HWY: An American Pastoral


HWY: An American Pastoral

FILM DATE: Early April 1969
LOCATION: Palm Springs - CA
FORMAT: Short Film
PRODUCTION: HWY Productions
COLOR: Yes
AUDIO: Yes
LENGTH: 50:20






Info:

35mm Color footage used to film Jim Morrison's original 10-page screenplay titled 'The Hitchhiker'.'HWY Productions', a private production company, was founded by Jim in March, 1969 specifically to produce the film. Directed by Paul Ferrara,'HWY: An American Pastoral', as it would later be titled, was shot by the 'Feast of Friends' crew shortly after the cancellation of the 'Feast of Friends' project. The film would be a test designed to give Jim some screentime to develop his acting abilities. Workprint copies were developed at CSI Film Labratories. Approximately 3 minutes of alternate HWY footage circulate amongst collectors. These 'outtakes' are sourced from what appears to be an original 35mm print of the film. Although there is no timecode present in the supposed outtakes, it is unknown if these portions are included in the finished version of the film, or if they are in fact outtakes. The film has remained completely unreleased until clips were used in the upcoming documentary 'When You're Strange'. Various 35mm prints are known to exist.

Jim Morrison comments: "Well, it's about a hitchhiker who.. essentially it's just a movement from a state of nature gradually to city. I don't want to say too much about it now because I don't want to ruin the trip. But, it's a pretty good film. I had the idea for it, and I play the hitchhiker. I won't say that I directed the film, but I'm producing it and overseeing the whole production. The film created itself. We finished a version of it and I think what's going to happen is instead of ending up wtih a short film like 40 or 50 minutes, we're going to add to it, and make it longer. It's really interesting in its present form but we would like to get it seen by people and unless it's feature length, it's not going to be taken very seriously. We're going to have to shoot a lot more, and then edit all that."


A Special Thanks to Paul Ferrara for contributing his time and efforts to this page!

Soundtrack:
Paul & Georgia - Bald Mountain

Credits:
Paul Ferrara - Director
Frank Lisciandro - Editor
Babe Hill - Sound Engineer
Fred Myrow - Music
Norm Gollin - Title Design

Film Locations:

Note: Exact filming dates for each location are unknown. Listings appear in order as seen on workprint copies of the film.

Tahquitz Falls - Tahquitz Canyon, CA
Highway 74 - Palm Springs, CA
Joshua Tree National Monument - Joshua Tree, CA
Standard/Chevron Gas Station - Joshua Tree, CA
Various Locations - Los Angeles, CA
The Doors Office Rooftop - West Hollywood, CA
La Cienega Boulevard - West Hollywood, CA
Alta Cienega Motel - West Hollywood, CA
The Whisky a Go-Go - West Hollywood, CA
9000 Building Rooftop - West Hollywood, CA

Screenings:

03/27/1970 - Orpheum Theater - Vancouver, B.C. (World Premiere)


TAHQUITZ FALLS


Tahquitz Falls

DATE: 04/xx/1969
LOCATION: Tahquitz Falls - Tahquitz Canyon, CA
FORMAT: 35mm
COLOR: Yes
AUDIO: Yes







Info:

The film starts out with Jim's character 'Billy' bathing at a waterfall. Paul Ferrara has confirmed that this location is in fact Tahquitz Falls, in the Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs, California. Film director Frank Capra used the falls in a 1937 film titled 'Lost Horizons' to represent Shangri-La. This footage was shot on the 2nd day of filming. Billy takes a nap, dresses and makes his way down the falls.

HIGHWAY 74


HWY 74

DATE: 04/xx/1969
LOCATION: Hwy. 74 - Palm Springs, CA
FORMAT: 35mm
COLOR: Yes
AUDIO: Yes







Info:

Portions of this film were made along what appears to be Hwy. 74, which runs out of Palm Springs and into the Jacinto Mountains. Paul Ferrara has described his route, and this appears to be the most likely path of travel seen in the production footage. During this segment, Billy hitches a ride in Jim's own Shelby GT 500, driven by an unrecognizable Babe Hill who outside of the film nicknames Jim's car the 'Blue Lady'. In the script, Billy kills the driver and seizes the car for himself. He continues on into the desert, making numerous stops to take in the happenings along the highway. These scenes include Billy lying a towel over an injured coyote, and what seems to be a stop at gas station where he browses through a rotating rack of books.

