An expert for the East Machias publication Lighthouse Digest solved the mystery surrounding the location of a lighthouse shown in 1919 silent movie “Out Yonder.”

“The lighthouse isn’t a real one,” Debra Baldwin said.

A still from “Out Yonder,” a 1919 movie shot on the coast of Maine, which shows a lighthouse that film buffs have not yet identified.

The filmmakers constructed a fake Maine lighthouse for use in the film — and put in on the rocky shores of the Hudson River in Cliffside, New Jersey, on the shore opposite Columbia University and Grant’s Tomb.

A wire story that appeared in several newspapers mentioned that “New Yorkers living in the neighborhood of 110th Street and Riverside Drive, or those passing that way, took an added squint across the Hudson recently, for as if overnight, there had been erected on the Jersey shore a large lighthouse.”

The 55-foot lighthouse with a revolving lantern provides key scenery for the silent film starring Olive Thomas that is among the movies slated for screening at this coming weekend’s Silent Film Festival at the historic Colonial Theater in Augusta.

The film was shot in Maine and along the New England coast, news stories from the time said.


But the New Jersey location slipped in after producers “searched the New England and New Jersey coast from end to end” without finding a lighthouse that fit the needs of the story, according to an October 1919 account in the News-Journal of Mansfield, Ohio.

A still taken from the 1919 movie “Out Yonder” filmed in part on the Maine coast. This shows part of the temporary lighthouse erected in New Jersey by the filmmakers for some critical scenes.

But sometimes real lighthouses made the cut, Baldwin said.

She said “Los Angeles Harbor Lighthouse appears in several films and Point Fermin Light was another designated film location” in California.

Maine hasn’t been shut out of the movies, though.

“Maine lighthouses have been used upon occasion as a location through the decades, the most notable being Marshall Point Light for Forrest Gump,” Baldwin said.

The Silent Film Festival takes place Friday and Sunday in Augusta. For details, check out the Colonial’s website or phone (207) 620-6029.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: