Cast & Crew
In 1810, as the defeated Spanish Army retreats before Napoleon's advancing forces, they leave behind a massive artillery cannon. In order to keep the cannon away from the enemy, the soldiers push it over a ravine, where it languishes until British naval captain Anthony Trumbell arrives in Spain to claim it. The Spanish general with whom the British arranged to take possession of the cannon has fled, however, and only the Spanish guerrilleros, as the peasant guerrilla fighters are known, remain. Miguel, the group's leader, informs the conservative Trumbell that he is the only authority left in town, and takes Trumbell to see the cannon, which is forty-two feet in length and weighs seven tons. Despite Trumbell's prior claim on the gun, Miguel insists that first he will take it to his hometown of Avila to liberate the town from the French. Desperate, Trumbell agrees to help the guerrilleros raise the huge weapon from the ravine. Because Trumbell is the only one who knows how to fire the cannon, Miguel is forced to allow him to accompany them, despite his irritation at the Englishman's imperiousness. Another source of contention between the two men is Miguel's voluptuous mistress, Juana, to whom Trumbell is attracted. The 1,000 kilometer journey begins, with 200 peasants accompanying the guerrilleros to help move the huge gun. One evening, the group engages in a brief fiesta, during which Miguel grows jealous of Juana's interest in Trumbell, although she asserts that she is free to do as she wishes. In Avila, French general Henri Jouvet orders that ten Spanish citizens be hanged every day until the location of the gun is revealed. Meanwhile, the guerrilleros' arduous journey has continued until they reach a large river that must be crossed. Trumbell designs a raft and launch for the cannon, but halfway across, the guide ropes break and the gun is swept downstream into the rapids. After it crashes into some rocks, Trumbell inspects the weapon and although it is intact, he is infuriated that they will need at least two thousand people to free it from the mud. Miguel storms into a nearby bullfighting stadium, where the French soldiers are surrounded by his men. Miguel then chastises the Spanish audience for sitting with their occupiers, and dares those who still feel national pride to help him. After the gun is freed from the mire, the march continues until the guerrilleros come across a French camp. Although the French soldiers outnumber them, it would take an additional three weeks to circumvent the camp, which Miguel refuses to do, despite Trumbell's pleas for reason. The two men argue and Trumbell declares that he wants no part of Miguel's fatalistic insistence on attacking the camp. When Juana challenges Trumbell, however, stating that she knows he wants to act "more like a man than a cold piece of English mutton," he joins the fight, leading a group of men who steal the French gunpowder. After their triumph, Trumbell is disgusted when Miguel orders the deaths of two captive French soldiers whom they are interrogating, and Miguel gruffly tells him to leave. Juana pleads with the Englishman, however, telling him that Miguel needs him. Juana explains that when she lived in Avila, Jouvet desired her and threatened to kill her father and brother if she did not submit to him. Although she complied, Jouvet killed her relatives anyway, after which she fled to the hills. There, she lived without purpose until she met Miguel, who has inspired hundreds of guerrilleros to follow him despite his stubbornness. Trumbell calls Juana cheap for remaining with Miguel when she does not love him, but then kisses her. After Juana reveals that she has already apologized to Miguel for him, Trumbell agrees to continue for her sake. At the next camp, the guerrilleros raid a village and take its food and supplies, despite the villagers' pleas to be left some food. Infuriated by Trumbell's subsequent interference, Miguel allows his second-in-command, Carlos, to challenge Trumbell to a knife fight. Juana tries to intervene but Miguel asserts that he will only allow Carlos to kill Trumbell "a little." When Carlos goes after the Englishman with great ferocity, however, Trumbell defends himself and kills Carlos, much to his horror. After the guerrilleros then learn that a large company of French infantry is headed their way, Trumbell and Jose, a young fighter, volunteer to blow up the bridge over which the French must cross. Jose is killed during the dangerous assignment, although he and Trumbell succeed in blowing up the bridge and wiping out the entire company. Later that day, Juana succumbs to her passion for Trumbell, and after their rendezvous, he assures her that they will have a happy life together. When she returns to camp, Juana is gently confronted by Miguel, who states that he can only give her Avila, then leaves a pair of sandals that he made for her. In Avila, Jouvet is furious to learn about the loss of the company, although he now knows that the guerrilleros will have to traverse a narrow mountain pass. As Jouvet plans an ambush, Miguel and Trumbell attempt to placate the peasants who are refusing to accompany them through the pass. Without their help to pull the gun, the guerrilleros will be in jeopardy, but Miguel insists on continuing, and they begin their march with the wheels and mules' hooves muffled to prevent revealing their location to the French. The enemy soon locates them, however, and begins firing. Hearing the shots, the reluctant peasants rally to the guerrilleros and succeed in pulling the gun to safety. Miguel avoids roadblocks by marching