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HISTORY

Boom!, a film adaptation of playwright Tennessee Williams’s 1959 short story “Man Bring This Up Road,” and subsequent 1963 play The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, was announced in a 6 Jun 1967 DV item as an upcoming Universal Pictures release, with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton set to co-star. Then married, Taylor and Burton had recently appeared together in The Taming of the Shrew (1967, see entry) and Doctor Faustus (1968, see entry). The 26 Jul 1967 NYT noted that Boom! would be the first project under Taylor and Burton’s newly formed Taybur Productions.
       By mid-Aug 1967, the title was changed to Sunburst, the 16 Aug 1967 Var reported. Soon after, an item in the 25 Aug 1967 DV announced the film would now be called Goforth, after Taylor’s character “Flora Goforth.” However, it reverted to Boom! by the spring of the following year.
       Principal photography began on 14 Aug 1967 in Alghero, Sardinia, where exteriors were scheduled to be shot before production moved to Dino De Laurentiis Studios in Rome, Italy, as stated in various contemporary sources. Flora Goforth’s gem collection was provided by Italian jeweler Bulgari, according to the 30 Aug 1967 Var. Filming was completed by early Nov 1967, according to an 8 Nov 1967 Var news brief, and editing was done in London, England.
       The film received a Production Code Seal from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) despite its inclusion of a “four-letter vulgarism for defecation,” as stated in a 24 May 1968 ... More Less

