"Painted House" filming closes

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Filming of John Grisham's "A Painted House" has drawn to a close at the Clarkdale set, where the fictitious Chandler family lived, and the end is near for completion of the made-for-television drama.

Cameras, props and equipment have been removed from the Chandler homestead, and the set is now open to the public. The McGee Street Productions crew moved on to other locations in and around Lepanto last week in order to complete the Hallmark Hall Of Fame movie, which is set in the 1950's.

Filming at the fictitious Latcher home was done at a farm house, located off Highway 77 south of Bondsville, on the H.C. Bradford farm. The Latcher house was a four-room bungalow with a small front porch on the west side. This farm house was papered inside with old newspapers on the walls, to make it look older than it was. The character of teenager Libby Latcher gave birth in the front bedroom as young Luke Chandler and Tally Spruill sneaked a peak through the side window.

The Latcher children attacked young Chandler on the front lawn of the house, as he and his mother delivered food and supplies to the impoverished family.

The large garden grown by Luke's mother, and the countless jars of fruit and vegetables put up for the winter, ended up being the Latcher family's salvation, as they later took refuge at the Chandler homestead after floodwaters drove them from their home. Luke's mother and grandmother had lined the walls in their home pantry with the food, which was used to feed the families through the long winter months. The Chandlers provided a room in the loft of their barn, where Mexicans had lived while picking cotton for them. Makeshift beds, tables and a stove were provided for Latcher living quarters, as they waited for the high water to go down.

As filming at the Latcher house was finished, the set location was moved to the Mount Olive M.B. Church, east of Clarkdale near the Mississippi River. Scenes taken at this historic church were used to represent services and events at the Black Oak Baptist Church. The entrance of the church was where the policeman confronted the Chandlers about their hired-hand Hank Spruill killing one of the Sisco brothers in an alley in downtown Black Oak.

An offshoot of the Mississippi River flows on the east side of the church, and this stream was used to film Tally Spruill's bathing scene. A large tank was submerged in the cold water, in which warm water was pumped to keep the actress from feeling the effects of the frigid water in the stream.

In a scene from the book, young Luke Chandler hid in the tall grass near the stream watching Tally bathe. In reality the movie actress was fully clothed in a body suit for the filming.

The final setting is being filmed on the streets of downtown Lepanto, where the entire town has been transformed to look like it would have looked in 1952. Old antique cars lined the street, as leading actors and background actors (extras) took their places.

Filming resumed on Monday, at 5:45 a.m. sharp, as the final scenes in the epic "A Painted House" came to a close.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: