Bandit Island (1953) Poster


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Lost 3-D short later incorporated in feature film "The Big Chase"
kevin olzak27 September 2014
Early 1953 saw producer/distributor Robert L. Lippert instructing his son Robert Jr. to film "Bandit Island," approximately three reels of nonstop action without dialogue to capitalize on the new 3-D phenomenon, using actors Glenn Langan, Lon Chaney, Jim Davis, Jay Lawrence, Lou Roberson, and Gil Perkins. The whole thing was shot without a script in only four days on the fly, with the experienced Chaney doing his own stunts, and contributing ideas as to how the story should be told. A payroll robbery performed by three men and their woman driver results in a lengthy chase through the LA streets, to a railway yard (where Chaney's Kip bites the dust), to a Malibu dockside, a brief getaway by boat, and a final confrontation on the beach between cop Glenn Langan (as Pete Grayson) and the last surviving crook (Jim Davis as Brad Bellows). According to first-time (and last!) director Robert L. Lippert Jr., the 3-D effects were excellent, though because the short has been lost for years, our only glimpse of the footage comes from its later incorporation into the 1954 feature film release "The Big Chase," a straight 2-D presentation with nearly 40 minutes of newly shot material, bringing back Glenn Langan, Jim Davis, and Jay Lawrence to repeat their roles in added scenes. From what can be seen in that feature, they could have done a lot worse in four days of shooting, but the actors have no characterization to work with, and Lon Chaney's brief appearance as Kip is not only mute like everyone else, but completely absent from the new sequences (unlike the others, he wasn't called back for any reshoots). In addition, "Bandit Island" was filmed in color, while "The Big Chase" is strictly black and white.
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