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September 24, 2010 / Stephen Slaughter Head

Concerning: A Rare Photo of the Camera Crew Filming Robert Redford’s ‘Ordinary People’

Just for fun, here’s a blast from the past: a Polaroid I took 31 years ago in December of 1979. It might not look like much, just some guys standing around. But it’s sort of a small piece of film history. It’s Robert Redford’s camera crew filming “Ordinary People” in Lake Forest, IL, at the intersection of Sheridan & Deerpath roads. Who’d have thought they were filming Oscar’s Best Picture for 1980.

The First Presbyterian church behind them appears in film’s opening credits. The kid in the photo, behind the fella with his arms clasped behind his back, is my friend Doug Winston.

What they’re filming in the above photo, if I recall correctly, is a pick-up shot of Timothy Hutton’s photo double walking down the sidewalk, along Deerpath Road — And if I can dig up a photo of that, well … I’d be most lucky.  Most lucky indeed.

Now referring, if you will, to the below video of the film’s opening credits. The shot filmed during this series of camera set-ups (and the crew did use this location on a couple different days during principal photography) appears at 1:11 into the clip.  When watching, press pause and note the triangular walkways in front of the church – It’s a little hard to discern, but this can give you an idea as to the placement of the camera in the above photo in relation to the actual shot that appears in the film.

And here, simply enough, you’ve gotta love the guitar at 1:12.

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