onlinesteamboatmuseum

Steamboats in the Movies, Page 2


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The little sternwheel ferry EL CAPITAN (built St. Louis 1903) which operated at Natchez, Mississippi. Here she's doing duty as a movie boat in the 1929 MGM movie HALLELUJAH directed by King Vidor with an all African American cast. Most likely taken at the Mississippi River landing at Memphis, Tennessee, same place I boarded the DELTA QUEEN in September '93, bound upriver for the mouth of the Ohio River and thence to Cairo, Illinois, Paducah, Kentucky and concluding the journey at Cincinnati, Ohio.

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An "Engine Boat" from LORD JIM - a 1965 feature film

4 FRAME CAPTURES FROM THE DVD OF 1965's WIDESCREEN FILM OF JOSEPH CONRAD'S NOVEL "LORD JIM" OF A PICTURESQUE STEAM-DRIVEN SAMPAN WITH STARBOARD AND PORT RUNNING LIGHTS, REFERRED TO AS "AN ENGINE BOAT" BY THE CHARACTERS AND EMPLOYED TO TRANSPORTS A SCURVY BUNCH OF RIVER PIRATES UNDER JAMES MASON AS RUTHLESS CRIMINAL "GENTLEMAN BROWN" TO WHAT HAD BEEN THE PREVIOUSLY ENSLAVED JUNGLE COMMUNITY OF PATSUAN IN THE MALAY JUNGLE WHICH PETER O'TOOLE AS LORD JIM HAD RESCUED WITH INGENIOUS GUERILLA WAR TACTICS FROM ELI WALLACH AT HIS MOST DESPICABLE AS SHERIF ALI.

CURT JURGENS AS VILLAINOUS TOADY CORNELIUS ESCAPES THE COUP THAT LORD JIM LED AGAINST ALI AND ENLISTS AKIM TAMIROFF AS COMIC RELIEF VILLAIN SCHOMBERG TO PROCURE THE ASSISTANCE OF VICIOUS GENTLEMAN BROWN TO RETURN TO PATSUAN IN ORDER TO STEAL THE TREASURE FROM THE VILLAGE.

CROWTHER'S NY TIMES REVIEW WAS NOT FAVORABLE BUT GIVES A RUN DOWN OF THE STORY AND CHARACTERS.

PETER O'TOOLE DESCRIBED THE 3 MONTH ORDEAL OF FILMING IN THE CAMBODIAN JUNGLE WITH PRECISE ELOQUENCE:

"The three months we spent in Cambodia were dreadful. Sheer hell. A nightmare. There we were, all of us, knee deep in lizards and all kinds of horrible insects. And everyone hating us. Awful."
wikipedia.org

BELOW IS AN ABRIDGED VERSION OF THE NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW

Screen: Conrad's' 'Lord Jim' Arrives: Peter O'Toole Stars in Brooks Version

By BOSLEY CROWTHER

nytimes.com

February 26, 1965

In trying to give a comprehension of Jim, the young English ship's officer who goes through a mental and spiritual ordeal after disgracing himself by deserting his foundering, passenger-crowded ship, then redeems himself in the Malay jungle only to commit a second self-revealing fault, Mr. Brooks has focused on the hero and his ego problem to a point. Then he has let him become another factor in a whole rush of melodramatic goings-on. . . . .

Conrad's Jim is a fellow whose ego and imagination are so strong that he sees himself and the whole world through a curious romantic haze. He visions himself a flawless hero.

That's why he is stunned and confused by his sudden, spontaneous behavior in deserting his stricken ship. And that's why he's reassured and happy when his later bush-fighting efforts on behalf of the people of the jungle village of Patusan cause them to worship him as their Lord Jim. . . . .

Conrad's inferior Sherif Ali, on whom Jim leads a knockout assault, turns into a slave-driving tyrant who is known as The General here. It requires a virtual siege of Iwo Jima and at least a half-hour of fire and din to knock him off. And then comes a second phase of combat involving the forces of Gentleman Brown, the invading river pirate, whose perception of Jim's weakness does the latter in. . . . .