through the hills, but after the gun is pulled up one steep hill, Trumbell points out that it will gain weight going downhill and they will not be able to control it. Miguel again refuses to listen to the Englishman, and as a result, the gun goes careening out of control and is damaged. Needing a safe place to repair it, Miguel, Trumbell and Juana go to a nearby town, where Miguel pleads with the local bishop to allow them to hide the gun in the cathedral. The bishop loftily refuses until Trumbell reprimands him, reminding him how desperately the peasants are working to free Spain. Juana is touched by his words, as she believes that he has finally begun to appreciate their cause. The bishop agrees to let the guerrilleros use the cathedral, and the gun is repaired, then snuck out again during the Holy Week processions without attracting the attention of the watching French soldiers. Soon after, the group comes within sight of Avila, and the night before their attack, Trumbell explains to the ten thousand assembled peasants that although he will be able to breach a hole in the fortified walls with the cannon, at least half of them will be killed by the French guns before they can reach the city. Alone with Juana, Trumbell makes her promise that she will stay with him by the gun where she will be safe, then prepares the gun for the siege. As Juana walks through the camp, however, she changes her mind and tells Trumbell that she must fight alongside Miguel and her people, despite her love for him. The next morning, the siege of Avila begins, and with the huge cannon, Trumbell is able to blast a hole through the fortress walls. The guerrilleros and peasants then rush through the open fields, and although many of them are slaughtered, enough reach the wall to defeat the French and retake the town. Juana is struck down during the fight, and after the battle, Trumbell finds her as she lays dying. With her last breath, she declares her love for him, after which he finds Miguel's body just outside the city wall. Determined to fulfill the brave peasant's desire to reach the statue of Saint Teresa, Trumbell carries Miguel into Avila and lays him at the feet of the statue. The Englishman then departs Avila with a large contingent of peasants pulling the gun behind him.
Philip Van Zandt
Paco El Laberinto
Felix De Pomes
Nana De Herrera
Carlos De Mendoza
Lt. Col. Luis Cano
Joseph De Bretagne
Grazzia De Rossi
Carter Dehaven Jr.
Jose Ma Ochoa
José Ma Sánchez
The Pride and the Passion
Based on The Gun, C.S. Forester's 1933 novel, The Pride and the Passion (1957) is a film epic of monumental proportions which is remembered by film historians and moviegoers for all the wrong reasons. Director/Producer Stanley Kramer has referred to it as his most difficult and disappointing experience and in his autobiography, A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Harcourt, Brace & Co.), he provides some fascinating details about the troubled production from the beginning.
To get permission to film in Spain, Kramer had to meet with the Spanish dictator, Franco, a former ally of Hitler and Mussolini, despite strong anti-fascist sentiment within the Hollywood community. The casting was more problematic. Kramer originally wanted Cary Grant, Marlon Brando, and Ava Gardner for the three key roles but after Brando rejected the script, Kramer offered the role to Frank Sinatra. Since Sinatra was estranged from his wife at the time, Ava Gardner, it was decided her role should go to Gina Lollobrigida but she was already committed to Trapeze (1956) with Burt Lancaster. Carlo Ponti then stepped in and convinced Kramer to cast his "discovery", Sophia Loren, as Juana, the paramour of guerrilla leader, Miguel (played by Sinatra). Grant immediately voiced his objections, saying to Kramer, "My God! You want me to play with this Sophie somebody, a cheesecake thing? Well, I can't and I won't." He had a point. It would be Loren's first film in English and she could hardly speak the language.
Once Grant met Loren, his opinion changed drastically and he soon found himself falling in love with her on the set, despite the fact that he was married to Betsy Drake or that Loren was romantically linked with Carlo Ponti. Frank Sinatra was initially interested in Loren himself but became antagonistic toward her when it became clear she favored Grant's company. He would taunt her with remarks like "You'll get yours, Sophia" to which she eventually responded, "But not from you, Spaghetti Head." Meanwhile, relations between the married screenwriting team of Edna and Edward Anhalt reached a breaking point and they refused to work together, forcing Kramer to act as intermediary.
If tensions on the set weren't bad enough, the physical aspects of production were even more challenging. Recruiting a huge cast of Spanish extras and dressing them in nineteenth-century costumes was easier than directing them in crowd scenes where some of them would wave at the camera in case their relatives saw the movie. The real star of the film, the gigantic cannon (there were three different models used in the film), was extremely difficult to maneuver over the rough terrain, complete with explosions in the battle scenes, and presented a threat to the safety of the cast and crew. Loren, who insisted on doing the charge to the wall in the final assault sequence, came very close to sustaining injuries from a nearby explosive device. Further complicating matters, Sinatra returned to the U.S. on personal business before completing his filming and Kramer had to remedy the situation with a stand-in, scene rewrites, and some clever editing.
