Sunday, February 26, 2023

The Covered Wagon is the Most Colossal Achievement in All Motion Picture History -- February 26, 2023


Motion Picture News, 24-February-1923

George N Fenin and William K Everson in their book The Western: from Silents to Cinerama said that The Covered Wagon, directed by James Cruze, may have been the first epic western. Jesse Lasky gave Cruze liberty to shoot on location and spend money. Paramount promoted the film heavily, as we see in this two-page ad with color.

We have seen James Cruze as an actor in a large number of films for Thanhouser. 

Motion Picture News, 20-January-1923

"Facts About the Bigness of 'The Covered Wagon.'" It was Big:
  • 3,000 actors spent three months on location, eighty miles from a railroad.
  • Nine states were searched for locations.
  • 1,000 Indians were brought from reservations hundreds of miles away, with their horses, tepees, and complete equipment.
  • Eight truckloads of supplies a day had to be taken over the rough desert roads.
  • Three hundred wagons were built. 40,000 square feet of canvas used to cover them.
  • 100 oxen broken to the yoke.
  • 3,000 costumes of the period made.
  • Water backed up three miles for river scene ; dam broke and flooded camp, tearing down tents.
  • 500 horses brought from Oregon for buffalo hunt scenes, which required particularly strong animals. 500 ordinaty horses also used.
  • 500 buflaloes used in the hunt; the only large herd in existence.
  • Nine square rniles of territory burned up for prairie fire scene.
  • Seventy trees felled and transported eighty miles for building of ferries.
  • Sixty wagons hauled material daily for six weeks to build replica of Fort Bridger.
  • Mile-wide river forded by 300 wagons; men and animals had to swim; this was really dangerous, as bottom was quicksand.
  • Every department of studio represented on location : wardrobe, property, scenario, publicity, film laboratory, construction, bookkeeping, auditing, stenographic and doctor's ofIice.
  • Electric light plant built and light supplied to all tents.
  • Complete commissary department employing several hundred fed the crowds. Mess tent held 1,000 at a time.

Motion Picture News, 13-January-1923

"A fortune has been spent in making this picture."

Motion Picture News, 06-January-1923

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