Paramount built a major set in the Iverson Movie Ranch's Upper Gorge for "The Lives of a Bengal Lancer," part of which can be seen in the screen shot above. The movie, starring Gary Cooper and Franchot Tone, filmed at Iverson in 1934 and had its New York premiere on Jan. 11, 1935. The movie is widely considered one of the most important of the early sound productions filmed on the movie ranch.
"The Lives of a Bengal Lancer" was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, for Henry Hathaway. Two assistant directors, Clem Beauchamp and Paul Wing, both won Academy Awards for their work on the film.
Even though Hathaway went on to direct acclaimed movies including "True Grit" with John Wayne, "Call Northside 777" with James Stewart and "Niagara" with Marilyn Monroe, "The Lives of a Bengal Lancer" produced his only Oscar nomination.
A fake version of Mogala, consisting of a matte painting, was placed against the backdrop of Lone Pine, with its rocky landscape in the foreground and the Eastern Sierra in the background. The tallest peak, near the center of the shot, is Lone Pine Peak, which is often mistakenly referred to as Mount Whitney. This version of Mogala never existed in the real world — it's the figment of an artist's imagination. But it does bear some resemblance to the real set for Mogala, built in the Iverson Gorge.
Mogala set, in Iverson's Upper Gorge, for "The Lives of a Bengal Lancer"
The "real" Mogala, seen here, stood in Iverson's Upper Gorge and included two main towers, a main lookout canopy, an impressive gate (see below) and various minor structures, many of them built onto the revered and long-lost Iverson rock feature known as The Wall.
The Old Testament Scriptures," and again in the waning days of Iverson's run as a movie location, for the 1986 release "The Tomb."
the demise of the D-Train by clicking here.
Wyatt Earp Rock and Evolution.
read that entry by clicking here. Another recent blog entry focuses on Wyatt Earp Rock.
"The Saga of the Viking Women" (1957)
Lancer Arch also turns up in other productions, with one of its most visible appearances captured in Roger Corman's cult film "The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent."
"One Foot in Hell" (1960)
Lancer Arch makes another appearance in the widescreen Alan Ladd Western "One Foot in Hell," from 20th Century Fox, which built a temporary set for the movie that included a small stable. In the above screen shot the arch can be seen at the left, partially blocked by the horse in the stable. The rock feature that dominates the center of the shot is Wyatt Earp Rock.
One more appearance by Lancer Arch takes place in an episode of the Western anthology TV series "Zane Grey Theatre." In the episode, "The Law and the Gun," which premiered June 4, 1959, a small water feature was created on the plateau above Iverson Gorge.
French lobby card for "The Real Glory" (1939)
"Bengal Lancer" director Henry Hathaway also directed a number of Westerns, especially early in his career, and worked frequently at Iverson. His Iverson movies include "Law of Vengeance" (1933) with Randolph Scott; "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" (1936), starring Fred MacMurray, Sylvia Sidney and Henry Fonda; and "The Real Glory" (1939), a war movie that again paired Hathaway with Gary Cooper.
The links below will take you to DVD versions of "The Lives of a Bengal Lancer" on Amazon.com: