Twilight of Honor (1963)

104 mins | Drama | 23 October 1963

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HISTORY

The 21 Feb 1962 Var announced that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (MGM) purchased motion picture rights for Al Dewlin's 1961 novel, Twilight of Honor, winner of the McGraw-Hill Fiction Award. As stated in the 7 Sep 1962 LAT, Nick Adams was among the first actors to join the cast. Robert Walker, Jr., was also under consideration, according to the 29 Nov 1962 LAT. However, the lead role ultimately went to Richard Chamberlain, who had recently risen to fame in the television series, Dr. Kildare (NBC, 28 Sep 1961 - 30 Aug 1966). Producer William Perlberg told the 16 Jan 1963 Var that Chamberlain was an excellent prospect, as his fan mail rivaled that of Clark Gable decades earlier. Perlberg added that Chamberlain would save the studio money by accepting a flat salary with no share in profits. Although the 8 Feb 1963 DV claimed that Ann-Margret was to play the female lead, the film became the screen debut for stage and television actress Joey Heatherton. According to the 1 Mar 1963 issue, veteran character actor Ed Begley was assigned an unspecified role. Other castings included Scott Seaton (7 May 1963 DV), and Karen Conrad and Lee Anthony (14 May 1963 DV).
       A 12 Apr 1963 DV news item stated that Joey Heatherton was due to arrive the next day at MGM Studios in Culver City, CA. Principal photography began 30 Apr 1963, according to 3 May 1963 DV production charts. The 30 Apr 1963 edition noted that MGM was ... More Less

