The Flame and the Arrow (1950)

89 or 91 mins | Drama | 22 July 1950

Director:

Jacques Tourneur

Writer:

Waldo Salt

Producers:

Frank Ross, Harold Hecht

Cinematographer:

Ernest Haller

Production Designer:

Edward Carrere

Production Company:

Norma F. R. Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film's working title was The Hawk and the Arrow . The film begins with the following written foreword: "In the twelfth century all northern Italy lay wretched under the armies of the German emperor Frederick Barbarossa. But the mountains of Lombardy are not easily conquered. Generations of mountaineers have passed down the legends of those dark years and the brave deeds of their forefathers who fought for freedom. Sheltered by the mountains, their first small gatherings were secret."
       Actors Nick Cravat and Burt Lancaster performed together in the circus before becoming screen actors. Contemporary sources note that Lancaster did his own stunt work in the film. A 17 Jul 1950 DV news item reported that Warner Bros. offered a $1,000 award to anyone who could prove that Lancaster's stunts were performed by a double. To counter any doubts, Lancaster made public appearances on top of a fifteen-foot pole. According to contemporary sources, when the film was re-released in Jul 1953, Warner Bros. offered one million dollars to anyone who could prove Lancaster used a stunt double. A man named Jules Garrison declared that stunt double Don Turner was in three sequences of the film and took the studio to court to get the money. The lawsuit was thrown out by the judge, who stated, "I feel that the court has been used as a publicity forum for Burt Lancaster and a three-year-old picture." Max Steiner's musical score was nominated for an ... More Less

The film's working title was The Hawk and the Arrow . The film begins with the following written foreword: "In the twelfth century all northern Italy lay wretched under the armies of the German emperor Frederick Barbarossa. But the mountains of Lombardy are not easily conquered. Generations of mountaineers have passed down the legends of those dark years and the brave deeds of their forefathers who fought for freedom. Sheltered by the mountains, their first small gatherings were secret."
       Actors Nick Cravat and Burt Lancaster performed together in the circus before becoming screen actors. Contemporary sources note that Lancaster did his own stunt work in the film. A 17 Jul 1950 DV news item reported that Warner Bros. offered a $1,000 award to anyone who could prove that Lancaster's stunts were performed by a double. To counter any doubts, Lancaster made public appearances on top of a fifteen-foot pole. According to contemporary sources, when the film was re-released in Jul 1953, Warner Bros. offered one million dollars to anyone who could prove Lancaster used a stunt double. A man named Jules Garrison declared that stunt double Don Turner was in three sequences of the film and took the studio to court to get the money. The lawsuit was thrown out by the judge, who stated, "I feel that the court has been used as a publicity forum for Burt Lancaster and a three-year-old picture." Max Steiner's musical score was nominated for an Oscar. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Jun 1950.
---
Cue
8 Jul 1950.
---
Daily Variety
20 Jun 50
p. 3.
Daily Variety
17 Jul 1950.
---
Film Daily
20 Jun 50
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Oct 49
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 49
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 50
p. 3.
Los Angeles Daily News
22 Jul 1953.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
23 Jul 1953.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Jun 50
p. 353.
New York Times
8 Jul 50
p. 7.
Variety
21 Jun 50
p. 8.
Variety
24 Jul 1953.
---
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Hawk and the Arrow
Release Date:
22 July 1950
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 7 July 1950
Production Date:
early October--mid December 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Norma F. R. Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 July 1950
Copyright Number:
LP278
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
89 or 91
Length(in feet):
7,939
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Lombardy during the twelfth century, Dardo, an excellent hunter and expert archer, lives with his young son Rudi. Earlier, Dardo's wife Francesca left him for Count Ulrich, a member of the hated Hessian nobility, who is known as The Hawk. When Ulrich returns to the village with Francesca, he threatens to take Rudi hostage in order to ensure the safety of his entourage. Dardo attempts to escape with his son, but is wounded by an enemy arrow. Rudi is captured by Ulrich's men and taken to the castle. After his wound is treated by the apothecary, Dardo and his friend Piccolo, a mute blacksmith, take refuge in the mountains. The next morning, they spot Ulrich's beautiful niece Anne while she is riding and give her a message for Rudi. The main reason for Ulrich's visit is to cement his control over the area by marrying Anne to Alessandro, the local marchese, who owes taxes to the Hessians. Anne rejects Alessandro, however, so Ulrich sends his men to collect the tax payment and arrest the marchese. Along the way, Dardo and his men attack the Hessians and take the payment for themselves. Alessandro and his troubadour, Apollo, then join the outlaws. Later, Dardo and Piccolo attempt to rescue Rudi, and when they fail, they abduct Anne, hoping to exchange her for Rudi. Rather than negotiate, Ulrich decides to hang Dardo's friend, Papa Pietro, stating that he does not care what happens to Anne. In a daring raid, Dardo frees Papa Pietro, but Ulrich then threatens to hang five others in his place. Dardo suggests that he give himself up as ... +


In Lombardy during the twelfth century, Dardo, an excellent hunter and expert archer, lives with his young son Rudi. Earlier, Dardo's wife Francesca left him for Count Ulrich, a member of the hated Hessian nobility, who is known as The Hawk. When Ulrich returns to the village with Francesca, he threatens to take Rudi hostage in order to ensure the safety of his entourage. Dardo attempts to escape with his son, but is wounded by an enemy arrow. Rudi is captured by Ulrich's men and taken to the castle. After his wound is treated by the apothecary, Dardo and his friend Piccolo, a mute blacksmith, take refuge in the mountains. The next morning, they spot Ulrich's beautiful niece Anne while she is riding and give her a message for Rudi. The main reason for Ulrich's visit is to cement his control over the area by marrying Anne to Alessandro, the local marchese, who owes taxes to the Hessians. Anne rejects Alessandro, however, so Ulrich sends his men to collect the tax payment and arrest the marchese. Along the way, Dardo and his men attack the Hessians and take the payment for themselves. Alessandro and his troubadour, Apollo, then join the outlaws. Later, Dardo and Piccolo attempt to rescue Rudi, and when they fail, they abduct Anne, hoping to exchange her for Rudi. Rather than negotiate, Ulrich decides to hang Dardo's friend, Papa Pietro, stating that he does not care what happens to Anne. In a daring raid, Dardo frees Papa Pietro, but Ulrich then threatens to hang five others in his place. Dardo suggests that he give himself up as a diversionary tactic, while the others attack Ulrich's forces. After Dardo, who is wearing a protective harness, appears to have been hanged, Alessandro and the other outlaws are arrested. Later, Alessandro and Anne agree to marry, and he betrays the planned uprising. That night, Anne sneaks out and warns the rest of the townspeople, who are pretending to be mourning over Dardo's corpse. The next day, when some traveling players arrive, Piccolo suggests that they disguise themselves as members of the troupe. Dardo and Piccolo put on a dazzling display of acrobatics before Dardo's real identity is revealed. Dardo and Piccolo manage to free the imprisoned men, who engage Ulrich's soldiers in a battle. After the fighting is finished, Dardo discovers that Francesca is dead. Ulrich has seized Rudi and is using him as a shield. He has not reckoned with Dardo's marksmanship, however, and Dardo kills Ulrich with an arrow, freeing his son. Anne, who has fallen in love with Dardo, joins them as they celebrate their victory over Ulrich. +

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

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