Thus the pull of a sheer adventure drama, which is what this eventually becomes, is rendered sporadic and feeble by the indistinctness of the plot.

The performance of Mr. O'Toole is so sullen, soggy and uncertain, especially toward the end, that it is difficult to find an area of recognizable sensitivity in which one can make contact with him. One hardly knows whether to pity or feel contempt for him. He seems to know, however. He appears constantly on the verge of bursting into tears. . . . .

The rest of the characters are confusing.

Eli Wallach's The General is energetic and explosive, but it's never made clear what he is. Curt Jurgen's evil Cornelius is a ponderous, Germanic go-between whose melodramatic involvement is greater but less clear than in the book. James Mason is almost comic as a bowler-hatted, bearded Gentleman Brown, Akim Tamiroff is a clown as the noxious Schomberg and Paul Lukas is gentle as the trader, Stein.

As for Daliah Lavi as the girl with whom Jim falls in love, all you can do is look at her and wonder. It's hard to understand a word she says. This lack of communication is the ultimate basic weakness of the film. It starts out as though it has something profound and tragic to say, but it ends up saying nothing. Well maybe we should take our cue from Kipling: East of Suez, the best is like the worst.

LORD JIM

Screenplay and Direction by Richard Brooks, from the novel by Joseph Conrad; produced by Mr. Brooks and released by Columbia Pictures.

Jim . . . . . Peter O'Toole
Gentleman Brown . . . . . James Mason
Cornelius . . . . . Curt Jurgens
The General . . . . . Eli Wallach
Marlow . . . . . Jack Hawkins
Stein . . . . . Paul Lukas
Girl . . . . . Daliah Lavi
Schomberg . . . . . Akim Tamiroff
Waris . . . . . Ichiza Itami
Du-Ramin . . . . . Talsuo Sallo
Captain Brierly . . . . . Andrew Keir
Patna Engineer . . . . . Jack MacGowran
Malay . . . . . Eric Young
Captain Chester . . . . . Noel Purcell
Captain of Patna . . . . . Waller Gotell
Moslem leader . . . . . Rafik Anwar
Patusan Elder . . . . . Marne Maitland
Doctor . . . . . Newton Blick
Magistrate . . . . . A. J. Brown
French officer . . . . . Christian Marquand

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A steamboat built for THE LEGEND OF TARZAN feature film

The Belgian sternwheel steamboat "ADELAAR" was built on the Lake Virginia Water in Windsor Great Park, Surrey, England for the 2016 Warner Bros. movie "The Legend of Tarzan" which takes place along the Congo in Africa during 1889 and 1890. The name "Adelaar" translates as "EAGLE" in the Dutch/Flemish language. The top photo is from iamag.

The bottom image from artofvfx is a digital composite made to include a distant port on shore and crocodiles swimming towards the sinking steamboat during a fight on board between Tarzan and the villain, Captain Rom near the end of the movie.

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Three little contemporary riverboats were remodeled to play antebellum steamers for Disney's 1993 adaptation of HUCK FINN filmed here at Natchez, Mississippi.

"Phelps Landing" refers to Tom Sawyer's Uncle Silas Phelps whose Arkansas farm is nearby and where the captured runaway slave Jim is kept prisoner prior to the happy ending of Mark Twain's novel upon which the movie is based. As in several other adaptations of HUCK FINN, Tom Sawyer does not appear in this film.

The big New Orleans excursion steamboat NATCHEZ also makes a cameo appearance early in this movie.

The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993)
Written and Directed by Stephen Sommers
Starring
Elijah Wood as Huck
Courtney B. Vance as Jim

find this item at Amazon.com.

recent acquisitions

4 extra frame captures for you from the Warner Bros. Adventures of Mark Twain (1944) DVD.

Top 2 frames are of the wrecked scale model of the "QUEEN OF DIXIE."

These were from a scene of a contrived story that never actually happened where lecture promoter Major Pond pursues "Mark Twain" from Virginia City to the Mississippi River in order to persuade Sam Clemens to give a lecture based on his humorous stories.

