American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 83

All images courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library.

Opposite: Raoul
Walsh's 1930 epic,
The Big Trail, tells
the tale of
settlers and
outlaws trekking
from Missouri to
Oregon's
Willamette Valley.
This page, top:
Cinematographer
Arthur Edeson,
ASC, on location
amid Wyoming's
Teton mountains,
stands beside a
rock formation
resembling a
man's profile.
Bottom: Young
trail scout Breck
Coleman (John
Wayne) hands a
rifle to Ruth
Cameron
(Marguerite
Churchill).

As The Big Trail celebrates its
85th anniversary this year, it's worth
looking back at this hugely innovative
film that not only transformed the
young Marion Morrison into John
Wayne, but set a new course for cinematography and movie exhibition -
even if that path would not be revisited
for years to come. Indeed, The Big Trail
was the granddaddy of all widescreen
epics, the forefather of today's Imax and
3D extravaganzas, and the first
Hollywood production designed to
compete with the nascent medium of
television. And yet, despite its many
innovations, The Big Trail may be the
most important Hollywood film few
people really know about.
Written by former trapper and
surveyor Hal Evarts, The Big Trail offers
a window into the American frontier,
both real and imagined, as it tells a
rough-and-tumble story of settlers and
outlaws blazing a pioneer trail from
Missouri to Oregon's Willamette Valley.
Along the way, the travelers - led by
tough young trail scout Breck Coleman
(Wayne) - fight the elements and each
other, while encountering warring

Native American tribes and herds of
stampeding buffalo.
Neither Walsh nor his cinematographer, Arthur Edeson, ASC,
were strangers to innovation. A cofounder of the American Society of
www.theasc.com

Cinematographers in 1919, Edeson had
teamed up with Walsh for the specialeffects epic The Thief of Bagdad in 1924.
Edeson photographed the thriller The
Lost World, with stop-motion effects by
Willis O'Brien, the following year,
April 2015

83


http://www.theasc.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - April 2015

Contents
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Intro
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 1
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 2
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Contents
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 4
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 5
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 6
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 7
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 8
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 9
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 10
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 11
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 12
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 13
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 14
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 15
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 16
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 17
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 18
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 19
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 20
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 21
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 22
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 23
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 24
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 25
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 26
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 27
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 28
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 29
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 30
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 31
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 32
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 33
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 34
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 35
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 36
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 37
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 38
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 39
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 40
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 41
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 42
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 43
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 44
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 45
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 46
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 47
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 48
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 49
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 50
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 51
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 52
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 53
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 54
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 55
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 56
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 57
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 58
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 59
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 60
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 61
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 62
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 63
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 64
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I1
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I2
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I3
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I4
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I5
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I6
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I7
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I8
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 65
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 66
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 67
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 68
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 69
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 70
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 71
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 72
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 73
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 74
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 75
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 76
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 77
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 78
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 79
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 80
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 81
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 82
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 83
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 84
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 85
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 86
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 87
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 88
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 89
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 90
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 91
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 92
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 93
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 94
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 95
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 96
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 97
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 98
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 99
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 100
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 101
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 102
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 103
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 104
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 105
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 106
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 107
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 108
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 109
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 110
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 111
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 112
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 113
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 114
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 115
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 116
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 117
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 118
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 119
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 120
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Cover4
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