The Walking Hills (1949)

78 mins | Western | March 1949

Director:

John Sturges

Writer:

Alan LeMay

Producer:

Harry Joe Brown

Cinematographer:

Charles Lawton

Editor:

William Lyon

Production Designer:

Robert Peterson

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

Josh William's onscreen credit reads: "Introducing Josh Williams and his songs." The film begins with the following written statement: "We acknowledge the courtesy of the United States Department of Interior National Park Service for scenes photographed in Death Valley Monument." Other scenes were shot in Lone Pine, CA. A 17 Feb 1948 HR news item reported that Glenn Ford was to star. According to a 26 Jul 1948 HR news item, this was the first feature film to record sound on tape rather than on film. The Var review notes that the film was sepia-toned, but this has not been ... More Less

Josh William's onscreen credit reads: "Introducing Josh Williams and his songs." The film begins with the following written statement: "We acknowledge the courtesy of the United States Department of Interior National Park Service for scenes photographed in Death Valley Monument." Other scenes were shot in Lone Pine, CA. A 17 Feb 1948 HR news item reported that Glenn Ford was to star. According to a 26 Jul 1948 HR news item, this was the first feature film to record sound on tape rather than on film. The Var review notes that the film was sepia-toned, but this has not been confirmed. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 May 1949.
---
Daily Variety
28 Feb 49
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Feb 48
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 48
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 48
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 48
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Feb 49
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 Mar 49
p. 4521.
Variety
2 Mar 49
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story and scr
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Miss Raines' ward
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus dir
SOUND
SOURCES
SONGS
"I Want You and I Need You," "Baby, Baby Blues," "The Work Song" and "I Gave My Love a Cherry (The Riddle Song)," traditional, adapted and arranged by Josh White.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1949
Production Date:
10 May 1948--17 June 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
25 February 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2149
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
78
Length(in feet):
7,021
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When rodeo rider Shep crosses the California border into Mexicali, Mexico, he is followed by private detective Frazee. There, Shep, and later, Frazee join prospector Old Willy, horse breeder Jim Carey, and two other men, Chalk and Johnny, in a poker game in a bar. Shortly after Willy reminisces about a gold-carrying wagon train that was lost in the Walking Hills about a hundred years earlier, Johnny mentions that he stumbled over some buried wagon wheels while trapping animals in the California desert. To protect their interests, the men insist that everyone present, including Bibbs, the bartender; Josh, a blues singer; and Cleve, Jim's Indian ranch hand, join the expedition to find the gold. At first, because the sand dunes have shifted, Johnny cannot identify the location of the wagon wheels, but when the men discover an ox skull, they believe they have found the right place and begin digging. Shortly, they are joined by rodeo rider Chris Jackson, Jim's former lover. One night, Chris speaks privately to Shep and recalls their meeting at a rodeo when they fell suddenly in love. Chris then broke off her engagement to Jim in order to marry Shep, who later failed to meet her in Denver as they had arranged. Shep suggests that there may have been a reason he did not meet her, but before he can elaborate, they see a flashing light in the distance and rejoin the others. Although he does not admit it, Frazee was signaling someone. Cleve suspects that Frazee is a government agent, but Shep privately tells Chris that Frazee is planning to arrest him for murder: ... +


When rodeo rider Shep crosses the California border into Mexicali, Mexico, he is followed by private detective Frazee. There, Shep, and later, Frazee join prospector Old Willy, horse breeder Jim Carey, and two other men, Chalk and Johnny, in a poker game in a bar. Shortly after Willy reminisces about a gold-carrying wagon train that was lost in the Walking Hills about a hundred years earlier, Johnny mentions that he stumbled over some buried wagon wheels while trapping animals in the California desert. To protect their interests, the men insist that everyone present, including Bibbs, the bartender; Josh, a blues singer; and Cleve, Jim's Indian ranch hand, join the expedition to find the gold. At first, because the sand dunes have shifted, Johnny cannot identify the location of the wagon wheels, but when the men discover an ox skull, they believe they have found the right place and begin digging. Shortly, they are joined by rodeo rider Chris Jackson, Jim's former lover. One night, Chris speaks privately to Shep and recalls their meeting at a rodeo when they fell suddenly in love. Chris then broke off her engagement to Jim in order to marry Shep, who later failed to meet her in Denver as they had arranged. Shep suggests that there may have been a reason he did not meet her, but before he can elaborate, they see a flashing light in the distance and rejoin the others. Although he does not admit it, Frazee was signaling someone. Cleve suspects that Frazee is a government agent, but Shep privately tells Chris that Frazee is planning to arrest him for murder: Sometime earlier, while waiting to meet Chris, Shep is accused of cheating in a poker game and gets into a fight with King, his accuser. During the fight, a bottle breaks in King's jacket, killing him. After Shep runs away, King's father hires Frazee, who has finally caught up with him here in the desert. Later, Johnny discovers Frazee's signaling box and during the ensuing fight, Johnny's back is broken, but he begs Jim not to send for a doctor because he is wanted by the police. The following day, when the light again flashes in the distance, Frazee explains that King is waiting for him in the distant hills. As the days pass, the men's failure to locate the gold results in short tempers and quarrelling. As a sand storm blows in, Frazee reveals that the charges against Johnny have been dropped, and then tries to prevent Shep from going for a doctor. Jim stops them from fighting, and learns for the first time that Shep is the man for whom Chris left him. After Johnny dies, the others round up the horses, planning to ride to shelter, but Chalk, who believes that Frazee is after him, stampedes the animals. Jim kills Chalk, but the full force of the storm arrives and the others are forced to ride it out where they are. When the storm is over, both Frazee and Cleve are dead. The storm also uncovers the wagons, but no gold is found. Shep decides to turn himself in, and Chris follows him. Jim then persuades Willy to reveal that he inspected the wagons before the others and found the gold, which he will now split with Jim. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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