Pittsburgh (1942)

91 or 93 mins | Melodrama | 11 December 1942

Director:

Lewis Seiler

Cinematographer:

Robert de Grasse

Editor:

Paul Landres

Production Designer:

John Goodman

Production Company:

Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working title of this film was Out of This Earth . According to information found in the Charles K. Feldman papers at the AFI Louis B. Mayer Library, this project initially began when Lou Breslow and Owen Francis were hired by producer/agent Feldman to write a screenplay called Out of This Earth , based on an original story by Francis. In an Oct 1940 agreement, Feldman agreed to pay Breslow $337 per week and Francis $175 per week for their work on this project. This agreement also stated that Breslow would be paid approximately $2,000 and Francis $2,500 upon the sale of the script, and that the proceeds from the sale of the script would be split in the following manner: Feldman 50%, Breslow and Francis 25% each.
       In Jul 1941, Feldman then hired George Owen to rewrite the Breslow/Francis script. In Feb 1942, Feldman transferred the rights to this material to Feldman-Blum Corp.orp. as compensation for work done by that corporation on this project, as well as other private projects of Feldman. Feldman-Blum then hired writers Robert Fellows, Tom Reed and George Owen to rewrite the script, work which was completed on 21 Apr 1942. On 4 May 1942, Feldman purchased the rights to the property from Feldman-Blum for $10,526.22, then sold the script to Universal on 29 Jun 1942. According to the agreement between Feldman and Universal, Feldman was paid $13,500 for this property, as well as 12.5% of the film's first $240,000 in gross receipts, and 25% of the film's net profits. The film was to include billing for "A Chas. K. Feldman Production," rather than ... More Less

