Tag Archives: Howard Hill

Best Stunts of the Year List 1930-1939

 

The best movie stunts for the decade listed for 1930-1939 as talked about in the book 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts:

1930:  Canyon Hawks

Yakima Canutt shows off his guts in this one with a buckboard ride with horses straight down the side of a hill.  Crazy, but I bet it was a whole lot scarier in person.Canyon Hawks stunt

1931:  The Phantom

The prison break at the beginning of this movie is just fantastic and ends with a really great train to plane transfer.  The frustrating aspect is that back then they didn’t record who the stunt man was or who the stunt pilot was.  Many stunts in the movies were uncredited during this time of studio filmmaking.The Phantom Stunt

1932:  Air Mail

John Ford directed two films on this list during this decade, this film and Stagecoach.  He was a supporter of good stunts and usually filmed them himself.  Paul Mantz does some nifty flying in this picture, specifically he flies a Stearman plane through an airplane hanger.air-mail

1933:  The Fighter and the Lady

Before they fought for the actual title fight for the Heavyweight belt, they fought in this feature film.  Max Baer and Primo Carnera mix it up on screen here, and Max later said he beat Primo in the real fight by studying his moves for the movie.The Prizefighter and the Lady Stunt

1934:  Murder in the Clouds

This decade is ripe with plane stunts and this film has them in droves.  This one has some fancy aerial tricks and the stunt photographers should get just as much credit for these fantastic shots as the stunt pilots themselves.Murder in the Clouds Stunts

1935:  The Crusades

Cecil B. DeMille is famous for his grand epics, and this film started that process for him.  It has stuntmen and actors fighting in full armor for a huge war on several fronts.demille crusade

1936:  Modern Times

Charlie Chaplin was a very talented skater, and shows off his chops in this movie in a nifty little bit of tension added to the fact that he was doing it right next to a missing railing.  The danger was not real, but the skating sure is.  He’s also got a few nifty bits with a great big machine and a little one attached to the front of his chest.  Fun Stuff.modern

1937:  Wells Fargo

Ray Bunten and Richard Farnsworth, along with a slew of other uncredited stuntmen did a lot of work on this film.  It has a lot of cowboys falling off horses, wagons, rocks and just about anything that moves.  The scene at the end where the Wells Fargo wagon fights Indians have at least two dozens stunts in a ten minute period.Wells Fargo stunts

1938:  The Adventures of Robin Hood

Howard Hill was a world class Archer.  It’s him doing all the fancy bow and arrow stuff in this movie.  A nod also goes out to all the stuntmen that lined up to be shot in the chest by Howard!robinhowardhill2

1939:  Stagecoach

This one is a classic in the stunt world.  Yakima Canutt has a great stunt that he was perfecting in several movies at this time.  This one actually shows the first half of the stunt and was perfected in Zorro’s Fighting Legion the same year.  The nod goes to Stagecoach because it was first but really should be co-presented with the later picture.Yakima Stagecoach

 

To learn more about these films, please read about them and the great trivia behind the scenes in our book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

Howard Hill and Stunt Performers For The Adventures of Robin Hood

 

The Second Robin Hood movie to make the list. At the time, this film held the distinction of employing the largest number of stuntmen on any one production. Howard Hill is listed here for the Best Movie Stunt for 1938 for his skill at archery on The Adventures of Robin Hood, and the stuntmen are listed because they had to line up and be shot by Hill, with real live arrows!
robin Howard Hill

Howard Hill, who is listed in the credits as “Captain of Archers”, also played “Elwyn the Welshman” in the archery contest. Hill actually made the shot where we see one arrow split another, although the splitting of the arrow story is refuted by Hollywood stuntman Buster Wiles, in his book “My Days With Errol Flynn”. In the book, Wiles revealed that although Hill had split the end off of several arrows, he had been unable to split the arrow exactly as scripted (from end to end), and finally a specially constructed arrow with a large bladed head had been used, shot along a concealed wire. Nevertheless, Hill’s accuracy was so great, he regularly hit tiny targets in live performances and on film.robinhowardhill2

Howard Hill also did all the shots which required hitting human targets. The stunt performers wore heavy padding underneath a steel breastplate overlaid with some balsa wood to absorb the impact of arrows and each stunt performer was paid $150 per arrow every time they were shot. Can you image being one of these stuntmen waiting to get shot by a real arrow at real speed?  It was a bit of a relief to know that Hill never missed.  He was so concerned about authenticity that he also worked closely with the sound department to produce the distinctive arrow sounds by using specially made arrows. An interesting note, the sound of Robin’s arrow is the favorite sound of Skywalker Sound’s Ben Burtt. He has used that sound in almost all the Star Wars films.

The Adventures of Robin Hood was directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley for Warner Bros.

Things to look up (go to IMDB page):

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM