... or go to Movies in Beaufort County Part I or Part III
Though no part of Gone with the Wind was ever filmed here in Beaufort (see The Tara Rumor), the actor who played Rhett Butler was a guest Beaufort's Gold Eagle Tavern. Clark Gable (1901-1960) was in good company: click here for a list of other celebrities who signed in at the Gold Eagle.
Stage, screen and film star Dorothy Lamour told The Beaufort Gazette (September 9, 1965) that her visit to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island was "the proudest day of my life". She joined her husband and younger son to attend son John R. Howard's graduation ceremony from basic training. "When John was born, I said to myself, 'Here is another man for the service of the United States," she said.
After the ceremony, Lamour signed autographs and greeted the Marines. She thanked the Platoon 143 drill instructor, Sgt. Davis, for "doing a tremendous" job in training her son.
Dorothy Lamour (1914-1996, born Mary Leta Dorothy Slaton) was best known for the five "Road" films she made with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in the 1940s: (The Road to Singapore, The Road to Zanzibar, The Road to Morocco, The Road to Utopia, and The Road to Rio).
BEAUFORT "GOES HOLLYWOOD"
of The Great Santini began in 1979, a wave
of excitement stirred Beaufort as never before. Residents
saw Robert Duval, Blythe Danner, and other stars walking
about town as if Beaufort had become a second Hollywood.
"Locals" signed on as extras and learned that
most of the time would be spent waiting for a scene to be
set up for shooting. When the movie was released at last,
Beaufortonians were thrilled to see themselves and their
neighbors on the big screen -- at least for a few seconds.
Filmmakers can always count on a big turnout when extras
are needed in Beaufort, and some retirees and others with
flexible schedules have made a "second career"
of being filmed in the periphery, along with the area's
Of course, there have been times when the residents of Beaufort have had to adjust to exigencies of filmmaking. During the filming of Forces of Nature, for instance, a number of residents of "The Point" complained about the impact of some of the equipment on the the historic, normally placid neighborhood --- including the large fans that blew up hurricane-force winds for the cameras. Some "Point" residents even left town for the duration of the filming.
Much was made of the telephone call that Prince of Tides director Barbra Streisand made to the Marine Corps Air Station when military jets flew over the areas where she was filming. But filmmakers have enjoyed a harmonious relationship with the local military, as far back as François Reichenbach (Les Marines, 1957) and Lewis John Carlino (The Great Santini, 1979). During the fiming of The War in 1993, the command at the Air Station even re-routed their flights so the jets would not fly over the tree used in the film, even though the location sat at the far end of the jet flight line. The Air Station also kept in touch with the filmmakers on a daily basis, informing them when flights were about to begin.
The D. I.
The setting may was Parris Island, SC -- but the scenes were filmed in California. Leonard Maltin's 2002 Movie and Video Guide called The D. I. an "ostensibly realistic account of Marine basic training" that "is today a wonderful exercise in high camp. ... (The) sequence where soldiers search for a 'murdered' sand flea is priceless." Sand fleas, of course, are "no-see-ums," the tiny biting midges that can put a damper on outdoor activities in the Lowcountry (and which make basic training all the rougher for Marine recruits at Parris Island).
The movie was not filmed in Beaufort, but on the sea islands around Brunswick, Georgia.
Conrack is the film version of Pat Conroys The Water is Wide (the title taken from a verse of "Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore", a Beaufort Sea Island spiritual). The book recounted Conroys experiences in a one-room school on Daufuskie Island (Beaufort County) in the late 1960s. He accepted the position after a one-year teaching stint at the "mainstream" Beaufort High School. At the Daufuskie School, Conroy found fifth-to-eighth graders from the Sea Island African-American community who had never learned even even the basics of the outside world (the students spoke the Gullah dialect , and the only transportation to and from the island was by boat). His efforts to bring change met with opposition from the veteran black teacher on Daufuskie Island and, eventually, the school board in Beaufort. By the end of the school term, Conroy was forced to leave his teaching job.
In the book and in the film, the name of Daufuskie Island was changed to "Yamacraw Island", and the names of certain individuals were changed as well. Jon Voight portrayed the "Conrack" character (a Gullah pronunciation of "Conroy") in the movie.
Glory was filmed in Georgia, but the story belongs to Beaufort. The 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry disproved the prejudice against black soldiers in the Civil War. Under the command of Robert Gould Shaw, these "colored troops" garrisoned in Beaufort, S. C. (the town and surrounding islands had fallen to Federal troops in November of 1861) showed great valor in the July 18,1863 assault on the Confederate Fort Wagner in Charleston. Despite the heavy losses to the regiment, the troops' performance encouraged the Federal government to recruit many more African-American soldiers. The number of blacks in the Union ranks reached 180,000 -- a force that may have decided the course of the Civil War.
November 30, 1864, the 54th Regiment fought closer to their
home base at the Battle of Honey Hill. Several regiments of
Union troops could not defeat the well-placed rebel troops,
and were short on ammunition. So the Confederate railroads
and other vital communication links between Savannah and Charleston
remained intact. The site is in Jasper County (part of Beaufort
County at the time of the battle) on U. S. Highway 278, about
1.8 miles east of Grahamville.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Savannah is at the heart and soul of the movie (and of the
book by John Berendt), Beaufort casts a long shadow in the
"garden". The central character, Jim Williams, drives
to a cemetery in the Beaufort area to contact the widow of
St. Helena Island "root
doctor" Stepheney Robinson (better known