Oregon Movies, A to Z

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Rough Romance (1930)/Lost film

January 19th, 2012 by Anne Richardson · 3 Comments · 1930's, Lost film, Oregon film, Oregon film old definition, Oregon location (primary)

When John Wayne came to Oregon in 1975 to make Rooster Cogburn, it was a return trip.

Wayne was working as a props man on Rough Romance, a logging film shot in Oregon in 1930, when he was tapped to play an uncredited bit part in front of the camera. Later that same year, Raoul Walsh gave him the lead in The Big Trail, and his career in the props department was over.

I always wondered where Rough Romance was shot. Today an Oregon Movies, A to Z reader gave me a clue.

She writes:

I was told that John Wayne (when he was still known as Marion Morrison), was in a logging film done in Coos County, Oregon. I cannot find any mention of it on-line.There are no known copies of the film; yet stills used to hang in the Taylor Maid Donut shop located in Bunker Hill (Coos County).Can you confirm this? Or shed any light as to its history?

I wish I could help with more information.

Here’s what I know, beyond the ”blink or you’ll miss him” role Wayne had in Rough Romance.

1. The star of Rough Romance, George O’Brien, returned to Oregon to make  Park Avenue Logger (1937), now lost. I would love to see it!

2. The logging film genre and the lost film genre seem to enjoy significant overlap. Sometimes A Great Notion, the culmination of the logging film genre, was for a long time a lost film.

Thank you, Cherie, for sending in this question!  I may never see Rough Romance, but I now know it was shot  in the same county where I first fell in love with movies.

Here’s a photo, recently offered on eBay, of George O’Brien in Rough Romance.

I agree! He looks like a chucklehead. But looks are deceiving – he was a big star. Rough Romance is set in Canada, so maybe this is how Canadian lumberjacks dressed in 1930.

Read about the intersection of John Wayne’s career with Oregon film history  here.

I hereby claim Rough Romance as an Oregon film, based on location shooting in Coos County.

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Natalie K. Gould // Jan 23, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I’m sure you have, but have you checked with the folks at Movie Madness on SE Belmont? I have found many movies there I thought were “lost.” If they haven’t had something I was searching for, they have always been willing to hunt for it.

  • 2 Anne Richardson // Jan 23, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Movie Madness has SO many lost films. But not this one. Turner Classic Movies has it. Maybe someday they will run it.

  • 3 Cherie Patrick // Jan 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Thank you for identifying the movie. My dad’s oldest brother (local logger) worked on the movie (most likely with others~) teaching actors/stunt people logging skills including how to walk logs on the rafts. No known copies of the film exist… I am trying to locate the stills that hung in the Taylor Maid Bakery. Thanks again for your research – I really appreciate it. Cherie

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