The bottom 2 frames are of a toy steamboat that Mark Twain (Frederic March) buys from toy store proprietor (Frank Darrien) as a gift for his son Langdon Clemens. A contrived "three hanky" scene follows when Langdon passes away at only a year and half old before he can see the toy boat. In the movie it is implied that Langdon is an infant rather than a toddler.

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Mystery photo of make up for Adventures of Mark Twain

This is a puzzling still from Warner Bros' "Adventures of Mark Twain." It was apparently taken to test an early version of one of the make up concepts and wardrobe choices for Frederic March as Sam Clemens at around the age of 40.

This picture and some live action footage taken with of this was included in the movie, having been taken on a soundstage set that replicated Sam's study in Elmira, N.Y. The hair style of the wig is "off model" and there is a gap between the left and right halves of the mustache which wasn't characteristic of Clemens. The face looks like it could have possibly belonged to someone "doubling" for March.

The crude clay pipe came from a period earlier than the 1870's. The velvet smoking jacket is a bit overly plush for "Mark Twain" was too tight and the sleeves too long.

The little model steamboat is the same one that in the movie Clemens bought in a toy store for his nineteen month old son as seen in the screen captures.

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Queen of the Yukon 1940 "prop" steamboat on Cedar Lake San Bernadino Moutains

This 8 x 10 movie still of a prop steamboat built by Monogram Studio for a Far North gold rush story on the Yukon River came from an eBay dealer in the Netherlands and provides a nice high angle image of the studio built QUEEN OF THE YUKON at "White River Landing" in the northwest corner of man-made Cedar Lake in the San Bernadino Mountains near Big Bear Lake. Cedar Lake served as a location in a great many Hollywood movies, most famously in HIGH SIERRA with Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino in 1941.

The "prop" sternwheeler (that I have somewhere in a profile image on a 1940 lobby card for this movie) later served in at least one other movie, very likely one of the nine Royal Canadian Mounted Police hero "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon" adventures in which it was renamed the ARCTIC QUEEN. Have not yet found out how long the this mock-up of a steamboat was located on the lake and whether it sank, was scrapped or moved to Big Bear Lake to serve in some other capacity. Have included files of the mill and the lake and the prop boat when it was renamed ARCTIC QUEEN.

The rustic mill on the right (designated as the "White River Trading Post" for this movie, was built for the 1936 Technicolor spectacular THE TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE, a romance set during a feud in the mountains of Kentucky. I bought a jumbo postcard of this mill on Cedar Lake during summer vacation from high school in nearby Lake Arrowhead and I built a good sized wooden scale model of the mill but I my only reference was an Eastern elevation so I had to imagine how the other 3 sides looked. In a contemporary color photos taken from across the lake the Western elevation of the mill and another view taken from the South it appears that the building has been completely rebuilt along the same lines but of upgraded construction and may serve as a social center or restaurant these days. Cedar Lake has been and probably continues to be a Christian summer camp that includes cabins and other facilities.

The following "preview"regarding QUEEN OF THE YUKON from a 1939 publication promoting upcoming 1940 movie releases sounds like it was written by one of Monogram's publicists. I've prefaced that "preview" with PUNQ's summation from letterboxd dot com which is closer to the mark as far as appraising the production values of the film. The only DVD I've found of the movie so far was of such poor quality that it was very difficult to watch. It a mint condition print of the film could be transferred to Blu-ray it would be much improved.

The screenplay was supposedly based on a Jack London story but so far I've only found one tale by him that featured steamboats, it was called "Trust" and I have included the opening of that story below the reviews.

letterboxd.com/

Reviewed by PUNQ
"Veteran actors Charles Bickford & Irene Rich are good. Queen of the Yukon (1940) is based on Jack London's writings, that's all good too.

But this is a Monogram picture, so the rest isn't. Rough uninspired production as always from the little company."

