George Raft and Joe E. Brown, to name
only a few. Some of the stars are on the
screen for only a few moments and you
catch only fleeting glimpses of them.
The Todd players traveled to England,
Spain, India and Japan to shoot portions of
the picture, but most of the special effects
were created in Hollywood or near Durango, Colo., where some of the highlights of
the race across the United States were
Part of this journey had to be undertaken
on a sailmobile improvised from a wagon
that was made to travel along a railroad
track. The vehicle looks like a wagon with
a sail, to be sure, but it was built around a
motor handcar. The picture company
couldn't afford to wait for a stiff wind.
Glass fiber and plastic were used to shape
a sail that appears to be bellied by the wind.
In Colorado, Lee Zavitz had the job of
finding a way to photograph, close-up, the
thrilling ride of a bareback rider who was
dashing through a forest. With the 140-degree bug-eye camera this promised to be a
spectacular sequence on the screen.
Zavitz built a tiny saddle for the horse,
invisible to the camera, and attached a pair
of shafts to it forward of the rider's legs.
The shafts went straight toward the ground,
then trailed to the rear where they were
attached to the wheeled dolly that carried
the camera. The horse actually tows the
camera. The audience gets all the thrills of
a wild ride through the woods.
Stunts like that are easy. The big special
effect that called for lots of study and weeks
of preparation was the building and wrecking of a miniature railroad trestle. In
Colorado the film company made full-scale
scenes of the locomotive and old-fashioned
cars of a narrow-gauge railroad that is still
operating. The story called for the train to
make a dash across a trestle that had been
weakened by a raging river below it. The
100-foot-tall trestle was to collapse just as
the train safely cleared it.
The trestle is part of an existing railroad
and couldn't be wrecked, so the scene was
filmed in Hollywood.
First the mountain background had to
be matched on a scale of about two inches
to the foot. A small canyon in the Hollywood bills, literally a gully, was reshaped
to conform to the appearance of the Rockies. A forest of miniature trees, each consisting of a stalk from the desert yucca
bush drilled to accept juniper branches,