Lure of the Wilderness (1952)

90 or 92-93 mins | Drama | September 1952

Director:

Jean Negulesco

Writer:

Louis Lantz

Producer:

Robert L. Jacks

Cinematographer:

Edward Cronjager

Editor:

Barbara McLean

Production Designers:

Lyle Wheeler, Addison Hehr

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Cry of the Swamp and Swamp Girl . The MPHPD release charts list Land of the Trembling Earth as another working title. The picture begins with a voice-over narration describing the Okefenokee Swamp. Vereen Bell's novel first appeared as a serial in The Saturday Evening Post (23 Nov--28 Dec 1940). According to a 5 Sep 1951 LAT news item, Debra Paget was originally set as the film's star, and in early Oct 1951, HR announced that Robert Wise would be directing the picture. According to contemporary sources, portions of the film were shot on location in the Okefenokee Swamp and Waycross, GA.
       Jean Peters and Jeffrey Hunter reprised their roles in a 25 May 1953 Lux Radio Theatre presentation of the story. Twentieth Century-Fox's earlier adaptation of Bell's novel was entitled Swamp Water (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). The 1941 version was directed by Jean Renoir and co-starred Walter Huston, Anne Baxter and Dana Andrews, with Walter Brennan playing, as he did in Lure of the Wilderness , the role of the unjustly accused man hiding in the Okefenokee ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Cry of the Swamp and Swamp Girl . The MPHPD release charts list Land of the Trembling Earth as another working title. The picture begins with a voice-over narration describing the Okefenokee Swamp. Vereen Bell's novel first appeared as a serial in The Saturday Evening Post (23 Nov--28 Dec 1940). According to a 5 Sep 1951 LAT news item, Debra Paget was originally set as the film's star, and in early Oct 1951, HR announced that Robert Wise would be directing the picture. According to contemporary sources, portions of the film were shot on location in the Okefenokee Swamp and Waycross, GA.
       Jean Peters and Jeffrey Hunter reprised their roles in a 25 May 1953 Lux Radio Theatre presentation of the story. Twentieth Century-Fox's earlier adaptation of Bell's novel was entitled Swamp Water (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). The 1941 version was directed by Jean Renoir and co-starred Walter Huston, Anne Baxter and Dana Andrews, with Walter Brennan playing, as he did in Lure of the Wilderness , the role of the unjustly accused man hiding in the Okefenokee Swamp. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Aug 1952.
---
Daily Variety
24 Jul 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
4 Aug 52
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 51
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Oct 51
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 51
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 51
p. 8, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 51
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jan 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jan 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Feb 52
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 52
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jul 52
p. 4.
Los Angeles Mirror
11 Sep 1952.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Sep 1951.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Sep 1952.
---
Motion Picture Daily
29 Jul 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 Jul 52
pp. 1461-62.
New York Times
11 Nov 1951.
---
New York Times
4 Oct 52
p. 15.
Time
8 Sep 1952.
---
Variety
30 Jul 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Loc dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Loc tech adv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Swamp Water by Vereen Bell (New York, 1941).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Starry Hill," music and lyrics by Ken Darby.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Cry of the Swamp
Land of the Trembling Earth
Swamp Girl
Release Date:
September 1952
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Waycross, GA: 16 July 1952
Atlanta, GA opening: 17 July 1952
Los Angeles opening: 11 September 1952
Production Date:
late October 1951--early January 1952
addl seq early February 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
17 July 1952
Copyright Number:
LP2130
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
90 or 92-93
Length(in feet):
8,389
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15703
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1910, the citizens of Fargo, Georgia, located near the Okefenokee Swamp, live simply and do not venture far into the dangerous swamp. One day, Ben Tyler and his father Zack help to search for two lost trappers, and during the unsuccessful journey, Ben's dog Careless goes bounding into the swamp after a deer. Despite the warnings of his father, Ben returns the next day to search for Careless and instead gets lost. Two people sneak up on Ben and knock him out, and when he regains consciousness, he finds he is tied up in the primitive camp of Jim Harper and his wild, beautiful daughter Laurie. The frightened Ben recognizes Jim, who was accused of murdering two men eight years previously and fled to avoid a lynch mob. Jim claims that he killed one of the men in self-defense, but that the other was murdered by the vicious Longden brothers, Dave and Harry. Laurie, who has grown up isolated in the swamp, is suspicious of Ben, although Jim trusts the sincere youth and reveals his eagerness to return to civilization if he could get a fair trial. Ben agrees to find Jim a lawyer, although Laurie, who watched her mother die during their flight into the swamp, is still hostile. Ben and the Harpers spend the next few days hunting, with the intent of raising money for a lawyer, and Jim worries about Ben's attraction to Laurie. One morning, the Harpers show Ben the way out of the swamp, and he returns home. Although Zack is overjoyed that Ben is alive, he hits his son when he states that he ... +


