Directed by studio co-founder (and my uncle) Simeon Manka
and finished only weeks before his bizarre death on Hollywood Blvd. in 1958 (wearing only a sandwich board advertisement for 'Benny's World Of Beef'
), 'The Dark Angel Of Alder Gulch'
was a doomed project from the beginning.
Shot over the course of 17 years(!)
on location in Alder Gulch, Montana,
the film was originally slated to star John Wayne
and be directed by King Vidor in 1941
on the Manka Bros. backlot
. How the film fell under Uncle Simeon's control and become his only obsession is still unknown to this day.
The film featured rising star Art Finnegan
and Morley Van Johnson (in 1941!)
but their stars soon faded as the shoot dragged on and on and Uncle Simeon
wouldn't allow them to appear in any other projects until his film was finished.