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Principal photography began in 1998. The sequences on both Artemus Gordon's and Dr. Loveless' trains interiors were shot on sets at Warner Bros. The train exteriors were shot in Idaho on the Camas Prairie Railroad.


The Wanderer is portrayed by the Baltimore & Ohio 4-4-0 No. 25, one of the oldest operating steam locomotives in the U.S. Built in 1856 at the Mason Machine Works in Taunton, Massachusetts, it was later renamed The "William Mason" in honor of its manufacturer.


During pre-production the engine was sent to the steam shops at the Strasburg Railroad for restoration and repainting. The locomotive is brought out for the B&O Train Museum in Baltimore's "Steam Days".


The "William Mason" and the "Inyo", which was the locomotive used in the original television series, both appeared in the Disney film The Great Locomotive Chase (1956). Much of the 'Wild West' footage was shot around Santa Fe, New Mexico, particularly at the western town set at the Cooke Movie Ranch.


During the shooting of a sequence involving stunts and pyrotechnics, a planned building fire grew out of control and quickly overwhelmed the local fire crews that were standing by. Much of the town was destroyed before the fire was contained.


The theatrical film was released for summer 1999. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, the film (without the definite article used in the series title) made substantial changes to the characters of the series, re-imagining James West as an African-American (played by Will Smith), which included, to a small degree, some of the racial issues that certainly would have made it difficult for a black man to be a United States secret service agent in the late 19th century.


However, at the end of "The Night of the Returning Dead", West and Gordon did invite an African-American character played by guest star Sammy Davis, Jr. to join the department. The film bears significant resemblance to the Batman: The Animated Series 1995 episode "Showdown" featuring Jonah Hex.


In 1997, writer Gilbert Ralston sued Warner Bros. over the upcoming motion picture based on the series. Ralston helped create the original The Wild Wild West television series, and scripted the pilot episode, "The Night of the Inferno".


In a deposition, Ralston explained that in 1964 he was approached by producer Michael Garrison who '"said he had an idea for a series, good commercial idea, and wanted to know if I could glue the idea of a western hero and a James Bond type together in the same show."


Ralston said he then created the Civil War characters, the format, the story outline and nine drafts of the script that was the basis for the television series. It was his idea, for example, to have a secret agent named Jim West who would perform secret missions for a bumbling Ulysses S. Grant.

Ralston's experience brought to light a common Hollywood practice of the 1950s and 1960s when television writers who helped create popular series allowed producers or studios to take credit for a show, thus cheating the writers out of millions of dollars in royalties.

Ralston died in 1999, before his suit was settled. Warner Brothers ended up paying his family between $600,000 and $1.5 million.




Resources: Wikipedia.org, imdb.com





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Wild Wild West 1999 - Plot & Screenshots


McGrath responds like a dog until the wheels begin to fail and his hypnosis is broken. At that moment, West bursts in through the window and punches McGrath, who falls stunned to the floor.


West tries to dismiss Gordon, saying he's going to execute McGrath. McGrath wakes up and charges West, knocking them through the wall and into the next room. McGrath then runs out of the room, joining his men carrying the bundle.


West and Gordon get in each other's way trying to apprehend McGrath, so McGrath and his men escape with the scientist. West identifies himself as with the U.S. Army, while Gordon identifies himself as a U.S. Marshal.


While West and Gordon argue about who has the authority to arrest McGrath, in a nearby carriage, Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh) watches the scene, while his assistant, Miss Lippenrieder (Sofia Eng), reads their lips.


Loveless releases the wagon carrying the nitro, letting it roll down the hill, directly into the saloon, where it explodes.


West rides to the White House a few days later and meets with President Ulysses S. Grant (Gordon in disguise) in the Oval Office. West reports that his efforts to arrest McGrath were thwarted by another agent, Gordon.


Grant begins to praise the talents of Gordon when West draws his revolver and points it at him, calling him an impostor. Gordon insists that he is the president and West shoots at the ceiling of the room.


Gordon admits that he'd been posing as Grant; West tells him that he noticed Gordon's Harvard class ring, which should have been a West Point emblem.


The real Grant (also Kevin Kline) enters the office and tells the two they'll be working together on a new mission for him.


Grant shows them his intelligence room, where he states that the nation's top scientists in physics, hydraulics, and explosives have been kidnapped by McGrath, and that West and Gordon have been working on the same case.


Grant shows them a note that tells them that an unidentified despot is using the kidnapped scientists to develop a new weapons system far more advanced than any in existence. The conditions are the surrender of the United States government within one week.


The note came with a cake of the White House infested with tarantulas, apparently from McGrath. Grant gives West and Gordon one week to track down the mysterious enemy.



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