In 1910, the citizens of Fargo, Georgia, located near the Okefenokee Swamp, live simply and do not venture far into the dangerous swamp. One day, Ben Tyler and his father Zack help to search for two lost trappers, and during the unsuccessful journey, Ben's dog Careless goes bounding into the swamp after a deer. Despite the warnings of his father, Ben returns the next day to search for Careless and instead gets lost. Two people sneak up on Ben and knock him out, and when he regains consciousness, he finds he is tied up in the primitive camp of Jim Harper and his wild, beautiful daughter Laurie. The frightened Ben recognizes Jim, who was accused of murdering two men eight years previously and fled to avoid a lynch mob. Jim claims that he killed one of the men in self-defense, but that the other was murdered by the vicious Longden brothers, Dave and Harry. Laurie, who has grown up isolated in the swamp, is suspicious of Ben, although Jim trusts the sincere youth and reveals his eagerness to return to civilization if he could get a fair trial. Ben agrees to find Jim a lawyer, although Laurie, who watched her mother die during their flight into the swamp, is still hostile. Ben and the Harpers spend the next few days hunting, with the intent of raising money for a lawyer, and Jim worries about Ben's attraction to Laurie. One morning, the Harpers show Ben the way out of the swamp, and he returns home. Although Zack is overjoyed that Ben is alive, he hits his son when he states that he is returning to the swamp. Ben storms out of the house, then sells the pelts at Pat McGowan's general store. Ben gives a present to his fiancée, McGowan's spirited daughter Noreen, but she also upbraids him for wanting to return to the swamp. Noreen declares that if Ben leaves, she will attend an upcoming dance with another beau, and Ben leaves in disgust. When Ben returns to the Harpers' camp, he tells Laurie that they must hunt for valuable otter skins, as they need more money. Laurie's misgivings are assuaged, however, when Ben gives her a dress and presents Jim with a box of cigars. Ben invites Laurie to the dance, where, he promises, no one will know who she is and she can have a good time with people her own age. Later, at the dance, Ben watches jealously as Noreen ignores him and flirts with Jack Doran. Ben's mood improves when Laurie arrives, although the spiteful Noreen provokes a fistfight between Ben and Jack. After the fight ends, Ben angrily tells Jack that he can have Noreen, then races off to find Laurie. Noreen eavesdrops as Ben declares his love for Laurie, then interrupts to reveal that she knows Laurie's identity. Noreen claims that Ben told her all about Laurie, and Laurie is crushed, as Ben had promised that he would keep her and Jim's whereabouts a secret. Laurie runs into the swamp, and the next day, the Longdens, who have been told by Noreen about Ben's dealings with the Harpers, attack Ben. The Longdens almost drown Ben in an attempt to get him to talk, but Noreen, horrified by what she has done, alerts Zack. Zack rescues Ben, who explains to his forgiving father that all Jim wants is a fair trial. Zack agrees to go to the county seat to make the arrangements, and sends Ben into the swamp to bring out Jim and Laurie. Unknown to Ben, he is followed by the Longdens, who did frame Jim for murder and are planning to ambush the Harpers so that their own guilt will not be revealed. Jim and Laurie are at first angry with Ben, but agree to accompany him when he shows them letters from the county sheriff and a lawyer offering Jim protection. During the trip out, however, the trio are attacked by the Longdens, and Jim and Laurie mistakenly assume that Ben has led them into a trap. They force Ben to show himself to the Longdens, and when Ben also becomes a target, they believe his protestations of innocence. Jim is shot in the leg, and so Ben and Laurie lead the Longdens into the swamp, away from Jim. Laurie cleverly sets a trap near a pit of quicksand, and Dave is swallowed alive. Ben and Laurie then capture Harry as he cries for his dead brother, and take him into town as their prisoner. There, they are greeted by Sheriff Jepson, and Jim's wound is tended to. As Ben and Laurie sit together in the departing wagon, Jim remarks that leaving the swamp is like coming back to life. +

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.