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL MONUMENT


Desert Location

DATE: 04/xx/1969
LOCATION: Joshua Tree National Park, CA
FORMAT: 35mm
COLOR: Yes
AUDIO: Yes







Info:

Shot on the second day of filming. Footage of Jim in what was then known as the Joshua Tree National Monument includes Billy driving wildly through the desert, dancing with small children, and the iconic shot where he lets out a wild scream while behind the wheel of the Shelby GT 500. An alternate 8mm film captures a behind-the-scenes look at the crew and Jim Morrison on the set. A portion of the 8mm film is shot by Jim Morrison himself. During a night-time film sequence, Billy attempts to read from a map using the headlights of the Shelby.

STANDARD/CHEVRON GAS - JOSHUA TREE


Joshua Tree - Standard Chevron

DATE: 04/xx/1969
LOCATION: Standard Chevron - Joshua Tree, CA
FORMAT: 35mm
COLOR: Yes
AUDIO: Yes






Info:

When Billy finds his way out of the desert, he makes a stop at a Standard/Chevron gas station. While there, he asks an onlooker for a cigarette. The station is located in Joshua Tree, CA at the S.W. corner of Grand View Circle & Twentynine Palms Highway (Hwy. 62).

VARIOUS LOCATIONS - LOS ANGELES


Various Los Angeles Locations

DATE: 04/xx/1969
LOCATION: (See Details Below) - Los Angeles, CA
FORMAT: 35mm
COLOR: Yes
AUDIO: Yes






Info:

'Billy' makes his way through the city of Los Angeles in various locations including another Chevron gas station. In these scenes, Paul Ferrara's station wagon can be seen reflected in shop windows while traveling along 5th St. in the downtown area of Los Angeles, and the film crew takes a route through Paul's childhood neighborhood of Vermont Knolls. Another scene reflects a drive down Ocean Front Walk along Venice Beach & a parking lot nearby where the 'Israel Levin Adult Senior Center' can be spotted. Other scenes include Billy traveling in the Shelby along various unknown Los Angeles freeways and roads.

Various Los Angeles Locations   #1224 81 St. & Area - Vermont Knolls
Various Los Angeles Locations   E 5th St. & San Julian St. - Traveling West on E 5th St. between San Julian St. & S Main St.
Various Los Angeles Locations   Ocean Front Walk - Venice Beach

'THE DOORS' OFFICE ROOFTOP


The Doors Office

DATE: 04/xx/1969
LOCATION: Santa Monica Blvd. - West Hollywood, CA
FORMAT: 35mm
COLOR: Yes
AUDIO: Yes






Info:

Scenic footage is shot from atop The Doors Office building on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard. The neon lights of the 'Phone Booth' can be seen, along with a display light of the Alta Cienega Motel. This footage is used to create the transition from day to night during the second half of the film. The office was located at 8512 Santa Monica Blvd, and is now the Mexican eatery 'Y Barra'.

LA CIENEGA BOULEVARD


La Cienega Boulevard

DATE: 04/xx/1969
LOCATION: La Cienega Boulevard - West Hollywood, CA
FORMAT: 35mm
COLOR: Yes
AUDIO: Yes






Info:

Billy makes a call from a phonebooth to confess that he had killed someone in the desert. The recipient of the call, an unknown character in the film, was in fact poet Michael McClure, who decided to play along with Jim's seemingly odd story.

ROOM 32. - ALTA CIENEGA MOTEL


Alta Cienega Motel

DATE: 04/xx/1969
LOCATION: Alta Cienega Motel - Room #32 - West Hollywood, CA
FORMAT: 35mm
COLOR: Yes
AUDIO: Yes






Info:

When night falls, Billy arrives at a motel. This segment was shot at the Alta Cienega Motel where Jim Morrison had been living at the time. This short segment includes an unexpected shot of Jim as he relieves himself in the washroom.

THE WHISKY A GO-GO


The Whisky

DATE: 04/xx/1969
LOCATION: The Whisky a Go-Go - Hollywood, CA
FORMAT: 35mm
COLOR: Yes
AUDIO: Yes






Info:

Towards the end of the film, Billy is seen outside a bar with various patrons smoking a cigarette. This scene was shot outside the Whisky a Go-Go from across Sunset Boulevard.

9000 BUILDING ROOFTOP


9000 Building Rooftop

DATE: 04/xx/1969
LOCATION: 9000 Sunset Blvd. - West Hollywood, CA
FORMAT: 35mm
COLOR: Yes
AUDIO: Yes






Info:

In the final segment of HWY, Billy is filmed walking the top ledge of a tall building. This segment is shot at the 9000 building on Sunset Boulevard. Prior to this scene, Billy is filmed in the elevator at the bottom floor, and begins his ride to the top.