Here's what the Iverson Movie Ranch obsession is all about ...

For an introduction to this blog and to the obsession a growing number of vintage film and TV fans have with the Iverson Movie Ranch — the most widely filmed outdoor location in movie and TV history — please read the site's introductory post, found here.
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• To find specific rock features or look up movie titles, TV shows, actors and production people, see the "LABELS" section — the long alphabetical listing on the right side of the page, below.
• To join the MAILING LIST, send me an email at and let me know you'd like to sign up.
• I've also begun a YouTube channel for Iverson Movie Ranch clips and other movie location videos, which you can get to by clicking here.
• Here's a link to Garden of the Gods, the best-known section of the Iverson Movie Ranch (featured in the movie "Stagecoach," the "Lone Ranger" TV show and hundreds of other productions).
• To go right to the great Iverson cinematographers, click here.
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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Robert Mitchum brings film noir to the Garden of the Gods

It was relatively rare for film noir to be shot at the Iverson Movie Ranch, where the staples were B-Westerns in particular, along with war movies, desert adventures and some sci-fi. But the movie ranch did see action in a few film noirs, including the acclaimed 1949 Robert Mitchum movie "The Big Steal."

"The Big Steal" (1949) — Jane Greer and Robert Mitchum on the Iverson Movie Ranch

Garden of the Gods stands in for the hills of Mexico in one scene late in the movie, with a key shootout taking place that puts Mitchum and his leading lady Jane Greer in peril.

The scene plays out mainly in the central Garden of the Gods area, near the camera mount and Overlook Point. The rocks that show up during the shootout are basically all still in place, in a section of the former Iverson Movie Ranch that has been preserved as a park.

A romp through Garden of the Gods often turns up that big rock with the horizontal crack, which tends to be a helpful identifier. I call it Moray Eel.

Not that it's easy to miss, but just to avoid confusion, Moray Eel is identified here.

Here's another look at Moray Eel and that same area from a recent visit to the site. This area was used a lot in the movies.

A colorized version of "The Big Steal" has also made the rounds. This is what Moray Eel and its surroundings look like in that version.

One of the hallmarks of film noir is the great-looking old cars, and "The Big Steal" is no exception. Here they drove the old convertible right up into the middle of Garden of the Gods, where it became part of the shootout.

Colorizing tends to miss the point of film noir, but that convertible does look good in baby blue.

Another angle on the Garden of the Gods shootout in "The Big Steal."

More Mitchum — putting up a fight in Garden of the Gods.

With Sphinx in the background, one of the bad guys gets the drop on Mitchum.

And it's all over — the whole Iverson scene lasts only about five minutes.

The legacy of "The Big Steal's" location shoot at the Iverson Movie Ranch includes a rock in Garden of the Gods that some people call Mitchum Rock. I started calling it that for the purposes of my research, and it seems to have caught on.

Here are a couple of options if you feel like picking up a copy of "The Big Steal" — try the above links, although at this point I seem to only be able to find it in relatively pricey DVD sets.


Lasso The Movies said...

I love Mitchum and I find myself looking forward to his movies more and more as time has gone on in my life. Even his bad movies I end up enjoying most of the time. Thanks for your thoughts on this one.

Electric Dylan Lad said...

Thanks for your comment, Lasso. I'm a big Mitchum fan too. "Night of the Hunter" is probably my favorite movie of the 1950s. I was excited to find the connection in "The Big Steal" between Mitchum and the Iverson Ranch.