Milepost #950

November 21, 2019

By Ken Brafman, Image from Lee Cozad Collection

THE YEARLING: This past year we showcased several films that are part of the long history of moviemaking in the San Bernardino Mountains. Scores of classic and not-so-classic movies have had all or part of their filming take place here. While familiar classics such as Gone With The Wind may have only had a scene shot, other memorable films such as Heidi and Magnificent Obsession had their principal filming done in the mountains. This week’s image is from a studio photo showing a set used in the filming of The Yearling (1946). The story takes place in 1878 and most of the scenes for The Yearling were filmed on location in the Florida swamps. To escape the humidity and the unpredictable, often harsh, climate M-G-M recycled the Point Hamiltair set they had used for a 1938 film titled Of Human Hearts and brought the production to Lake Arrowhead. Formerly known as Movie Point, it became the backdrop for the village scene in which the father (played by Gregory Peck) and young son (played by newcomer Claude Jarman, Jr.) go into town to barter for a new rifle. Jane Wyman co-starred as the mother. Our own June Lockhart had a small role in the film, and she was a Lake Arrowhead resident, along with her family. At a Lake Arrowhead Film Festival some years back she recalled that landscaping companies brought in ferns and potted palms to simulate Florida palmettos. In his book More Magnificent Mountain Movies Lee Cozad further explains, “The Movie Point set needed repair but otherwise was sufficient for the town scenes necessary for the story. Only one thing was lacking – palm trees. Of course, there are no palms at 5,000 feet, nor can they grow or survive, but Hollywood prevailed with potted palms. These were later dug up and returned down the hill after filming.” The film was a great success and earned three Oscars. It’s considered one of the great family classics.

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