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Author Topic: The Deteriorating Arch—A Moral Question  (Read 3941 times)
Cusser
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« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2016, 01:32:58 PM »

The pic I took 7-8 years ago:



You can see the tracks.

Yeah, pretty much as when I was there.  The camera dolly tracks are neat, so is the topography as traffic from the road cannot be seen from that location, so there would've been no need or desire to stop traffic on the highway.  I think the storm in the film in the background (to the left?) was just happenstance at the time of filming the scene, but that's how it happens out here in the west.  No way would one or could one wait for that to happen (remember angle already determined, dolly tracks and famous monuments in the distance, to show it wasn't faked).

As to physical rebuilding: this is truly in the middle of nowhere, believe on Indian reservation.  The only lodging anywhere nearby is at Gouldings in Monument Valley.  I'm likely the closest, and it's 330 miles away from me. 

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Herry Grail
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« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2016, 02:24:34 PM »

I hunted around a little on Google last night just for bucket-list kicks, and the nearest airport is a 3-hour drive away. (Apparently you can get chartered flights to come a bit closer, which I guess is what they did when they originally built the thing and filmed it?)

The presence of the dolly tracks makes it a particularly substantial presence as a "site" I think. I just bought some styrofoam and plaster-of-paris to play around with a model, and I expect to be able to skew the photos and get some screen grabs to make the shape pretty accurate. I believe prop/set-design people could interpret the original on film to see how it was made, which may very well have been scored foam across the arch, since the tall vertical "pieces" fit together so well. Of course a lasting restoration would be more on par with the kind of faux stonework you see at a Disney park.

My guess is the permission to do anything would come from the Navajo Nation, or the Parks Department, or both. There might be some help from film-preservation/historical groups, at least for guidance, and remember that's a pet cause of Scorcese, one of the film's most high-profile admirers.

I'd at least like to see a marker there, and maybe a maintenance effort. Its isolation has been good for its relative longevity, but it sure makes this kind of project difficult. It's fun to run the thoughts through your head, though.

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« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2016, 02:40:19 PM »


My guess is the permission to do anything would come from the Navajo Nation, or the Parks Department, or both.
Except getting them to acknowledge responsibility will be the hard thing. The Navajo Nation will claim to know nothing about it. The Parks Department will say it is not within their remit. I foresee nothing but stonewalling.

One approach would be to just go ahead and present it as a fait accompli and then ask for sanction. It's unlikely that anyone would demand that it be torn down once it were up, especially if there were a letter from Scorsese asking that it be preserved. The most difficult thing is the doing: the transportation of materials, the assembly. What would the best season be for doing work there?


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« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2016, 08:01:22 PM »

Seems from the comments I have read here that no one in the Navajo Nation would know much or care much about it; you can do whatever you want and nobody would bother you. Asking permission would create problems; just do what you wanna do. My guess is that would be the best way to go. Take a brick and break it up and see if it sells. Restore it. Whatever. Doesn't seem like anyone would bother you. Just a guess.

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« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2016, 08:04:35 PM »

We just need a coupla hundred grand* for some 3-D imaging of the remaining structure merged with an artist's 3-D model of the original, with pieces cut (or printed?) from the result, then assembled and finished onsite.   Afro

*Totally made that up.

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« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2016, 08:17:22 PM »

Seems from the comments I have read here that no one in the Navajo Nation would know much or care much about it; you can do whatever you want and nobody would bother you. Asking permission would create problems; just do what you wanna do. My guess is that would be the best way to go. Take a brick and break it up and see if it sells. Restore it. Whatever. Doesn't seem like anyone would bother you. Just a guess.

Here's a possibly really dumb question: When you go out on this little road that leads to the arch, have you gone through a "national park" gate at some point, or a "now entering Navajo Nation" checkpoint? Are there rangers or docents or some kind of official Monument Valley caretakers driving around?

In other words, is it really just a place off the highway like any other little pile of rocks you might encounter anywhere else? Does it "feel" like you're in a park or on a reservation, or are you just on a road in the middle of nowhere?? I don't ask to see what you could "get away with," just to get a sense of what this area is like.

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« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2016, 08:34:35 PM »

If it's Navajo Res I'm sure you'd need permission, but since it's already been used I don't see any problem with restoration.

As far as the arch itself, there are probably Carlo Simi sketches with the dimensions. Peter Hanley who has recently been delving into this stuff may be the go to person to ask for advice on who to contact, no?

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« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2016, 11:08:36 PM »

As I mentioned previously, the top of the original arch is gone; there are just some wood pieces from it scattered on the ground. Not sure why it came down - maybe lightning? And if it's rebuilt, it may again be knocked down by lightning ...

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« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2016, 02:12:23 AM »

As I mentioned previously, the top of the original arch is gone; there are just some wood pieces from it scattered on the ground. Not sure why it came down - maybe lightning? And if it's rebuilt, it may again be knocked down by lightning ...

It wasn't built to last for an eternity, it was only built to film that one scene, and nobody cared for it thereafter. Nature claims its right and gets back everything, it is only a matter of time. And if it was built without quality the deteriorating process goes fast. Water, wind, frost are gnawing on it, it doesn't need a ligthning for only the pedestal to remain.

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« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2016, 07:44:37 AM »

Even the books at Gouldings about films made in Monument Valley say nothing about this film being partially done there, like it didn't exist.

Search this web board, I'm pretty sure a replica arch was built somewhere in Spain, primarily for tourists.

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« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2016, 09:30:23 AM »

Water, wind, frost are gnawing on it, it doesn't need a ligthning for only the pedestal to remain.
You left out gravity.

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« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2016, 09:56:39 AM »

You left out Gravity.

Sandra Bullock debarked in water, did not hit the arch. Maybe she should. A good idea for part 2 though, even on a higher metaphorical level.

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« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2016, 10:30:21 AM »

Here are a couple of shots I found online. What's odd is that they're both at the Fort Bravo/Texas Hollywood park in Almeria but they appear to be in different locations, even though they're taken from opposite sides.

Even if there's enough room behind it to take the shot into the little town, you can see cactus and other things that don't match up. But the asymmetry of the two bases looks very consistent.





But whether it's the same arch or not, it's a lot wider than the original.


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« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2016, 03:00:08 PM »

Here's what a little "skewing around" in Photoshop can get you:


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« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2016, 07:23:25 PM »

nice  Afro

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