The Cult of Chris McCandless
Fifteen years after an enigmatic 24-year-old walked Into the Wild, the site of his death has become a shrine. As Hollywood weighs in with a portrait of the young man as a saintlike visionary, has the truth been lost? Inside the strange life and tragic death of "Alexander Supertramp." -- Matthew Power
*** :

... [ script PDF ]

Craig Medred would note in the Anchorage Daily News, "the Alaska wilderness is a good place to test yourself. The Alaska wilderness is a bad place to find yourself."

The majority of Alaskans share some version of the opinion that McCandless was deeply out of his element. Medred, the outdoors columnist for the Anchorage Daily News, believes that he was suffering from schizophrenia and compares him to Timothy Treadwell, the unstable filmmaker and bear enthusiast who (along with his girlfriend) was killed and eaten by a grizzly in Katmai National Park in 2003. "McCandless didn't need the wilderness," he says. "He needed help."

Alaskans fault Krakauer for romanticizing McCandless, thereby encouraging others to model themselves after his life. Before the film has even been released, it has become common to blame Hollywood for further glamorizing a senseless tragedy. As Dermot Cole, a columnist for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, puts it, "To sell the story, they've made it into a fable. He's been glorified in death because he was unprepared. You can't come to Alaska and do that."

Butch Killian, one of the moose hunters who discovered McCandless's body in September 1992, considered it just another day in the bush and doesn't understand why such a big deal has been made out of the story. He told me he had never read the book and had no idea that it had been a bestseller, that thousands of people had felt a deep identification with Krakauer's portrait of McCandless. "I don't know what his problem was, but it wasn't surviving. If he's a hero, he's a dead hero." Killian doesn't think that a visit to the site will provide many answers. "So many people have asked me to take them out there. What in the world would you want to go back there for? It's nothing but an old bus."

... "Chris may have fucked up, but he fucked up brilliantly . . ."

Alaska Pages [ ? ]

... [ bottom, discussion ]


Assignments : list @ Alaska, Hollywood -- "Made in America"

... What was doctored :

But the book was published before the seeds' testing was completed by Dr. Thomas Clausen, the chair of the chemistry and biochemistry department at UAF. "I was hoping it was true," says Clausen, in his lab on campus. "It would have made a good story. But the scientific results worked against my biases. I tore that plant apart. There were no toxins. No alkaloids. I'd eat it myself."

[ and the fake page in the book ? ]


Hollywook, AK :

The Edge (1997) : Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin

Writer David Mamet created two engrossing and memorable characters, played by Alec Baldwin as the urbane fashion photographer and Anthony Hopkins as a reserved and intellectual billionaire. They find themselves teamed up against a giant Kodiak bear, and their own inner demons, when lost together in the Alaskan wilderness. There is a lot going on in this picture, as the subject matter includes male rivalry, the isolationism of extreme wealth, and, most conspicuously, the survival of the fittest. Mamet's script, which sounds a little too arch in spots, is well served by New Zealand director Lee Tamahori, who knows how to capture beauty and brutality in one frame. Although the themes are enormous in scope, they are well balanced. One rarely overpowers the other, nor does the achingly beautiful scenery overshadow the acting. Even if you do not like the intellectualism of the dialogue, there are some great scenes with the bear. --Rochelle O'Gorman

[ A plane crash in the freezing Alaskan wilderness pits intellectual billionaire Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) against self-satisfied fashion photographer Robert Green (Alec Baldwin) in a brutal struggle for survival. Each soon discovers that the greatest danger resides not in nature, but from human fear, treachery, and quite possibly murder.]

Insomnia (Widescreen Edition) (2002)
Starring: Al Pacino, Robin Williams Director: Christopher Nolan

[ essential video ] As a more conventional follow-up to his innovative thriller Memento, Christopher Nolan's Insomnia offers ample proof that his skills are genuine. A superbly crafted remake of the 1997 Norwegian thriller, this moody police procedural is transplanted to a remote Alaskan town, where a veteran Los Angeles detective (Al Pacino) arrives to investigate the murder of a teenaged girl. Professional tragedy collides with psychological turmoil as the detective suffers from sleeplessness under the region's perpetual daylight, and a local rookie cop (Hilary Swank) begins to suspect that truths are being hidden as the disturbing case unfolds. While the Alaskan setting intensifies the atmospheric mystery, Pacino's bleary-eyed disorientation adds a rich layer to his character's erratic behavior, and the casting of Robin Williams as the killer was a risk that pays off nicely. In many respects better than the original, Insomnia is a Hollywood remake that's refreshingly free of compromise. --Jeff Shannon

The Barber (2001) Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Jeremy Ratchford Director: Michael Bafaro

... more.


