of wide-open spaces available in area. Even smallest studio, sometimes an empty space between two buildings known as a lot, could easily film outside. It was a cheap and effective way to involve audiences in wild chase scenes involving pure heroes like white clad Tom Mix going after dastardly villains. One time a theater was showing a Western, when film suddenly broke right at climatic scene. An emotional audience member yelled out," Hurry up and fix it before they get away!"
The master of Western was John Ford, who felt that genre was purest form of movie making. In 1956, he and John Wayne went to their regular spot Monument Valley in Utah to make powerful chase movie The Searchers. Location shooting allowed two old friends to relax by camping out, playing cards and avoiding contact with studio executives that Ford despised. The only problem was unpredictable Utah climate
Hollywood Horse StoriesWritten by Stephen Schochet
A recent Hollywood rumor was that Tobey Maguire injured his back during making of Sea Biscuit doing horseback riding scenes, making him unable to star in sequel to Spider-Man. Although it turned out to be false, he rode a mechanical horse in film, many actors have had close calls working with horses.
One example was Michael Caine, whose first movie Zulu (1964) required him to ride a horse after a hunting expedition, which after several embarrassing takes almost bought his career to a premature end. "I thought you said you had riding lessons!" said angry director. "I did!" said beleaguered star. "And first thing I learned was I never wanted to ride one of these bloody things again!"
He wasn't only one. Jack Nicholson took a hard fall in The Missouri Breaks (1976) which he shrugged off saying,"It would have hurt if I was a real person instead of a movie star."
Some performers get along famously with their horses, relationship can go on for years. Gene Autry had Champion trained to jump through a ring of fire at rodeos, stunt always worked perfectly until Champion aged and Gene had to replace him. Gene exhibited no concern when he was advised by trainers that new Champion was not ready for prime time his first night on job. "It'll be all right boys!" reassured cowboy through swigs of tequila. The big moment came, new horse rode out with Gene toward burning ring and came to a dead stop, sending famous cowboy star flying to complete stunt on his own. The crowd gasped but luckily Gene was more drunk than hurt, he simply got up and took a bow like it was all planned.