The working title of this film was Out of This Earth . According to information found in the Charles K. Feldman papers at the AFI Louis B. Mayer Library, this project initially began when Lou Breslow and Owen Francis were hired by producer/agent Feldman to write a screenplay called Out of This Earth , based on an original story by Francis. In an Oct 1940 agreement, Feldman agreed to pay Breslow $337 per week and Francis $175 per week for their work on this project. This agreement also stated that Breslow would be paid approximately $2,000 and Francis $2,500 upon the sale of the script, and that the proceeds from the sale of the script would be split in the following manner: Feldman 50%, Breslow and Francis 25% each.
       In Jul 1941, Feldman then hired George Owen to rewrite the Breslow/Francis script. In Feb 1942, Feldman transferred the rights to this material to Feldman-Blum Corp.orp. as compensation for work done by that corporation on this project, as well as other private projects of Feldman. Feldman-Blum then hired writers Robert Fellows, Tom Reed and George Owen to rewrite the script, work which was completed on 21 Apr 1942. On 4 May 1942, Feldman purchased the rights to the property from Feldman-Blum for $10,526.22, then sold the script to Universal on 29 Jun 1942. According to the agreement between Feldman and Universal, Feldman was paid $13,500 for this property, as well as 12.5% of the film's first $240,000 in gross receipts, and 25% of the film's net profits. The film was to include billing for "A Chas. K. Feldman Production," rather than "A Chas. K. Feldman Group Production," the title used for Feldman-Blum Corp. productions.
       The Feldman papers further indicate that, while the film was in production, writers Kenneth Gamet, John Twist and Winston Miller were brought in to do re-writes, but, according to an Oct 1942 agreement between Feldman and Universal, the studio was responsible for only $6,500 in writing costs for the project, the remainder being the personal responsibility of Feldman. An undated Universal memo states the writers on the project were paid the following: Kenneth Gamet $4,750; John Twist $3,400; Winston Miller $2,366; and Tom Reed $2,500. In 1943, Owen Francis, terminally ill with heart disease, threatened to sue Feldman for the producer's failure to live up to their Oct 1940 agreement. In an Aug 1943 letter to Francis' attorney, Morris Cohn, Feldman argued that no portion of the screenplay written by Francis and Lou Breslow was used in the released film Pittsburgh , and that six other writers (George Owen, Tom Reed, Robert Fellows, Winston Miller, Kenneth Gamet and John Twist) had worked on the project. According to the Feldman papers, rather than giving Francis the $2,500 stated in their contract, Feldman paid the dying writer $250.
       According to information in the file on the film in the MPPA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the film ran into some censorship problems concerning the relationship between the characters "Josie Winters" and "Pittsburgh Markham." In early drafts of the script, it was inferred that Josie had become the mistress of Pittsburgh after his marriage to "Shannon Prentiss." In later drafts and in the finished film, while Pittsburgh makes advances toward Josie, she refuses his propositions. The Feldman papers state that Arthur Lubin was originally slated to direct Pittsburgh , but he left the project on 15 Jul 1942, prior to Feldman's production deal with Universal. HR news items report that Universal attempted to borrow Walter Brennan from Sam Goldwyn for the film, but the actor did not appear in the film. HR news items also state that writer John Twist was borrowed from RKO by Universal for his work on the film.
       According to the Feldman papers, the Dow Chemical Company was asked by Universal to act as technical advisor on this film. In a Jul 1942 letter, Dow Chemical agreed to send A. C. White to act as technical advisor on Pittsburgh , but in a 12 Nov 1942 letter to Dow Chemical, Feldman states that Leland T. Doan was the man actually sent by the company to act in that position. The Feldman papers also state that Pittsburgh used some stock footage provided by the U.S. Navy's Office of Public Relations, and may have used additional footage from the short film The Big Change-Over , which was then being distributed by the OWI.
       HR production charts include Edgar Barrier in the cast, but his participation in the released film has not been confirmed. According to the film's press book, actor Allan Jones, while performing in the Universal film When Johnny Comes Marching Home (See Entry), acted as a technical advisor for Pittsburgh's coal mine scenes, having worked in similar mines as a youth. This was the second Universal film of 1942 to star John Wayne, Marlene Dietrich and Randolph Scott, the other being The Spoilers (See Entry). Wayne and Dietrich had co-starred previously in the 1940 Universal pictuure Seven Sinners (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.3975). According to a Universal accounting statement of Dec 1966, the negative cost of Pittsburgh was $630,782.87. The film, at that time, had generated a domestic gross of $929,140.27 and worldwide gross revenues of approximately $1,930,000. The Feldman papers report that, as of 30 Oct 1954, Charles K. Feldman had received $147,843.98 for his work on this film. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Dec 1942.
---
Daily Variety
9 Oct 1942.
---
Daily Variety
30 Nov 42
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 Dec 42
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 42
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Aug 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Aug 42
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 42
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Sep 42
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 42
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 Dec 42
p. 1042.
New York Times
25 Feb 43
p. 27.
Variety
2 Dec 42
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Charles K. Feldman Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr
Addl dial
Orig story
Orig story
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Assoc
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Dir of sd
[Sd] tech
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Unit pub wrt
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Out of This Earth
Release Date:
11 December 1942
Production Date:
26 August--late October 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
8 December 1942
Copyright Number:
LP11720
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
91 or 93
Length(in feet):
8,191
Country:
United States
PCA No:
8960
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After buying suits on credit and sneakining drinks from the medicine cabinet of their scientist friend, "Doc" Powers, coal miners Cash Evans and Charles "Pittsburgh" Markham go to a vaudeville house, where a promoter is offering $500 to any man who can last three minutes with boxer Killer Kane. Just as they are about to enter the theater, they meet beautiful Josie Winters. Pittsburgh tricks Cash into taking the boxing challenge, and a riot breaks out when the promoter tries to sneak out of the theater after Cash defeats Kane. The riot, however, is interrupted by news of a cave-in. Cash, Pittsburgh and Josie rush to the mine, where they learn that Doc is trapped with the injured miners. After almost being killed himself in the rescue, Pittsburgh learns that Josie worked in the mines as a child and her father was killed there. Although he brags that he is going to be a "big-shot" someday, Josie accuses him of being all talk and no action. She later challenges Pittsburgh to make good on his boast, so he and Cash quit their mining jobs, then arrange a meeting with Morgan Prentiss of Prentiss Steel, where they offer to sell the steel magnate coal for three dollars a ton less than the current price. Morgan agrees to a contract with the two, on the condition that Pittsburgh and Cash raise $250,000. Though neither has the four dollars necessary to pay their back rent, they forge Morgan's name onto the contract, which gets them the necessary bank loan. With Doc and Josie as their partners, Pittsburgh and Cash soon become a great success. ... +