From: The MOVIES . . . and the people who make them. (1940)
Published weekly by Theatre Patrons, Inc., New Haven, Conn.:

QUEEN OF THE YUKON

(Running time, 74 minutes)

Produced and distributed by Monogram

Director: Phil Rosen

Screenplay: Joseph West

Story: Jack London

Photography: Harry Neumann
Editor: Russell Schoengarth
Glenn Cook Assistant Director

Paul Malvern Associate Producer
R. Schoengarth Film Editor
Edward Kay Music Director

Karl Zint Sound Engineer
Scott R. Dunlap Company
E. R. Hickson Technical director

C. J. Bigelow Production Manager
Scott R. Dunlap in charge of production

CAST:

Ace - Charles Bickford

Sadie - Irene

Rich Thorne - Melvin Long

Grab - George Cleveland

Stake - Guy Usher

Helen - June Carlson

Bob - Dave O'Brien

Carson - Tris Coffin

"Effective Jack London action melodrama featuring Irene Rich as the operator of a river gambling boat who sells out to a crooked mining company after her young daughter arrives from the states. The usual complications result in the culprit's confession and marriages all around. For many years Sadie Martin as the "Queen" of the Yukon has reigned aboard her gambling boat, steadfastly refusing to sell out to Thorne, representative of the Yukon Mining Company. When Sadie learns, however, that daughter Helen, who is unaware of her mother's occupation, is coming for a visit, she determines to cover up by making a deal with Thorne. Helen thinks her mother's profession is a thrilling one, and she even neglects Bob, her young surveyor friend, in order to indulge a schoolgirl's crush for Ace, Sadie's tough lieutenant. The mining company, meanwhile, cheats the miners and Thorne involves Bob by giving him compromising paper to file. Bob learns the truth, returns to trounce Thorne, who finally signs a confession. A double wedding, Ace and Sadie, Helen and Bob, caps the complications. Irene Rich as Sadie presides over the gambling tables with calm precision, slips into the mother role with ease and conviction. Charles Bickford as Ace is properly hard-fisted and harsh when he needs to be. June Carlson is decorative enough as the adolescent Helen, while Dave O'Brien is adequate as surveyor Bob. George Cleveland and Guy Usher as gin-swigging miners work in a bit of comedy. The film includes some nice fist-swinging and a number of other exciting action scenes. Both direction and photography are accomplished."

SUPPLEMENTS:

First something from Wikipedia about the White River in Yukon Territory which the photo from the movie includes signage for "White River Landing and Trading Post."

The White River (French: Rivière Blanche) is a tributary about 200 miles (320 km) long, of the Yukon River in the U.S. state of Alaska and the Canadian territory of Yukon. The Alaska Highway crosses the White River near Beaver Creek. The White River is glacier-fed and contains large amounts of suspended sediment. It transports 19 million tons of sediment per year in the upper part of its basin. This dramatically changes the clarity of the Yukon River, which remains sediment laden from the confluence to its mouth.

Trust by Jack London, 1908

All lines had been cast off, and the Seattle No. 4 was pulling slowly out from the shore.

Her decks were piled high with freight and baggage, and swarmed with a heterogeneous company of Indians, dogs, and dog-mushers, prospectors, traders, and homeward-bound gold-seekers.

A goodly portion of Dawson was lined up on the bank, saying good-bye.

As the gang-plank came in and the steamer nosed into the stream, the clamor of farewell became deafening.

Also, in that eleventh moment, everybody began to remember final farewell messages and to shout them back and forth across the widening stretch of water.

Louis Bondell, curling his yellow moustache with one hand and languidly waving the other hand to his friends on shore, suddenly remembered something and sprang to the rail.

"Oh, Fred!" he bawled. "Oh, Fred!

The "Fred" desired thrust a strapping pair of shoulders through the forefront of the crowd on the bank and tried to catch Louis Bondell's message.

The latter grew red in the face with vain vociferation.

Still the water widened between steamboat and shore.

"Hey, you, Captain Scott!" he yelled at the pilot-house. "Stop the boat!"

The gongs clanged, and the big stern wheel reversed, then stopped. All hands on steamboat and on bank took advantage of this respite to exchange final, new, and imperative farewells.

