Escape from Zahrain (1962)

93 mins | Adventure | 23 May 1962

Director:

Ronald Neame

Writer:

Robin Estridge

Producer:

Ronald Neame

Cinematographer:

Ellsworth Fredricks

Editor:

Eda Warren

Production Designers:

Eddie Imazu, Hal Pereira

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

Principal photography began 19 Jun 1961, according to the 30 Jun 1961 DV. Location filming took place in “the rocky desert hills” near Barstow, CA. The production company was granted access by Southern California Gas Company, which built sand-and-gravel roads through the hills while laying a gas pipeline. The 17 Aug 1961 DV noted that fourteen different Southern California locations were used during the production, the last of which was Thousand Oaks. The last two weeks of filming began that day at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, CA.
       Additional cast members included Claudia Barrett (6 Jul 1961 DV) ; Kanan Awni (12 Jul 1961 DV) ; George Sawaya and Phillip Baird (14 Jul 1961 DV) ; Lionel Ames (24 Jul 1961 DV) ; Adele Von, who was also a stand-in for lead actress Madlyn Rhue (24 Jul 1961 DV) ; Iphigenie Castiglioni (10 Aug 1961 DV) ; and Dick Chambers (17 Aug 1961 1961 DV). The 19 Sep 1961 noted that veteran character actor John P. “Blackie” Whiteford also appeared in the film. Although the article reported that he was ninety-two years old at the time, his obituary in the 23 Mar 1962 issue stated his age as eighty-nine. Other sources claim he was only seventy-two years old. According to the 17 Jul 1961 DV, James Mason appeared in an unbilled role as a favor to producer-director Ronald Neame. The actor donated his salary to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Three days later, DV noted that ... More Less

Principal photography began 19 Jun 1961, according to the 30 Jun 1961 DV. Location filming took place in “the rocky desert hills” near Barstow, CA. The production company was granted access by Southern California Gas Company, which built sand-and-gravel roads through the hills while laying a gas pipeline. The 17 Aug 1961 DV noted that fourteen different Southern California locations were used during the production, the last of which was Thousand Oaks. The last two weeks of filming began that day at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, CA.
       Additional cast members included Claudia Barrett (6 Jul 1961 DV) ; Kanan Awni (12 Jul 1961 DV) ; George Sawaya and Phillip Baird (14 Jul 1961 DV) ; Lionel Ames (24 Jul 1961 DV) ; Adele Von, who was also a stand-in for lead actress Madlyn Rhue (24 Jul 1961 DV) ; Iphigenie Castiglioni (10 Aug 1961 DV) ; and Dick Chambers (17 Aug 1961 1961 DV). The 19 Sep 1961 noted that veteran character actor John P. “Blackie” Whiteford also appeared in the film. Although the article reported that he was ninety-two years old at the time, his obituary in the 23 Mar 1962 issue stated his age as eighty-nine. Other sources claim he was only seventy-two years old. According to the 17 Jul 1961 DV, James Mason appeared in an unbilled role as a favor to producer-director Ronald Neame. The actor donated his salary to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Three days later, DV noted that fifty-seven background actors were hired for “riot scenes.”
       Following the completion of principal photography, Neame told the 15 Sep 1961 LAT that he enjoyed making the picture, which he described as “one for the drive-ins.” He also noted that it was a departure from his earlier, more intellectual works. Editing was currently underway.
       The picture opened 23 May 1962 in Indianapolis, IN, and Chicago, IL, as indicated in 30 May 1962 Var box office reports. The 6 Jun 1962 Var reported debuts in Boston, MA, Washington, DC, Cleveland, OH, and Kansas City, MO. Openings followed in Los Angeles on 13 Jun 1962, and in New York City on 11 Jul 1962. Reviews were mixed: Although the 29 May 1962 DV described the film as “a good old-fashioned chase,” the 12 Jul 1962 NYT found it to be “nonsensical.”
       Later that year, the 5 Dec 1962 Var revealed that Paramount Pictures suffered “a consolidated loss of $1,107,000 for the third quarter,” due primarily to the high cost and low return on the studio’s spring releases, Escape from Zahrain and Hell Is for Heroes (1962, see entry). However, the 9 Jan 1963 issue listed the film among the top rentals of the previous year, earning $700,000 with anticipated receipts of $1,385,000.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
20 Jun 1961
p. 8.
Daily Variety
30 Jun 1961
p. 15.
Daily Variety
6 Jul 1961
p. 3.
Daily Variety
12 Jul 1961
p. 13.
Daily Variety
14 Jul 1961
p. 10.
Daily Variety
17 Jul 1961
p. 2.
Daily Variety
20 Jul 1961
p. 4.
Daily Variety
24 Jul 1961
p. 6, 7.
Daily Variety
10 Aug 1961
p. 4.
Daily Variety
17 Aug 1961
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Sep 1961
p. 4.
Daily Variety
5 Feb 1962
p. 8.
Daily Variety
23 Mar 1962
p. 16.
Daily Variety
29 May 1962
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
15 Sep 1961
Section B, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
13 Jun 1962
Section C, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
14 Jun 1962
Section C, p. 9.
New York Times
11 Jul 1962
p. 28.
New York Times
12 Jul 1962
p. 19.
Variety
30 May 1962
p. 10.
Variety
6 Jun 1962
p. 10.
Variety
25 Jul 1962
p. 14.
Variety
5 Dec 1962
p. 3.
Variety
9 Jan 1963
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod. & 2d unit dir
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
2nd unit photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Appointment in Zahrain by Michael Barrett (London, 1960).
DETAILS
Release Date:
23 May 1962
Premiere Information:
Chicago opening: 23 May 1962
Los Angeles opening: 13 June 1962
New York opening: 11 July 1962
Production Date:
19 June--late-August/early-September 1961
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures
Copyright Date:
31 December 1961
Copyright Number:
LP21933
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
93
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a strife-ridden Arab state, the fanatical followers of the revolutionary nationalist leader Sharif attack a police van transporting him to a prison for execution. Ahmed, the leader of the students' revolt, frees Sharif and three other prisoners, among them Huston, an American who has embezzled $200,000 from the Zahrain Oil Company. The fugitives capture an ambulance and, along with an Arabian nurse, Laila, flee from the city toward the border. During their trek across the desert, the convict Hassan is killed in a police trap; and the budding romance between Ahmed and Laila is cut short when the young student is shot down by a government strafing plane. Following the death of Tahar, another convict, the three lone survivors cross the frontier and reach a port on the Persian Gulf. Sharif and Laila make plans to return and continue their fight, and Huston goes in search of a ship which will take him to Cairo and his ill-gotten ... +


In a strife-ridden Arab state, the fanatical followers of the revolutionary nationalist leader Sharif attack a police van transporting him to a prison for execution. Ahmed, the leader of the students' revolt, frees Sharif and three other prisoners, among them Huston, an American who has embezzled $200,000 from the Zahrain Oil Company. The fugitives capture an ambulance and, along with an Arabian nurse, Laila, flee from the city toward the border. During their trek across the desert, the convict Hassan is killed in a police trap; and the budding romance between Ahmed and Laila is cut short when the young student is shot down by a government strafing plane. Following the death of Tahar, another convict, the three lone survivors cross the frontier and reach a port on the Persian Gulf. Sharif and Laila make plans to return and continue their fight, and Huston goes in search of a ship which will take him to Cairo and his ill-gotten gains. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.