|Index||6 reviews in total|
Considering that this movie was made in 1975, and considering the time,
this was a fun movie. There are lots of popular stars of the time in
this picture, and plenty of drinking fist fights, and action.
People need to remember that times were different back then, it was more old fashioned. How easy it is to sound smooth and sarcastic and mocking of such a film, but these people weren't there and I was. I was born in Alaska, and the old days were fun, adventurous, and exciting.
No current movie could capture the spirit of old timed Alaska like this one. And it never will. So people, take this movie for what it's worth--a low budget comedy action movie made in Alaska when life was rough and tumble, and people really lived like this! I ought to know, I was born here in Alaska 57 years ago.
Watch this movie and enjoy it for a fun, slapstick peek into the past, when Alaska was wild, adventurous, and fun!
Make all kinds of fun of this movie if you want to, but it was certainly not a tax write-off. It was done sincerely and with concern by writer/director/producer Chuck Keen. I know far more about what went on than most, including the stars of the film. I was in charge of the Four Wall distribution, which was done with great success throughout Oregon in 1976. Keen was a self made man who looked and talked like a lumberjack. He was folksy, didn't believe in banks and his handshake was his word. I didn't get along with him 100%, but I respected him. He worked long and hard on this film, as he did with others he did. I don't think he was creatively talented, except with a camera, but he pulled it off, folks...like a lot of determined people in a dog eat dog industry. They deserve a pat on the back for getting it done. "Timber Tramps" is not ever going to rate highly, but it has superb photography and shows off Alaska grandly. Watch it for that and realize one man at least made it happen despite all odds.
I'll start right off by stating that the idiot from Juneau who said this movie was a tax dodge obviously is a bitter person with some sort of ax to grind. In fact, the crew did NOT reside on John Waynes yacht in Juneau, while filming there, Mr. Wayne didn't bring his yacht to Juneau until several years later. I was a boy living in the logging camp where and when this movie was filmed, in fact, my father fell every tree you see falling in the movie, they did a fair job of keeping him out of sight and making it look as though Claude Akins was falling the trees. I was around the movie crew all that summer while they used the camp.In fact, in the scene where Claude tells the "hippy" to get a haircut, on the float plane dock, they had to shoo us out of sight of the cameras, as us kids were floating in the water, leisurely watching the filming. My family and friends found, with the exception of Eve Brent who was VERY standoffish, the entire cast and crew to be delightful people. And remember, we spent the entire summer with them, watching all of the filming. The scene where Leon Ames was operating the D-8 on the steep hillside was actually about 40' behind our little house. My routine that summer, was to get up every morning, eat breakfast, and run down to wherever they were filming, if it was in or around camp, or to jump in the pickups with them, if they were going out to the logging area for the day. These old time movie actors were real people, genuine, polite, courteous, friendly, warm. Rosie Greer taught us kids how to play touch football, football being unknown to us kids in a logging camp in S.E. Alaska...he was as light as feather on his feet for such a huge man! Many times after the days work/filming was done, the cast went salmon fishing with us, We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs together, they were completely down to earth, and never reminded us that they were from Hollywood, and we were just a bunch hick loggers and their offspring. I don't believe this film was ever intended to be more than what it was..a locally made story about a time and era that doesn't exist anymore, and if you take it as such, you wont be disappointed. It's as unpretentious as Chuck Keen himself was, and for me, takes me back to a time we'll never see again, but one I'll always feel privileged to have lived in.
An article in the Dec 19, 1977 issue of Box office magazine suggests
that "The Timber Tramps" was not all that old at the time. There's no
mention of Howco Intl. being a distributor, or former distributor.
"Chuck D. Keen, founder of Alaska Films, has based his company in his
hometown of Juneau, Alaska...the feature was made on a $500,000
budget....Keen already has another feature for release. 'Claws' also
stars Leon Ames, who, Keen said, will be 'in all of my pictures until
he decides to retire.'"
"All of the shooting on 'Claws' was done in Alaska. The film nows is in test runs in Montana. "The Timber Tramps" is scheduled for release in January and is due shortly for test runs in Little Rock, Ark. Both films are to be released by Arizona General, a relatively new distribution company formed three years ago. "
This issue of Box office has an ad for "Timber Tramps" on the cover, and the article confirms an association between Keen and John Wayne - they did a Vietnam
documentary together where Wayne served as a host/narrator. Did all those people want a vacation in Alaska? That's quite a cast in "The Timber Tramps."
Claude Akins is a drunken, hurtful, abusive lumberjack who leads a pathetic, migratory life and socializes exclusively with miserable losers like himself. He's the hero (?) of this movie, which has the look of an el cheapo made-for-TV quickie. Hoyt Curtain, who did the music for dozens of Hanna Barbera cartoons, supplies the totally inappropriate background score. The cast includes such luminaries as Tab Hunter and Rosie Grier, but it's mostly about Claude Akins drinking, cutting down trees, getting into fights, and just generally being a disgusting slob. You'll cherish the scene in which Claude tells a hippie to get a haircut. No, really, you *will* cherish it.
This dog was filmed in Juneau, Alaska. It struck me, at the time, as odd that such a collection of has beens would be cast in this loser. The cast resided on John Wayne's Yacht, The Wild Goose (as I recall its name), anchored in Gasteneau Channel, while filming. Claud Akins behaved just as disgracefully in town as his character did in the movie. I believe that the studio or producer used this project as some sort of tax dodge while simultaneously compensating the actors for past (almost) glories or just to throw a party and write it off. That approach to movie making may also explain the making of "Ishtar". I resided in Juneau at that time and saw the "preview" of this monstrosity at a local theater there. The processing of the film was so poor that the color palate changed drastically from reel to reel. By the way, Chuck Keen lived in Juneau and, over several years, made several unsuccessful attempts to set up tourist attractions there. He mostly tried to promote his image as a "talent" "connected" in the movie industry.
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