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Photos by Erik Heinila taken during the filming in Belize (Central America) of the 1993 Turner Features television adaptation directed by Nicolas Roeg from a teleplay by Benedict Fitzgerald of Joseph Conrad's HEART OF DARKNESS that first appeared as a three-part series in Blackwood's Magazine in 1899 and was then published in book form in 1902.

In the Turner Features adaptation John Malkovich played Kurtz who "flipped his lid" and became a ruthless despot of a village of Africans at "Central Trading Station" far up the Congo River.

Joseph Conrad had been Captain of a Belgian riverboat called the "Roi des Belges," (as this movie boat is also called) during the late 1880's but Conrad's boat was at least twice as big as this one and probably big enough for a few modest staterooms, galley and mini-dining room. Conrad later said that Mark Twain's description of river piloting in LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI came to mind while he was navigating the Congo.

Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 epic war movie APOCALYPSE NOW was an updated adaptation of HEART OF DARKNESS set during the Vietnam War with Marlon Brando as Kurtz.

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Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer (MOVIE) has a beautiful CGI animated sequence of the Mississippi at New Orleans (pre-Civil War) with many sidewheel and sternwheel steamboats paddling, smoking and steaming away on the river and more tied up along the shoreline. Widescreen AND 3D! I knew sooner or later a major motion picture studio would digitally re-create those lamented lost packets of that bygone era in a picture show. Was amazed to see how ambitious the project was rather than just going low-budget with one or two steamboats.

This is concept art only and not a scene that I recall being fully realized and included in the movie. The steamboat appears to be the modern NATCHEZ, darkened down to look more vintage but with tell-tale modern details from the 1975 replica that make it an anachronism in the antebellum South.

recent acquisitions

Attached digital animation frame of the final high angle vantage point at the end of an approximately 13 second scene of the Mississippi River and steamboats at New Orleans on Friday November 18, 1842 in the fantasy/horror spin on a chapter in U.S. history "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" (2012). Just received the DVD today.

(I calculated the date from Thursday, November 4th, 1842 when Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd which in the movie takes place shortly before the New Orleans sequence).

The steamboat left of center continues steaming forward while the steamboat at center steams into the distance as the camera simultaneously rises to this high angle view during the last approximately 7 seconds of the scene.

Abe Lincoln and sidekick Joshua Speed have journeyed to New Orleans to rescue their African American friend Will Johnson from a coven of thirsty vampires led by boss vampire-in-chief "Adam" who had sent our heroes an invitation "commanding their presence" in his "grand ballroom" in New Orleans at "Eden Plantation" on "the third Friday of the month."

"Unholy Adam" is re-enacting "Biblical creation" at his own Garden of Eden, his objective being to replace Man with the Undead. The vampires are also slave holders and Southerners who will lead Dixie in the Rebellion against the Union.

Russian HUCK FINN 1972 six screen captures

Sovsem propashchiy "Hopelessly Lost" (1972)

Russian film adaptation of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Directed by Georgi Daneliya
Screenplay by Georgi Daneliya & Viktoriya Tokareva
Filmed on the Dnieper River, Russia
Release Date: 1974 (in Finland)

Cast
Roman Madyanov...Huck ("Gek")
Vakhtang Kikabidze...Duke
Evgeni Leonov...King
Feliks Imokuede...Jim

steamboats in movies

Buster Keaton, 1928 as Steamboat Bill Jr. on the Sacramento River.

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The attached photo is Keaton's co-star Ernest Torrence as Captain William "Steamboat Bill" Canfield Senior. Sitting on a capstan aboard the STONEWALL JACKSON loading his corn cob pipe with tobacco from a pouch.

Keaton's STEAMBOAT BILL JR. 1928 6 frames

Attached 6 screen captures from Buster Keaton's 1928 silent action/comedy filmed on the Sacramento River, STEAMBOAT BILL, JR.

Steamboat KING (twin stacks) belongs to the father of Keaton's love interest. The STONEWALL JACKSON (single stack) belongs to Keaton's Dad.





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