Mitchell NC #199 / get running to shoot Wayne/Shahan project

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William Millet

Mitchell NC #199 / get running to shoot Wayne/Shahan project

Post by William Millet » Fri Sep 01, 2017 1:50 pm

Like most new/old Mitchell camera owners, I'd like to complete a Mitchell NC 35mm camera package serial #199 with matching parts numbers. New to this forum, I'm a bit ashamed to say that this fine camera will initially be used as prop in a documentary film on how John Wayne and Happy Shahan made "The Alamo" movie in 1958-1959 at Shahan's ranch in South Texas (now called Alamo Village, the world's largest outdoor movie set where Wayne's The Alamo movie was shot with Mitchell and modified Mitchell cameras - Todd AOs). From all available photos taken during production, it appears that Mitchell BNCR cameras were used, modified by Todd AO. Seven of these beasts were used to film the final battle of The Alamo scenes..! However, for some of the B-Unit scenes, production photos indicate that Wayne and cinematographer Bill Clothier utilized Mitchell NC 35mm cameras, again modified by Todd AO, as the Todd AO name was stenciled in white lettering on the outside of the motor, which like the NC #199 I just acquired, was not utilizing a peanut motor, but a larger rounded, blimp styled motor made by Mitchell. Data I got with the camera indicates it was an "S" motor and that camera NC #199 was an NCS 35mm camera..? Any info on that would be much appreciated. We are not filming yet another version of The Alamo movie though, just the backstory on how the movie was made with participation/approval from the Shahan family and production at Alamo Village and locations in San Antonio. This will allow us to also feature closeups of the Mitchell NC #199 35mm camera "in action" in the documentary film, with Wayne directing and Clothier shooting B-Unit scenes.

So back to the present state of the NC #199 camera: The rackover camera body, motor, etc. all appear to be working although it is currently wired for 208v. So not able to test the motor at the moment. It has 400' and 1000' Mitchell film magazines, the Matte Box and Bellows, and the original equipment trunk/case and misc. parts. It's currently mounted on a vintage Miller wooden tripod with Miller fluid head. Paint and coating patina all appear 100% original and there seems to be US Navy markings on the trunk. This has the vibe of a WWII camera, although the seller said it was later used in Hollywood productions. Mechanics look good too.

So here are the current needs for the Mitchell NC 35mm camera serial #199 in scenes to be filmed October 2017:

- Lens (or lenses): obviously Baltar or older Cooke etc with Mitchell NC mount(s) and housing. However, as indicated on this forum many times, these are very hard to find and the few listed on the Bay are all north of 1k. COULD SOMEONE PLEASE INDICATE IF THERE IS A METHOD TO ADAPT OTHER TYPES OF OLDER MANUAL FOCUS LENSES TO A MITCHELL NC 35MM CAMERA? OR AN ADAPTER, ETC? This info would be very much appreciated.

- Mitchell Matte Box Bracket Holder (the bracket that attaches to the camera body with rail rod holes) I have the Matte Box, Bracket and Bellows.

- Sidefinder for the Mitchell NC 35mm camera

Please contact me if anyone has these pieces for sale.
NC 199_b.png
nc 199_c.png

William Millet

Re: Mitchell NC #199 / get running to shoot Wayne/Shahan project

Post by William Millet » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:06 pm

Here are some some photos from the production we filmed at Alamo Village back in March of this year, with a Mauer 16mm camera as a prop. The main actor who is portraying John Wayne is Jake Thorne, from North Carolina, who is very good. Happy Shahan is portrayed by his actual son, Tully Shahan. Scenes were filmed st Alamo Village.

Of course John Wayne's cinematographer for The Alamo movie was actually director John Ford's main cinematographer, Bill Clothier, a Mitchell camera man through and through. It will be great to have a Mitchell NC 35mm camera back at Alamo Village in October, hopefully fully rigged. I really do need some help about how to mount a lens to the NC camera, specifically if there is an adapter that can accommodate other types of lenses (like Canon FD, DKL, M42, etc.). At present I'm starring down the barrel of $1200 - $1500 each for 1 Baltar or Cooke lens with NC mount... or how to dyi one.
john wayne.jpg

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