After buying suits on credit and sneakining drinks from the medicine cabinet of their scientist friend, "Doc" Powers, coal miners Cash Evans and Charles "Pittsburgh" Markham go to a vaudeville house, where a promoter is offering $500 to any man who can last three minutes with boxer Killer Kane. Just as they are about to enter the theater, they meet beautiful Josie Winters. Pittsburgh tricks Cash into taking the boxing challenge, and a riot breaks out when the promoter tries to sneak out of the theater after Cash defeats Kane. The riot, however, is interrupted by news of a cave-in. Cash, Pittsburgh and Josie rush to the mine, where they learn that Doc is trapped with the injured miners. After almost being killed himself in the rescue, Pittsburgh learns that Josie worked in the mines as a child and her father was killed there. Although he brags that he is going to be a "big-shot" someday, Josie accuses him of being all talk and no action. She later challenges Pittsburgh to make good on his boast, so he and Cash quit their mining jobs, then arrange a meeting with Morgan Prentiss of Prentiss Steel, where they offer to sell the steel magnate coal for three dollars a ton less than the current price. Morgan agrees to a contract with the two, on the condition that Pittsburgh and Cash raise $250,000. Though neither has the four dollars necessary to pay their back rent, they forge Morgan's name onto the contract, which gets them the necessary bank loan. With Doc and Josie as their partners, Pittsburgh and Cash soon become a great success. That success, however, goes to Pittsburgh's head, as he forgets his promises to the union miners and begins courting Morgan's daughter Shannon. When Josie, Cash and Doc plan a surprise birthday party for Pittsburgh, he fails to come home, having spent the evening with Shannon. That night, Josie admits her love to Pittsburgh, then tells him that they are finished. Cash tells Pittsburgh that he is in love with Josie, and that he now plans to court her. Pittsburgh and Shannon are soon married, but on their wedding night, Pittsburgh goes to see Josie and tells her that she will always be his. Josie refuses his advances, however, and orders him to leave. The bitter Pittsburgh becomes a ruthless businessman, taking over both the Wilson mine and Prentiss Steel. Shannon later demands a divorce from her cruel husband when, during a party held in their home, his infatuation with Josie is made clear to all, but he refuses to cooperate. After Pittsburgh announces that he going to close down Doc's medical research lab, an irate Cash quits the partnership and sells out his shares to Pittsburgh. After the two men go down a mine shaft to fight, Josie is critically injured when she attempts to stop them. At the hospital, Cash tells Pittsburgh that he is no good, and that his old friends never want to see him again. The repentant Pittsburgh goes home to Shannon in an attempt to make amends, but she refuses him. Later, Morgan keeps his promise to avenge his betrayed daughter by bankrupting Pittsburgh. At the outbreak of World War II, the broken Pittsburgh learns humility and goes back to work as a steel mill worker under the name "Charles Ellis." The factory Pittsburgh works for is owned by Cash, and when Cash decides to fire the unproductive production manager, union boss Joe Malneck recommends "Ellis" for the position. Cash and Pittsburgh immediately begin to argue, but then Josie arrives and convinces them that they must put aside their personal grievances and order to work together for the good of the country. With industry and labor working together, Markham and Evans Industries soon becomes a leader in defense, building an "arsenal of democracy." +

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.