In our continuing quest to recapture locales from the movie Superman 3, we take a look at the bridge scene where we see a truck dangling precariously over the river. Not long after the crash the Man of Steel shows up but due to negligence fails prevent a tragedy and the truck tumbles into the waters below. Afterwards Superman is seen to fly away seemingly unconcerned by what happened. Unbeknownst to those at the scene, he was ill with Kryptonite poisoning.
It’s not clear where the bridge is in the movie, they doesn’t seem to say, but what we do know is the real structure is located just south of the small village of Longview Alberta. It’s along Highway 22 which travels in a north/south direction, from a point just outside Calgary down to the Crowsnest Pass. Along the way it passes through rolling hills and lightly populated areas. The bridge here spans the Highwood River, which flows east of here before finally emptying into the Bow River.
In creating my shots, it was rather easy to line everything up. Not much has changed and the overall lay of the land is much as it was when the movie was filmed some thirty years ago. There is more bush though, but otherwise it’s all the same.
The only challenging shot was the first one. In the movie I believe they may have used a crane or copter to capture the scene. Me, I climbed a nearby hill, doing my best mountain goat impersonation in the process, but still was unable to duplicate the height-angle exactly – it was close but still not high enough. Anyway, it may have been too far away for a good movie shot, after all I had to do an almost full out zoom on my camera (something like 33-35x or around 800mm equivalent) and I am not sure if such a thing on a movie camera was or is even doable or practical.
While lining up my shots from the hill, the landowner who was nearby, spotted me and drove up to chat. The person I spoke with, who nicely reminded me I was trespassing (more on this in a moment), opened up once I told them what I was doing up here. I guess they recalled the movie being filmed and seemed happy with my reason, although they still looked puzzled as to why someone would go through such trouble to get a shot. Respecting their wishes and being done anyway, I made bee line down the steep hill back to the car.
Regarding my trespassing…I don’t condone it nor encourage it. Sometimes though it’s such a grey area and it happens, like what happened here. Just because there are no signs, or there is easy access, or open gates and fences, or no clear or recent indications that a piece of land is even being used (most of which was the case here), that does not necessarily make it open season.
If you find yourself on land and someone who identifies themselves as the owner asks you to leave, do so promptly and courteously. Explain what you are doing, thank them and assure them you have shown their property the utmost respect. And what ever you do, stay out of pastures with animals or fields under cultivation. Close gates behind you too and treat the place as though it was your own and you should be fine, even if confronted.
Most land owners are understanding. Finally, if you can, track down the owner ahead of time (not always an easy task) to ask permission prior to you visiting. An old saying states that asking forgiveness is better than asking permission, but I digress and asking first is always the better alternative. I don’t ever recall being turned down.
Longview is Cowboy Country, located some seventy kilometres southwest of Calgary. At the time of its founding, in the 1930s, it was known as Little New York, later changing to its current name. Oil was the reason it came on the scene and even today there is lots of drilling activity in the area. Ranching is another other common business. Then there is films which brings in the work too and many movies and TV shows shoot in the area, the most noteworthy production being Clint Eastwood’s 1992 western film, Unforgiven. The area is perfect for westerns.
Longview is also gateway to some of our favourite hiking spots in the quieter south part of Kananaskis.
We really enjoy these movie then-and-now reports and rest assured you’ll seeing more of them soon. We still have a lot of Superman 1 and 3 scenes to do, more from Silver Streak, plus we’ll be adding Brokeback Mountain to that list soon. It was filmed all over Alberta and will provide fodder for numerous articles.
Images from the movie are copyright Warner Brothers.
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Date: March, 2013.
Location: Longview, AB.