"into the wild"

calendar : dates : 11.21.07 + ... --

The Call of the Wild By Jack London -- ... Birthing a Nation: Gender, Creativity, and the West in American Literature By Susan J. Rosowski [ HIStory ]

McCandless's signature had been penned at the bottom of the SOS note, and the photos, when developed, included many self-portraits. But because he had been carrying no identification, the authorities didn't know who he was, where he was from, or why he was there.


"McCandless clearly believed in self-mythologizing, in the power of storytelling and self-invention." [left]

[ ]

"To criticize Hollywood for being Hollywood, for taking a real story and mythologizing it, is like telling a bear not to shit in the woods. It's what they do."

... "That kid's mistakes started a long time before he got here."

And what will happen to this bus?

"Not sure what we'll do with it. Make it some kind of attraction. Maybe a cappuccino stand. I know that sounds like we're profiting off someone else's story, but you do what you have to do to survive here."

September 2007 by Men's Journal LLC -- final(s) project [ class papers ]

... Wilderness (1991), ISBN 0-671-72827-X, nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel -- Dennis Danvers ...

and the list since the Romantic Era ( ):

... art [history]

* (American) Romantic nationalism


* :
Thoreau: I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discovered that I had no lived.

* images = movies [list] FREEZE FRAME :

From POV 2007 :
Grizzly Man could easily have been sensational and exploitative, but in the hands of Werner Herzog, it becomes something extraordinary. Herzog was granted exclusive access to over 100 hours of video shot by amateur naturalist, wildlife advocate and troubled loner Timothy Treadwell, who spent 13 summers in Alaska's Katmai National Park, where he grew to know and love the grizzly bears that lived there. He was also killed by one of them, in October 2003, along with his girlfriend Amie Huguenard, and that seemingly inevitable fate informs every minute of Herzog's riveting combination of Treadwell's video with his own expert filmmaking and unique vision of nature and man. Whereas Treadwell was a naïve nature-lover and social outcast whose sanity was slowly slipping away, Herzog is a pragmatic mythologist who views nature primarily in terms of "chaos, hostility, and murder," and the disparity of their vision results in a magnetic attraction that makes the sum of Grizzly Man greater than its parts. We come to admire the dreamer, the idealist, the failed actor and recovered alcoholic man-child that was Treadwell, and we equally admire the seeker of truth and wisdom that is Herzog. They belong together, in some world beyond our world, where visionaries join forces to create life after death. --Jeff Shannon

... The far country of the title is Alaska, where James Stewart, a cold-hearted cattleman, and his sidekick Walter Brennan, a garrulous old codger, drive a herd of cattle to cash in on the gold rush. Stewart is the ultimate loner, a point the film takes pains to paint as he watches helpless miners murdered by a gang of thugs without lifting a finger. John McIntyre plays his nemesis, a magnetic but corrupt Roy Bean-like judge and merchant who preys off the miners passing through his town and steals Stewart's cattle in the name of justice. Stewart, after signing on to lead saloon owner Ruth Roman's wagon train to the mining camp, steals back his herd and makes himself a respectful enemy: "I'm gonna like you. I'm gonna hang you, but I'm gonna like you," grins McIntyre. The rest of the film is a battle for Stewart's soul, between resolute individualism and community activism, between bad woman Roman and good girl Corinne Calvet (one of the film's weakest elements, admittedly, as the sparks between Stewart and Roman are far more exciting than Calvet's silly kewpie doll in flannel). The Far Country is largely shot on studio sets and pulls out familiar Western tropes not usually seen in his films, but Mann brings an edge to the drama with explosions of cold-blooded violence and a brilliant final shootout that plays out on a split-level plain. --Sean Axmaker

... Emile Hirsch talks about 'Into The Wild' [ how much/little he understands ] - Dog's POV ... Common Alaska 'myth-understandings' {Traditionally Speaking} Paul Brynner :

here we go... 30 DAYS OF NIGHT Movie Trailer

[wikipedia] Movies filmed in Alaska
One of the most prominent movies filmed in Alaska was MGM's Academy Award winning classic "Eskimo/Mala The Magnificent" starring Alaska's own Ray Mala. In 1932 an expedition set out from MGM's studios in Hollywood to Alaska to film what was then billed as "The Biggest Picture Ever Made". Upon arriving in Alaska, they set up "Camp Hollywood" in Northwest Alaska where they lived during the duration of the filming. Louis B. Mayer spared no expense in making sure they had everything they needed during their stay-he even sent the famous chef from the Hotel Roosevelt on Hollywood Blvd (the site of the first Oscars) with them to Alaska to cook for them! When "Eskimo" premiered at the famed Astor Theatre in Times Square, New York, the studio received the largest amount of feedback in the history of the studio up to that time. "Eskimo" was critically acclaimed and released worldwide; as a result Inupiat Eskimo actor Ray Mala became an international movie star. "Eskimo" is significant for the following: winning the very first Oscar for Best Film Editing at the Academy Awards, for forever preserving Inupiat culture on film, and for being the first motion picture to be filmed in an all native language (Inupiat). :

