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THE HORSE WHISPERER

About The Production
Principal photography began on location in Saratoga Springs, New York, with the filming of the accident sequence which opens the story

Principal photography began on location in Saratoga Springs, New York, with the filming of the accident sequence which opens the story. The Upstate New York location was one of the few places in the region where snow still clung to the ground, yet truckloads of ice still needed to be brought in to make more snow for the tricky scenes where a truck skids around a corner, careening into two young girls on horseback.

The production also filmed in Washington County for scenes set in the MacLean country house, and at a horse farm near Ballston Spa. Since the Roosevelt Baths in Saratoga Spa State Pork were undergoing restoration, the location's temporary vacancy provided an opportunity for the production to capture scenes in the hospital where Grace is taken after the accident.

From there, the company moved to the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan for scenes in the MacLean family apartment. The Museum of the City of New York on Fifth Avenue was used as the exterior of Grace's school. Annie MacLean's office was actually the office of Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair magazine.

The majority of the story takes place in the West, and the selection of the location for the fictitious Double Divide Ranch was one of the most crucial decisions for the filmmakers to make. Producers Robert Redford and Patrick Markey knew the Montana area well from their production of "A River Runs Through It." The nature of the area supports both some of the finest trout fishing in the country, and at the same time, acres of horse and cattle ranches.

"Montana serendipitously ended up being the location that we chose after a very extensive search," says Patrick Markey. "We looked at three hundred ranches around the West, continuing to narrow it down until we chose the ranch owned by Keith and Marie Engle. Obviously, the spectacular landscapes of Montana offer visual elements that can't be denied, or compared."

Markey, who has had a home in the Livingston area for several years, has taken time to learn just such an appreciation. There are places in the Rockies that are more post card beautiful," Markey says. "When you see them, it's very apparent why people would go there. Montana presents itself in a different way. Its beauty is actually deeper than that. There is such a ruggedness to it and a humbling power to its beauty. You just have to be in it for a bit to understand."

The principal location chosen was the working cattle ranch of the Engle family which is located about an hour from Livingston, Montana, where the cast and crew were based. While the daily life of the ranch continued throughout production, each day it seemed as though a small occupying army moved in with trucks, lights, trailers, a large catering tent, and a lot of city folk unfamiliar yet fascinated by the way of life they saw unfolding around them.

'With today's filmmaking technology, there are all kinds of ways you can make anything look good with filters and optical treatments and so forth," says Robert Redford, discussing his approach to the cinematography with director of photography Robert Richardson, A.S.C. "The truth is that the real West is pretty powerful and quite beautiful just the way it is. I was more interested in trying to show it in a way that would make you feel it changing, to let the clouds come and go and color a scene accordingly."

"The visual style of the film played a huge role in the making of 'The Horse Whisperer,

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