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Blue Earth and Elmer Knudsen star in ‘Days Before Belvedere’

By Staff | Sep 20, 2010

Perhaps you remember a story in the Oct. 14, 2006, Faribault County Register about a film crew in Blue Earth.

Maybe you were somehow involved in the production. A few local folks were actually in the movie, and others helped out in various ways – including local car clubs who furnished vintage cars from the 1950s.

Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shelly Greimann helped arrange for the production to be shot in Blue Earth.

She remembers how the director and producer contacted her about filming here.

“They had seen our virtual tour of Blue Earth on our website and thought downtown Blue Earth had the ‘right look’ for their movie,” Greimann says. “St. Peter was their first choice, but they turned them down.”

Greimann says she helped arrange for the cars, scene setup, food and so many other details she once was listed as a co-producer on the film.

The director, Troy McCall, told Greimann he would ship her a copy of the finished film.

That never happened, and she eventually lost track of the movie maker.

Until recently.

Greimann’s daughter, MacKenzie, an actress living in New York, happened to run into an independent film producer, Rachel Morgan. Morgan noticed that MacKenzie had grown up in Blue Earth, and told her she had once been in Blue Earth – because she was involved with the 2006 film production.

MacKenzie informed her mother of the meeting, and Greimann was able to get a copy of the movie from Morgan.

On Tuesday, Greimann showed the movie at the Blue Earth Kiwanis meeting.

The 20-minute film short, entitled “Days Before Belvedere,” is loosely based on a Johnny Cash song called “Give My Love To Rose.” It is set in the Midwest in 1957.

The plot concerns a moral dilemma for a man, Luther, who has lost his job, has a pregnant wife, and is past due on his mortgage payments.

In fact, the banker is ready to foreclose.

Luther walks the railroad tracks to town and finds a dying man with a paper sack full of money.

The man wants Luther to deliver the money to his (the dying man’s) wife. Luther, of course, needs the money himself, to bring his mortgage payments up to date – that very afternoon.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, in case you ever have a chance to see it.

Ah, heck with it. He does the right thing and gives the money to the man’s wife.

Now you know.

There are local folks featured prominently in the film.

One of those is Elmer Knudsen. He portrays a small town grocery store owner (type casting you think?) who gets paid a dollar from Luther on his past due account.

Then they discuss the weather. It is the one and only humorous bit in the rather dark film.

Knudsen was tabbed for the part by the director and producer when they spotted him coming out of church in Blue Earth.

They were looking for an older man to play the part of the grocer, and thought Elmer had the perfect look.

Then, ironically, they found out he actually was a retired grocery store owner.

It was not Knudsen’s first foray into the world of being a movie star.

He has also had a part in a full-length film entitled, “Tuesday Morning Coffee,” filmed in Delavan.

That film has never been completed, as far as Greimann knows.

Greimann says Blue Earth is listed on the state website as a potential location for film companies to use for their move-making.

And, Greimann is the contact person for parts of southern Minnesota for the Minnesota Film and TV Board. They are the commission dedicated to creating jobs and economic growth by promoting and supporting filming in the state.

As far as “Days Before Belvedere” is concerned, it was probably shown at some film festivals, but never purchased to be made into a full length film.

The 20-minute short cost $30,000 to produce, so a longer version needs some serious financial backing.

For now, Elmer Knudsen will have to wait for that call from the Academy Awards nomination committee.