Mala leads a contented life as the best hunter in his Canadian Arctic tribe, providing meat, fish and birds with his great skill. When another tribe member returns from trading furs with the white men for items such as a gun and an iron needle, Mala's wife, Aba, urges him to make the 500-mile trek across the frozen tundra to do the same. After the long night of winter, Mala does go with his family to the white man's "floating house" in Tjarnak. The friendly captain makes trade for Mala's excellent furs, but upsets Mala when he insists that Aba sleep with him that night. "He didn't even ask me!" Mala complains. Afterwards, the captain suggests that Mala go whale hunting and promises not to touch his wife, so Mala agrees. But news of a successful catch spurs a celebration on board ship, and the captain has Aba forcibly removed from her tent, plied with liquor, and then he rapes her. In the morning, the still-drunk Aba staggers from the ship, but collapses in the snow, where she is mistaken for an animal by a hunter and shot and killed. When Mala returns from the whaling expedition, he learns that Aba "has swallowed sleep." He is so enraged he harpoons the captain, packs up his dog sled team and leaves with the rest of his family. It takes some time to recover from his grief and take on two new wives including Iva, who has loved him all along. The newly formed Royal Canadian Mounted Police learns of the murder and dispatches two mounties to arrest Mala. Ironically, Mala finds them frozen in the snow, near death, and saves their lives reluctantly, since he now trusts no white man. But they convince him they are his friends and must go back with them or else they may starve. So he goes, leaving his family behind. At the RCMP base, Mala learns from a translator he may hang. With great effort, he slips out of his shackled wrist, injuring his hand, steals food and a dog sled team and heads back to his land. In the morning, the two mounties go after him. -- White Fang [Region 2] (1991)
Ethan Hawke, fresh faced and full of determination, tackles the icy wilds and rowdy boom towns of Alaska in Disney's 1991 adaptation of Jack London's turn-of-the-century gold rush classic. Though somewhat tamed for young audiences, the story of a city kid who befriends a feral half-wolf/half-dog orphan while learning to survive the dangers of nature and man has its share of peril and rousing scenes of wilderness adventure. But the humans are upstaged by both the animals (the standoff between White Fang and a wild brown bear is a highlight) and the Alaskan landscape, from the snow-covered mountains and frozen lakes of winter to the rich green forests and whitecap rivers of summer. The scenes of dogfights and wild wolves hunting game are carefully shot to avoid bloodshed (the opening disclaimer takes pains to remind viewers that all such scenes have been simulated), but they may still be too intense for young children. Recommended for 9 and up. --Sean Axmaker

The Big White (2005)
Starring: Robin Williams, Holly Hunter * Director: Mark Mylod

A black comedy centered on Paul Barnell, a down on his luck Alaska travel agent who's on the brink of bankruptcy and whose beloved wife, Margaret, is on the brink of insanity. So what's a nice guy with good intentions but bad business sense to do? The answer lies frozen in a dumpster outside of Barnell Great Escapes - a dead body Paul hopes to pass off as his long-lost brother Raymond and then collect on the life insurance. Unfortunately, investigator Ted Watters who's anxious to transfer back to the lower 48 with his girlfriend, isn't about to let Barnell walk away with a million bucks. Adding to Paul's avalanche of problems are two aspiring hit men-turned-kidnappers and the stunning return of the supposedly dead Raymond, who now has an ax to grind with his brother. Desperation is running high in the "big white," and if Paul is smart, he'll blow the snow, take the money and South America.

... Alaska 1996 vid [ ... ]

[ script ]

Tuesday, April 28th 1992
WIDE-SHOT: A vast, snow-blanketed wilderness that sits
beneath the icy summits of the highest mountain range in
North America. This is BIG Alaska.
A beat up 4x4 pick-up enters very small into the upper
left corner of frame on an unkept, snow-packed road, and
comes to a stop. A figure exits the passenger side and
moves around the front of the truck. We can just make
out the rifle sticking out of his backpack. We HEAR a
very distant “Thank You” as the figure walks away from
the road and away from the truck, seemingly into nowhere.


students : papers/pages/chapters