Steamboats in the Movies, Page 6



Two 8 x 10 publicity stills. FLORA as the "River Queen" steaming away from the Sacramento River landing. Mickey Rooney as Huck Finn stood waving good bye as he stood next to Elizabeth Risdon as "the Widow Douglas." There was a lot of restoration that needed to be done to these. Sometimes you can't see the glitches until you've scanned them and look at them on the monitor.


A mini towboat from WILD RIVER, 1960 by Elia Kazan

A production photo from WILD RIVER, a first class 1960 movie that director Elia Kazan filmed on the Hiawassee River upriver from Charleston, Tennessee. Here a mini-gas towboat pulls a string of skiffs with laborers aboard who will clear trees from Garth Island and burn down the big house remaining on the island before the river rises to engulf all but the Garth family cemetery when the dam is opened and dam floods the rest of the island.

Standing with his right hand on the portside towing knee is Montgomery Clift as TVA operative "Chuck Glover" and beside him Lee Remick as "Carol Baldwin", two characters who had been married by a Justice of the Peace in a previous scene. WILD RIVER is well worth seeing for it's authenticity and integrity.

excerpted from go to the link to read more:

Wild River is a 1960 American drama film directed by Elia Kazan, and stars Montgomery Clift, Lee Remick, Jo Van Fleet, Albert Salmi and Jay C. Flippen.

The film was shot on location in the Tennessee Valley, and was adapted by Paul Osborn from two novels: Borden Deal's Dunbar's Cove and William Bradford Huie's Mud on the Stars, drawing for plot from Deal's story of a battle of wills between the nascent Tennessee Valley Authority and generations-old land owners, and from Huie's study of a rural Southern matriarchal family for characters and their reaction to destruction of their land.

Exterior locations for Wild River were filmed on Coon Denton Island on the Hiwassee River, upriver from Charleston, Tennessee; in the town's old business district; and on a peninsula west of Cleveland, Tennessee, on Chickamauga Lake. A studio for interior shooting was also created in the Cleveland armory.


Interior of a pilot house on an MGM sound stage for their 1960 version of HUCKLEBERRY FINN starring 13 year old Eddie Hodges wearing his "cabin boy" costume as "Huck" at the pilot wheel under the supervision of the 82 year old Scottish actor Finlay Currie as "Captain Sellers" in an onboard steamboat scene that was not in Mark Twain's HUCK FINN but created by screenwriter James Lee, inspired no doubt by the relationship of cub pilot Sam Clemens with Captain Horace Bixby in Twain's 1883 memoir LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI.

steamboats in movies

Dickie Jones as cub pilot Sam Clemens and Robert Barrat as Horace Bixby in the The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944). The kid is 13 years old but Clemens was actually 22 years old when he met Bixby and discussed learning the river under him. The movie perpetuated the myth that Clemens went straight from Hannibal into the river trade but he was actually 17 when he left Hannibal then spent five years as a journeyman printer before tackling boat piloting. I think they looked at the illustrations in Life on the Mississippi and saw that the cub was represented as a "mere boy" so it was easier to skip over the printer years and cut to the chase and have him larnin' the river.

steamboats in movies

Frederic March as Sam Clemens steamboat pilot in The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944). Clemens didn't have a mustache at this point in his life (late 1850's/early 1860's) but instead wore lambchop sideburns. The fictional boat this pilot house is supposed to be on is called the Queen of Dixie in the movie.


1971 Spanish film Bad Man's River

"Meet the baddest man on Bad Man's River . . a low-down ornery River Rat . . ." and so begins the theme song under the Main Titles of the 1971 "Western, " BAD MAN'S RIVER (The original Spanish title is "El hombre de Río Malo") it was made by Spanish director Eugenio Martín, credited under the name "Gene Martin." It's not clear why this seems to fall into the category of a "Spaghetti Western" (beginning probably with Italian film maker Sergio Leone's Westerns that was the start Clint Eastwood's European career). BAD MAN'S RIVER seems to have been a completely Spanish production but the "genre" may have earned the name for the style of film making and a preference for filming in Spain.

The scale model steamboat must have been fairly large because in the close ups of it there are lots of details and it doesn't look miniaturized although no scale model human figures were included. The design of the boat must have been an art director's "fantasy" of boat of the era, and while it shares some characteristics with the old time steamers it doesn't attempt to convey much authenticity. The exterior of the pilot house seen in the bottom screen capture appears to have been a partial full-sized exterior set, where the actor playing the Captain is barely visible on the right. The screen capture is from a low angle as if taken from the main deck looking up at the front of the pilot house with small windows which would have made for poor visibility had they been on an actual steamboat. Most steamboat model "kits" of the ROB'T E. LEE and NATCHEZ made the same mistake with the small windows instead of a wide open aperture without glass for maximum visibility for the pilot. The interior set of the pilot house was most likely on a soundstage and in the promotional still we see the 4 actors Lee Van Cleef as Roy on the left and Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida as Alicia on the right aiming a derringer at the uncredited actor playing the steamboat Captain.