Considering all the problems surrounding The Pride and the Passion, it's no surprise it was not a critical or financial success. Nevertheless, once seen, it's hard to forget Loren's low-cut peasant blouses and tight skirts or Sinatra's peculiar Spanish accent. But, more importantly, the film really does feature some truly spectacular action sequences which are beautifully shot by Franz Planer; the night sequence where the peasants attack a French encampment with flaming balls of pitch, a massive religious ceremony in the famous basilica at Escorial, and the climatic destruction of the wall at Avila.
Director/Producer: Stanley Kramer
Screenplay: Edna & Edward Anhalt, Earl Felton (uncredited), based on the novel 'The Gun' by C.S. Forester
Cinematography: Franz Planer
Editor: Ellsworth Hoagland, Frederic Knudtson
Art Direction: Fernando Carrere, Gil Parrondo
Music: George Antheil
Cast: Cary Grant (Anthony), Frank Sinatra (Miguel), Sophia Loren (Juana), Theodore Bikel (General Jouvet), John Wengraf (Germaine).
by Jeff Stafford
The Pride and the Passion
TCM Remembers - Stanley Kramer
With these films, Stanley Kramer built his reputation as a producer of important films. He made movies with a conscience, movies with a message. Although his films were sometimes criticized as being too simplistic in dealing with tough subjects, Kramer still deserves a great deal of credit for tackling sensitive subject matter no other director or studio wanted to address. His exploration of timely social issues is what makes his cinema unique and his recent passing leaves us with no one to fill his shoes.
Kramer learned his craft within Hollywood's studio system. He began as a production assistant on So Ends Our Night(1941) and was soon writing and editing. By the late forties, Kramer broke away from the studio hierarchy and formed an independent production company. Outside of the Hollywood system, he could tackle social issues head-on while producing well-crafted and meaningful dramas. In The New York Times obituary for Kramer, the director was quoted in accessing his own career and it's most appropriate here: "I decided that somewhere between the films on outer space and Sylvester Stallone, there is a place for me. I was always associated with films that had an opinion. I don't believe films change anyone's mind, but I was spawned during the Roosevelt era, a time of great change, and I still believe in trying to get people to think."
For his directorial debut, Not As A Stranger (1955), Kramer signed up the all-star cast of Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra, Olivia de Havilland and Gloria Grahame to reveal the trials and tribulations of doctors and nurses balancing medical school with their personal relationships. In The Defiant Ones (1958) shackled Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier together as escaped convicts. As they flee the law they're forced to confront each other's racism and ultimately discover that beneath their skin color, they are not so different. On the Beach (1959) was Kramer's anti-atom bomb polemic in which Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Anthony Perkins and Fred Astaire survive an initial nuclear holocaust only to face a slow, painful death from fallout.
From the arms race to Biblical scripture, the following year Kramer turned his attention to the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925 in Inherit the Wind(1960). This famous courtroom trial was a true-life clash of the titans as Fredric March and Spencer Tracy face off on the issue of Evolution versus Creationism. Although names are changed, March gave a grandstanding performance as William Jennings Bryan, the mouthpiece for conservatism, while Tracy played Clarence Darrow, a tireless fighter for progressive thought.
Kramer's films were more than just entertainment; his stories were political platforms for the Civil Rights Movement, disarmament and liberal thinking. For audiences who thought the director couldn't take on an issue greater than the Scopes Monkey Trial, Kramer's next film would prove to be even more controversial. Again, Kramer booked a cast of Hollywood's hottest names to bring mass appeal to his very serious film.
In Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) Spencer Tracy presides over a German war-criminal trial which delves into the atrocities of the Nazi regime. Burt Lancaster sits smugly on the stand as Ernst Janning, an unrepentant officer of the Gestapo, as Maximilian Schell mounts his defense. Montgomery Clift, as a Jew subjected to a sterilization experiment, nervously submits his testimony. Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich each take the stand. Hollywood's greatest stars came out to shed light on one of the darkest moments of the 20th century. The Academy responded with 11 nominations, including for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Tracy), Supporting Actor (Clift), Supporting Actress (Garland), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography and Editing. Schell won Best Actor for his dynamic performance as Herr Rolfe.
However, Stanley Kramer wasn't "Mr. Message Film" all the time. In a lighter moment, he produced the surrealist anti-fascist fantasy, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T(1953) in which he enlisted the talents of Dr. Seuss. More famously, he pooled the greatest comics together for an insane Cinerama screwball farce - It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963).
