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Bank of Bisbee: 1940

Bank of Bisbee: 1940

        The Bank of Bisbee had a starring role in "Violent Saturday," a 1955 film noir shot on location with Bisbee recast as "Bradenville," and Ernest Borgnine somewhat improbably playing an Amish farmer whose family is held hostage by bank robbers.

May 1940. "Bank in copper mining center of Bisbee, Arizona." Medium format negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Bisbee: Another Violent Starring Role

Bisbee was the site of real-life violence in 1917. It is the subject of a newly released movie, "Bisbee '17".

"Radically combining collaborative documentary, western and musical elements, the film follows several members of the close knit community as they attempt to reckon with their town's darkest hour. In 1917, nearly two-thousand immigrant miners, on strike for better wages and safer working conditions, were violently rounded up by their armed neighbors, herded onto cattle cars, shipped to the middle of the New Mexican desert and left there to die. This long-buried and largely forgotten event came to be known as the Bisbee Deportation." Quoted from Rotten Tomatoes, where the movie gets a 94% approval rating.

Faux Stone Painters

There was great scene shop work on the Bank of Bradenville sign. I had to go back to notice how they covered up the Bank of Bisbee lettering. It was probably just plywood painted to look like stone. I understand that for much of the fist half of the Twentieth Century, people who could do that were in great demand. The classic example was all the temporary buildings at world's fair sites.

Violent Bisbee

Still frame from "Violent Saturday." Note the start of "Bisbee" on the old Coca-Cola sign on the side of the building above the Studebaker. Click to enlarge.

The Name's Changed

The rest remains the same. In fact, of all the towns featured on Shorpy, Bisbee seems to be the one that has changed the least.

[Indeed. Although last time I was in Bisbee, it was a Bank of America. - Dave]

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