The "sidekick" character between the Captain and Alicia was Tom Odie played by Jess Hahn.

Famous trio protagonist in a Paella/Spaghetti Western with loads of action and amusement":

13 March 2006 Review written by ma-cortes of Santander, Spain

The film deals with the bandit Roy King (Lee Van Cleef) and his band (Gianni Garco, Simon Andreu, Jess Hahn) that are robbing trains and banks along Mexican border. King is deceived by his recent wife (Gina Lollobrigida) and a Mexican revolutionary (Daniel Martin) and offer to collaborate in an attempt to blow up an arsenal for a reward about one million dollars , but he will be double-crossed . The gang will confront the Mexican army commanded by a nasty Mexican general (Eduardo Fajardo) and his underling (Aldo Sambrell) and are besieged in a fort governed by a nutty revolutionary colonel (Sergio Fantoni).

This is an average Western with humor and action. The film has enough gunplay, thrills , irony and tongue-in-cheek comedy to be quite entertaining. The movie's comic style and dialogue seems to have been inspired by the Western genre of "spoof" Westerns made during the 60s in the U.S. by directors Burt Kennedy and Andrew McLagen and influenced Italian Westerns for the Trinity series (with Terence Hill). Lee Van Cleef as a humorous older outlaw chief, Gina Lollobrigida is attractive and James Mason finds himself miscast. They are like a hawk , a dove and a vulture; all circling for the biggest haul in the West. There are the the usual supporting players - familiar faces such as Gianni Garko (Sartana), Eduardo Fajardo (villain in a hundred Westerns such as Djanjo), Aldo Sambrell (secondary in Leone Westerns), Daniel Martin (from A Fistful of Dollars), Ricardo Palacios, Barta Barry, Dan Van Husen and many others. The picture was shot in Almeria (Spain) where innumerable Spaghetti Westerns were filmed during the 60s and 70s. The motion picture was routinely directed by Eugenio Martín who made Terror films like Horror Express and Spaghetti Westerns including The Bounty Killer , Requiem for a Gringo and Pancho Villa.

Rating : Mediocre but amusing.

More particulars on filming locations included:

Colmenar Viejo, Madrid, Spain
Estudios Madrid Film, Madrid, Spain (studio)
La Mancha, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain

steamboats in movies

Set still for the "SALON" of the "QUEEN OF DIXIE" for that 1944 Warner Bros. biopic "The Adventures of Mark Twain." Nice gingerbread, long and deep - doesn't look like they cheated with mirrors or forced perspective tricks.

steamboats in movies

From an original 8 X 10 movie still of the full size prop boat built for "Little Old New York," a 1940 20th Century Fox highly fictionalized "biopic" about Robert Fulton. The first trip of the Clermont in August, 1807 was from New York to Albany and back, and it averaged about five miles an hour. The dawn of steamboatin' USA.

The Clermont was named after Fulton's friend Robert Livingston's home on the Hudson River. Robert Livingston was a U.S. ambassador to France and one of the two men who made possible the Louisiana Purchase for the U.S. With Livingston's support, Fulton had previously built a steamboat that operated in France on the Seine in 1803. In 1808 Fulton married Livingston's niece Harriet. Awww- isn't it romantic?

steamboats in movies

Mickey Rooney Huck Finn

Warner Bros. is now selling a DVD of the 1944 Frederic March "biopic" The Adventures of Mark Twain.

Attached 4 screen captures of the steamboat model. It looked best at night in the fog in silhouette.

The stills of the FLORA on the Sacramento River above are from the 1939 Mickey Rooney version of Huck Finn which is also available from Warner Bros. For more info.:
Warner Bros. Official Online Store
Adventures of Mark Twain, The (EST-MOD) $19.95
Adventures of Huck Finn, The (1939)(MOD)
Shipping & Handling: $5.95

steamboat movies

The GORDON C. GREEN in the 1957 Warner Bros. Civil War movie BAND OF ANGELS. Bottom photo she's getting an assist from a tug boat and small tow boat. These boats were out of sight of the motion picture camera so this was an unusual "behind the scenes" production still. Filmed on the Mississippi at Geismar, Louisiana.

steamboat movies

From Disney's 1976 movie, Treasure of Matecumbe. Here are three frames of the steamboat model and one frame of the cabin interior which the art department designed nicely with authentic arches, skylights and transoms. Joan Hackett (in white) as pretty and quirky heroine Lauriette Paxton. John Myhers as Captain Boomer (standing left in uniform) and Dick Van Patten seated right played a crooked card sharp who is beaten at his own game by Lauriette.

Treasure of Matecumbe
Walt Disney Productions
directed by Vincent McEveety
based on the the novel Voyage to Matecumbe (1961) by Robert Lewis Taylor
locations in the South: Danville, Kentucky and the Kentucky River