More than 800 movies have been filmed in Utah since filmmaking began in the state in the 1920s with the Parry brothers near Cedar City. Utah has played host to all manner of moves from potboilers on lean budgets to some of the most memorable films ever made, including The Searchers, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Planet of the Apes, Footloose, and Thelma & Louise. Through the years millions of dollars have been poured into the economy. As one Utah rancher said, Hollywood moviemakers "don't take anything but pictures and don't leave anything but money." And with changes in landscapes, movies are the only places to see how some Utah areas used to look.
James D'Arc is Curator of the BYU Motion Picture Archive of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections in the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University. He is author of “When Hollywood Came to Town--A History of Moviemaking in Utah,” which is out in a second edition. We’ll revisit our conversation with James D'Arc and hear clips from some of the many films made in Utah, including Better Off Dead.