Rubbernecking Deceit

Have Gut — Will Travel or Go West, Young Mike or Darth Vader, My Ass
Chapter 12

I've been watching motion pictures a long time and it's true, all is not as it appears in the movies and never has been.

Julie Andrews, for example, tells a tale of making "The Sound of Music." As the charming Maria, she enters the Von Trapp mansion to meet the children. Seems simple enough, executed in seconds, but what we really see is Miss Andrews, on location in Austria, knock on the front door. She steps into the house, months later, on a soundstage in Hollywood.

From childhood, my first distinct movie memory is Gregory Peck's "Moby Dick" (1956). The whale: faked.

Jump to today. Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11." The whale faked.

Do you need more proof? Okay, opening in theatres this very week, the big action adventure, "Collateral." In it, Tom Cruise's hair: a wig.

Jamie Foxx's cab? A wig.

So, as I travel America, visiting movie locations like the one in Mescal, Arizona, I'm on alert, on the lookout, and on the prowl for more conspiracies. I report back with gravitas, squeezing another farthing of payback out of my journalism school tuition.

The Hanging Tree on the Mescal movie location property. Photo copyright Mike Durrett 2003-2004, all rights reserved.I found fresh deception: The Hanging Tree.

The gloomy sprout forebodes retribution to evildoers, a menace, collaring liars to murderers. The irony is this tree is itself a liar and murdered, having been cut down and brought to these parts for cinematic authenticity. Furthermore, The Hanging Tree is trucked all over the lot to oblige the bloodthirsty desires of visiting filmmakers.

Donna Durrett appears with The Hanging Tree at Mescal. Photo copyright 2003-2004 Mike Durrett, all rights reserved.My wife stood near The Hanging Tree, remarking its arms reminded her of mine.

"I'll buy the damn loofah," I said, clicking the shutter.

To my critical eye, which Donna's photo supports with a similar perspective, The Hanging Tree doesn't look tall enough to actually dangle a man.

I could've walked over to see, but I'm not that good of a reporter.

Next: Chapter 13 | Rewind to Chapter 1
Photos copyright ©2003-2004 Mike Durrett. All rights reserved.

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