The 21 Feb 1962 Var announced that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (MGM) purchased motion picture rights for Al Dewlin's 1961 novel, Twilight of Honor, winner of the McGraw-Hill Fiction Award. As stated in the 7 Sep 1962 LAT, Nick Adams was among the first actors to join the cast. Robert Walker, Jr., was also under consideration, according to the 29 Nov 1962 LAT. However, the lead role ultimately went to Richard Chamberlain, who had recently risen to fame in the television series, Dr. Kildare (NBC, 28 Sep 1961 - 30 Aug 1966). Producer William Perlberg told the 16 Jan 1963 Var that Chamberlain was an excellent prospect, as his fan mail rivaled that of Clark Gable decades earlier. Perlberg added that Chamberlain would save the studio money by accepting a flat salary with no share in profits. Although the 8 Feb 1963 DV claimed that Ann-Margret was to play the female lead, the film became the screen debut for stage and television actress Joey Heatherton. According to the 1 Mar 1963 issue, veteran character actor Ed Begley was assigned an unspecified role. Other castings included Scott Seaton (7 May 1963 DV), and Karen Conrad and Lee Anthony (14 May 1963 DV).
       A 12 Apr 1963 DV news item stated that Joey Heatherton was due to arrive the next day at MGM Studios in Culver City, CA. Principal photography began 30 Apr 1963, according to 3 May 1963 DV production charts. The 30 Apr 1963 edition noted that MGM was releasing still photographs of Heatherton, who struck poses to emphasize her resemblance to the late Marilyn Monroe. Four days earlier, DV reported plans to darken Chamberlain's hair to suit his character. However, Perlberg abandoned the idea, then claimed he was seeking a new title for the film. On 6 May 1963, DV announced the provisional title as " Section 12-24, which was to be described in a title card as "justifiable homicide in an adulterous act." However, Perlberg decided to omit the card, believing it was inappropriate for Chamberlain's adolescent fan base. On 16 May 1963, while Chamberlain suffered from laryngitis, DV reported that MGM attorneys were suggesting changes to the screenplay to avoid any possibility of an "invasion of privacy" lawsuit. This, despite the fact that source author Al Dewlin insisted his book was pure fiction.
       The 21 May 1963 DV noted that a week of location shooting was scheduled to begin that day. Locations were identified as a motel near Los Angeles International Airport, and the courthouse in Santa Ana, CA. The company had just completed a series of courthouse scenes, employing as many as 200 background actors. The 31 May 1963 issue stated that filming on the MGM lot was resuming that day. Nick Adams was expected to complete his role by 10 Jun 1963.
       Perlberg was quoted in the 14 Jun 1963 DV as saying that he did not believe his recently-completed film, which dealt with adultery and murder, was appropriate for young viewers. The 21 Jun 1963 edition noted that a Thanksgiving release was planned. Sneak previews were underway later that summer, as stated in the 6 Aug 1963 DV. According to the 12 Aug 1963 DV, Richard Chamberlain attended a preview screening in Pomona, CA. Although much of the audience enjoyed the film, several mothers reportedly complained that Chamberlain's public image would be tarnished by the sordid subject matter.
       The 17 May 1963 DV noted that composer John Green was scoring the film, following a five-year absence from MGM. Recording began approximately two months later, as stated in the 20 Aug 1963 edition. According to the 16 Oct 1963 Var, the soundtrack album featured the Burt Bacharach-Hal David songs, "Close To You" and "Blue Guitar," performed by Chamberlain, along with Green's score.
       As the release date approached, the 16 Oct 1963 DV announced that MGM planned to distribute 50,000 autographed pictures of Chamberlain to Los Angeles, CA, theaters. One month later, the 15 Nov 1963 NYT reported that the actor was scheduled to appear that evening at the Paramount Theatre in New York City. Twilight of Honor opened 23 Oct 1963 in Los Angeles, and 13 Nov 1963 in New York City. Although reviews were generally positive, critics agreed that the picture was unsuited to Chamberlain's core audience. The film garnered Academy Award nominations for Actor in a Supporting Role (Nick Adams), and Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (George W. Davis, Paul Groesse, Henry Grace, and Hugh Hunt.) In addition, Joey Heatherton received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Newcomer-Female.
       In the 29 Apr 1964 DV, Perlberg attributed the picture's financial failure to Chamberlain's television stardom, asserting that the public would not pay to see an actor whom they can regularly see in their homes free of charge. Chamberlain, however, told the 9 Nov 1965 DV that the film was sabotaged by a poor screenplay.
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
8 Feb 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
12 Apr 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
1 Mar 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
26 Apr 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
30 Apr 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
3 May 1963
p. 6.
Daily Variety
6 May 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
7 May 1963
p. 11.
Daily Variety
14 May 1963
p. 11.
Daily Variety
16 May 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
17 May 1963
p. 11.
Daily Variety
21 May 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
28 May 1963
p. 11.
Daily Variety
31 May 1963
p. 2, 3.
Daily Variety
14 Jun 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
21 Jun 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
6 Aug 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
12 Aug 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
20 Aug 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
16 Oct 1963
p. 10.
Daily Variety
29 Apr 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
9 Nov 1965
p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
7 Sep 1962
Section D, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
29 Nov 1962
Section A, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
27 Feb 1963
Section D, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
13 Oct 1963
Section B, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
17 Oct 1963
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 1963
Section F, p. 14.
New York Times
26 Jul 1961
p. 29.
New York Times
13 Nov 1963
p. 36.
New York Times
14 Nov 1963
p. 39.
New York Times
15 Nov 1963
p. 25.
Variety
21 Feb 1962
p. 4.
Variety
16 Jan 1963
p. 7.
Variety
16 Sep 1963
p. 6.
Variety
16 Oct 1963
p. 43.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus comp & cond
SOUND
Rec supv
Boom op
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Twilight of Honor by Al Dewlen (New York, 1961).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Section 12-24
Release Date:
23 October 1963
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 23 October 1963
New York opening: 13 November 1963
Production Date:
30 April--10 June 1963
Copyright Claimant:
Perlberg-Seaton Productions
Copyright Date:
9 September 1963
Copyright Number:
LP26269
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
104
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Cole Clinton, the leading citizen of Durango, New Mexico, is brutally murdered, and young attorney David Mitchell is appointed by the court to defend suspect Ben Brown. Although he initially believes that Brown is guilty, Mitchell begins to have doubts about the written confession authorities have obtained because it seriously conflicts with the story Brown personally tells; Mitchell's only encouragement, however, comes from retired attorney Art Harper and his daughter, Susan. When the politically ambitious special prosecutor, Norris Bixby, refuses to call several important witnesses, including Brown's voluptuous wife, Laura Mae, Mitchell becomes convinced that his client is being railroaded. With Harper's subtle guidance, Mitchell stumbles upon the truth--that Brown shot Clinton after discovering him in bed with Laura Mae. The prosecution, in trying to protect the dead man's reputation, brings pressure to bear on Mitchell to abandon this line of defense, but the unwritten law dealing with adultery sways the jury to bring in a verdict of "not guilty." Meanwhile, Harper is pleased that his future son-in-law has proven himself to be an honest ... +


Cole Clinton, the leading citizen of Durango, New Mexico, is brutally murdered, and young attorney David Mitchell is appointed by the court to defend suspect Ben Brown. Although he initially believes that Brown is guilty, Mitchell begins to have doubts about the written confession authorities have obtained because it seriously conflicts with the story Brown personally tells; Mitchell's only encouragement, however, comes from retired attorney Art Harper and his daughter, Susan. When the politically ambitious special prosecutor, Norris Bixby, refuses to call several important witnesses, including Brown's voluptuous wife, Laura Mae, Mitchell becomes convinced that his client is being railroaded. With Harper's subtle guidance, Mitchell stumbles upon the truth--that Brown shot Clinton after discovering him in bed with Laura Mae. The prosecution, in trying to protect the dead man's reputation, brings pressure to bear on Mitchell to abandon this line of defense, but the unwritten law dealing with adultery sways the jury to bring in a verdict of "not guilty." Meanwhile, Harper is pleased that his future son-in-law has proven himself to be an honest lawyer. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Legal


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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