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Natural Timber Country (1972)/Lost film

March 28th, 2012 by Anne Richardson · 2 Comments · 1970's, Oregon director, Oregon film, Oregon film new definition, Oregon film old definition, Oregon location (primary), Oregonians as inspiration

Ron Finne’s Natural Timber Country combines 1970’s interviews with long time loggers with archival logging footage from Jesse Sill’s Webfoot Weekly newsreel series.

After reading about Natural Timber Country on 16mm Lost And Found, I discover that this lost film will be shown at the Whitsell on Monday, April 2, 2012 as part of NWFC’s Northwest Tracking/Essential Northwest series.

Director Ron Finne will be in attendance.

Here’s the description from 16mm Lost And Found:

Filmed by Oregon native Ron Finne, Natural Timber Country is the story of old-time logging in the forests of the Northwest. The film was originally available only by mail order from the director’s home in Springfield.

The film lacks a traditional narrator, instead giving us interviews with loggers taped in the field or their homes. To help us visualize the words of the loggers, Finne edits them together with shots of the Northwestern wilderness, both in Oregon and Washington. Also featured is old footage and photographs of loggers stump-rigging trees, skidding felled logs down greased tracks, and one of the first mechanical improvements in the logging business, a steam powered engine for moving larger timber. Also recalled are stunts and jokes of the loggers, such as standing at the very tip top of a limbed and topped tree, or jumping from one log to another as they rolled down a hill.

Above all, the message of the Natural Timber Country is an environmental one. As one man says at the outset of the film. “Timber all around you, you just never figure you’d use it up.”

I hereby claim Natural Timber Country as an Oregon film.

To brush up on this film’s antecedents, here’s a Handy Guide To Oregon Logging Films.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nick Bruno // Apr 8, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I was glad to make it out to the screening. Had a lovely conversation with Ron after the film and he was quite encouraging about my own project dealing with regional forest workers.

    My very brief pre-screening coverage of “Cuts” (the film that “Natural Timber Country” was paired with at the Whitsell screening) can be found here:

  • 2 Anne Richardson // Apr 8, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Natural Timber Country was amazing. He told me about the unlikely preparation he had for shooting it – a filmmakers intensive workshop given by the Film Board of Canada.

    Also, he said that Oregon Humanities Council wanted to see such a film made, and suggested the project to him!

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