By Jeremy Geltzer & Jeff Stafford
TCM Remembers - Stanley Kramer
The onscreen credit for Edna and Edward Anhalt reads: "Screen story and Screenplay by Edna and Edward Anhalt." The film's closing cast credits end with the statement "And the Spanish peoples in the tens of thousands who made possible this motion picture." The picture deviates sharply from the C. S. Forester novel on which it is based. There are no prominent female or British characters in the novel, and the character of "Miguel" in the film is a compilation of the several guerrillero leaders who take possession of the gun throughout the course of the book. In the novel, the gun, while it does eventually aid the downfall of the French through forcing the dispersal of their troops, is not used against a major city such as Avila and is destroyed in battle. In the book, the gun, an "eighteen pounder," is thirteen feet long, two feet in diameter at the breech and weighs three tons. In the film, the gun is described as being forty-two feet long and weighing seven tons, with its cannonballs weighing ninety-six pounds each instead of eighteen.
According to the pressbook, one gun and five "stand-ins" were constructed for the film, with each having a barrel length of twenty-five feet. The gun was created by production designer Rudolph Sternad, and according to a July 1956 Los Angeles Times article and other contemporary sources, he steeped himself in Napoleonic era history and studied ordnance "of the period in Madrid's Ejercito Museum." Due to the guns' weight and the difficulty in setting them up for filming, one or more would be used for that day's shooting while the others were moved ahead to the next location sites. Twenty-five grips were in charge of dismantling, moving and reassembling the guns, according to the pressbook. A January 1956 Los Angeles Times article reported that the six guns were made out of "plaster, balsa wood and other materials, according to the punishment each must take in different sequences." The Time review, however, stated that the guns were cast in "nonflammable plastic" from a "giant mold" constructed based on Sternad's designs.
According to modern sources, Ava Gardner, who was married to Frank Sinatra at the time of production, was initially considered for the role of "Juana," but she was already committed to the 1957 M-G-M release The Little Hut. In July 1955, New York Times announced that producer-director Stanley Kramer was "thinking fondly" of casting either Marlon Brando or Humphrey Bogart as Miguel. The Pride and the Passion marked Sophia Loren's first appearance in an English-language film. In her autobiography, Loren credited dialogue supervisor Anne Kramer, who was the then-wife of director Kramer, with helping her to learn English and practice her lines every night. According to a September 12, 1957 item in Hollywood Reporter's "Rambling Reporter" column, Cary Grant was to receive ten percent of the film's gross. The picture marked the last collaboration of married writers Edward and Edna Anhalt. The Anhalts had written a number of successful screenplays, including the Oscar-winning 1950 Twentieth Century-Fox film Panic in the Streets, but were divorced in 1956 (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 for more information about Panic in the Streets).
Although the film's pressbook asserts that The Pride and the Passion was shot entirely on location in Spain, Hollywood Reporter news items reveal that while the majority of the picture was shot in Spain, ten days of filming took place on the Universal Studios lot in late January-early February 1957. According to Kramer's autobiography, the additional shooting was necessary because of Sinatra's sudden departure from Spain before the completion of scenes featuring him. The pressbook and contemporary articles include the ancient Monasterio de San Lorenzo del Escorial, Avila, Segovia, Vejer, Granada, Sevilla, Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, La Mancha, Torrelaguna, Hoyo de Manzanares, Robledo and the Ebro River in the twenty-five location sites used. The pressbook also reports that Kramer spent a full year scouting locations before actual filming began. In his autobiography, Kramer noted that he had to obtain the permission of Spanish dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco in order to film the picture in Spain, and in July 1957, the Time review reported that Kramer had "enlisted the services of Dictator Franco's army and thousands of Spanish extras."
Contemporary sources reported the number of extras used as between five and ten thousand, and that the film's final budget was approximately $4,000,000. The July 1956 Los Angeles Times article relayed that the sequence in which the gun is used to smash the wall at Avila had to be filmed twice because "dynamite charges planted in the stone walls failed to breach it the first time." According to Saturday Review (of Literature), the filmmakers "built a wall in front of the walls of Avila so that it wouldn't be necessary to knock down the real one." A modern source adds that the fake wall was constructed of cork. Modern sources include Bernabe Barta Berri, Xan das Bolas and Alfonso Suárez in the cast.
Kramer received a nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures from the Directors Guild of America for his work on the picture. Although the film garnered mostly positive reviews, it was not a success at the box office, and in his autobiography, Kramer called the making of The Pride and the Passion "one of the most difficult and disappointing experiences" in his career. Kramer blamed the failure of the film on the miscasting and lack of chemistry between the three stars; the difficulty of meshing the story of the gun with the romantic triangle; and his own inability "to see in advance how perilous it was to make a film in which the hero was a thing rather than a human being."
Released in United States Summer July 1957
Released in United States Summer July 1957