Boom!, a film adaptation of playwright Tennessee Williams’s 1959 short story “Man Bring This Up Road,” and subsequent 1963 play The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, was announced in a 6 Jun 1967 DV item as an upcoming Universal Pictures release, with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton set to co-star. Then married, Taylor and Burton had recently appeared together in The Taming of the Shrew (1967, see entry) and Doctor Faustus (1968, see entry). The 26 Jul 1967 NYT noted that Boom! would be the first project under Taylor and Burton’s newly formed Taybur Productions.
       By mid-Aug 1967, the title was changed to Sunburst, the 16 Aug 1967 Var reported. Soon after, an item in the 25 Aug 1967 DV announced the film would now be called Goforth, after Taylor’s character “Flora Goforth.” However, it reverted to Boom! by the spring of the following year.
       Principal photography began on 14 Aug 1967 in Alghero, Sardinia, where exteriors were scheduled to be shot before production moved to Dino De Laurentiis Studios in Rome, Italy, as stated in various contemporary sources. Flora Goforth’s gem collection was provided by Italian jeweler Bulgari, according to the 30 Aug 1967 Var. Filming was completed by early Nov 1967, according to an 8 Nov 1967 Var news brief, and editing was done in London, England.
       The film received a Production Code Seal from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) despite its inclusion of a “four-letter vulgarism for defecation,” as stated in a 24 May 1968 DV article. The 27 May 1968 NYT review provided the context, indicating that the word, delivered by Taylor’s character, preceded “On your mother!” Around the same time, Rosemary’s Baby (1968, see entry), was also granted the Production Code Seal, while containing the same word. The two films were said to mark “the first time the word has been used in a film under the parent banner of MPAA companies.” Previously, The Connection (1962, see entry) and Ulysses (1967, see entry), both of which were produced by non-MPAA companies, had sparked controversy by including the same obscenity. The 27 May 1968 DV review of Boom! noted that advertisements for the film bore the tag, “Suggested for Mature Audiences.”
       Theatrical release took place on 26 May 1968 in New York City, and three days later in Los Angeles, CA. A screening was scheduled to follow in Jul 1968 at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain. Critical reception was largely poor, although Joseph Losey’s direction was lauded, and the 9 Jun 1968 LAT quoted Tennessee Williams (who wrote the screenplay) as saying, “It’s a beautiful picture, the best ever made of one of my plays.” An article in the 14 Jul 1968 LAT mentioned one critique from Williams, who disagreed with Losey’s choice to show Burton’s character, “Chris Flanders,” dropping “a jewel of fabulous worth into the sea.” Williams stated of the character, “He didn’t seem to me to be that kind of person.” Commercially, the film, which cost an estimated $5 million, was “a disappointment in the U.S. though okay in Britain,” according to a 31 Jul 1968 Var item.
       Donald Sutherland was considered for the role of “Rudy,” as stated in the 23 Jul 1968 LAT. The 5 Oct 1967 LAT noted that Boom! would mark the feature film debut of Taylor’s favorite pet, a white Pekingese named “O’Fie.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
6 Jun 1967
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
25 Aug 1967
p. 6.
Daily Variety
1 Sep 1967
p. 8.
Daily Variety
21 May 1968
p. 10.
Daily Variety
24 May 1968
p. 1, 23.
Daily Variety
27 May 1968
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
9 Aug 1967
Section E, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
5 Oct 1967
Section D, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
26 May 1968
Section D, p. 49.
Los Angeles Times
29 May 1968
Section C, p. 1, 6.
Los Angeles Times
9 Jun 1968
Section C, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
14 Jul 1968
Section Q, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
23 Jul 1968
Section F, p. 1.
New York Times
26 Jul 1967.
---
New York Times
27 May 1968.
---
New York Times
17 Nov 1968
Section D, p. 23.
Variety
14 Jun 1967
p. 4.
Variety
14 Jun 1967
p. 25.
Variety
31 Jul 1968
p. 3, 18.
Variety
16 Aug 1967
p. 4, 17.
Variety
30 Aug 1967
p. 30.
Variety
25 Oct 1967
p. 4.
Variety
8 Nov 1967
p. 7.
Variety
14 Feb 1968
p. 7.
Variety
29 May 1968
p. 1, 60.
Variety
31 Jul 1968
p. 63.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A John Heyman Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Lighting cam
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Miss Taylor's ward
Mr. Coward's cost
MUSIC
Mus comp & cond
Indian sitar mus
Indian sitar mus
MAKEUP
Miss Taylor's makeup
Mr. Burton's makeup
Miss Taylor's hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore by Tennessee Williams (New York, 16 Jan 1963) and his short story "Man Bring This Up Road" in Mademoiselle (Jul 1959).
SONGS
"Hideaway," words and music by John Dankworth and Don Black, sung by Georgie Fame.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Sunburst
Goforth
Release Date:
26 May 1968
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 26 May 1968
Los Angeles opening: 29 May 1968
Production Date:
began 14 August 1967
Copyright Claimant:
World Film Service Productions
Copyright Date:
10 August 1968
Copyright Number:
LP37968
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
110
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Flora Goforth, a millionairess widowed six times, retires each summer to her private island in the Mediterranean. This summer, however, she learns that she is going to die and begins to dictate her memoirs to Blackie, her abused secretary. One day an aging poet, Chris Flanders, arrives on the island and is attacked by Mrs. Goforth's dwarf bodyguard and his pack of vicious dogs. Although Mrs. Goforth's friend, an epicene bachelor known as the Witch of Capri, tells her that Chris has been called the "Angel of Death" because of his frequent association with dying wealthy women, she tolerates the intruder and permits him to remain in one of the guest houses adjacent to her lavish villa. Alternately repelled and attracted by the poet, Mrs. Goforth begins to rely more and more on his presence as her health gradually wanes. Ultimately forced to accept the inevitable, she invites Chris into her bedroom and collapses. As he sits by her side and prepares her for death, Chris slowly removes her fortune in jewels. After she has died, he wanders out onto the terrace, pours himself a large snifter of brandy, drops a huge diamond into it, and lets the glass fall to the sea ... +


Flora Goforth, a millionairess widowed six times, retires each summer to her private island in the Mediterranean. This summer, however, she learns that she is going to die and begins to dictate her memoirs to Blackie, her abused secretary. One day an aging poet, Chris Flanders, arrives on the island and is attacked by Mrs. Goforth's dwarf bodyguard and his pack of vicious dogs. Although Mrs. Goforth's friend, an epicene bachelor known as the Witch of Capri, tells her that Chris has been called the "Angel of Death" because of his frequent association with dying wealthy women, she tolerates the intruder and permits him to remain in one of the guest houses adjacent to her lavish villa. Alternately repelled and attracted by the poet, Mrs. Goforth begins to rely more and more on his presence as her health gradually wanes. Ultimately forced to accept the inevitable, she invites Chris into her bedroom and collapses. As he sits by her side and prepares her for death, Chris slowly removes her fortune in jewels. After she has died, he wanders out onto the terrace, pours himself a large snifter of brandy, drops a huge diamond into it, and lets the glass fall to the sea below. +

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

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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.