Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monument Valley

Click on the title above for a wonderful article in the Washington Post Magazine about writer Glenn Frankel's pilgrimage to movie Director, John Ford's Monument Valley in Southern Utah. He starts out the article as follows:

A woman in a blue country dress and a white apron stares from the porch of a simple ranch house. She spies a lone rider framed by two distant, towering buttes, moving slowly across sage brush, sand and scrub. Martha Edwards realizes it's her long-lost brother-in-law, Ethan, (John Wayne)coming home three years after the end of the Civil War. Ethan's war has never really ended: Following the defeat of the Confederacy, he has been living south of the border as an outlaw and a hired gun.

The opening panel of "The Searchers," John Ford's classic western, sets the scene as Texas 1868, but the real setting was Monument Valley, Utah; the year was 1955;

Like me, Frankel is a fan of the movie 'The Searchers" and the magazine article is of his trip to Monument Valley in search of "The Searchers." His trip is very similar to my trip a few years ago. We also stayed at Gouldings Lodge and had a Navajo guide take us on a four wheel drive tour of Monument valley in one of the best days of my life. The picture above is of a younger me at "John Fords Points". As we drove into the valley I played a home made cassette tape recoding of the music from "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and also filmed in Monument Valley. Each night at the lodge I played a VHS tape of a John Ford movie filmed there for the family. One morning I got up early to film the sun rising over valley and I spent a lot of time in the Gouldings Lodge Museum. I even saw the cabin that John Wayne's character used as his living quarters in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon."