Mendocino's Movie History



The camera loves the village of Mendocino. That’s one reason why my crew and I have returned so often, following in the footsteps of Hollywood which discovered the chameleon-like charms of the little town long before we did. More than fifty years ago, Mendocino looked enough like an idealized

version of Monterey to attract James Dean and the crew of East of Eden for the film adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel. Somebody had the wisdom to take home movies and save them. They’re fascinating to watch, especially knowing the tragic fate awaiting James Dean. Then came Jonathan Winters, Brian Keith, Alan Arkin and the crew of “The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming,” and Mendocino impersonated the east coast for awhile. A bit later, Angela Lansbury and her television series, “Murder She Wrote,” anointed Mendocino as the murder-solving capital of New England. As far as I know, Mendocino has never played itself. But that’s what acting is all about, and Mendocino has clearly proven its theatrical chops. I happen to like Mendocino for what it is, a real town with a setting more beautiful than any of our cameras will ever capture.

I'm pleased to report that the village remains as beautiful as ever. I encourage you to go there as soon as possible and make your own movies and send them along to us. The book, MENDOCINO AND THE MOVIES, is still in print. And by the way, since we shot our story, parts of "The Majestic" with Jim Carey were filmed in the area and further up the coast in Ferndale. But Ferndale is another story.

   posted by : Sharon on 4/19/2007 at 03:58 AM
The "Story video" on the movie history of Mendocino was excellent! Thanks

Home movies of James Dean wowing the crowd, tales of Russians landing and fictitious crimes are all part of the movie-making lore of Mendocino’s celebrated little village.
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