City of Bad Men (1953)

81-82 mins | Western | September 1953

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Gunsmoke and Fight Town . After the opening credits, a written prologue reads: "In the tide of history there are always violent moments that spawn a new era. Such a moment began on the road to Carson City, Nevada, before the turn of the century." Although the main story of the film is fictional, heavyweight boxing champion James J. "Gentleman Jim" Corbett did fight challenger Bob Fitzsimmons in Carson City on 17 Mar 1897. Fitzsimmons won the bout after fourteen rounds.
       A Dec 1952 HR news item includes Earl Brown and Larry Mancine in the cast, but their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. A modern source includes Reed Howes in the cast. Although an Oct 1952 HR news item stated that the picture would be shot on location at Carson City, it is unlikely that any location shooting was done there. According to studio publicity, the film's opening sequence was shot on location at Vasquez Rocks, CA. City of Bad Men was Leonard Goldstein's first production for Twentieth ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Gunsmoke and Fight Town . After the opening credits, a written prologue reads: "In the tide of history there are always violent moments that spawn a new era. Such a moment began on the road to Carson City, Nevada, before the turn of the century." Although the main story of the film is fictional, heavyweight boxing champion James J. "Gentleman Jim" Corbett did fight challenger Bob Fitzsimmons in Carson City on 17 Mar 1897. Fitzsimmons won the bout after fourteen rounds.
       A Dec 1952 HR news item includes Earl Brown and Larry Mancine in the cast, but their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. A modern source includes Reed Howes in the cast. Although an Oct 1952 HR news item stated that the picture would be shot on location at Carson City, it is unlikely that any location shooting was done there. According to studio publicity, the film's opening sequence was shot on location at Vasquez Rocks, CA. City of Bad Men was Leonard Goldstein's first production for Twentieth Century-Fox. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Jun 1953.
---
Daily Variety
22 Jun 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 Jun 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Oct 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 52
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Dec 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Dec 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 52
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 53
p. 3.
Los Angeles Mirror
11 Sep 1953.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Jun 53
p. 1885.
New York Times
21 Oct 53
p. 37.
Variety
24 Jun 53
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Charles B. Smith
Barbara Fuller
Kay Garrett
Maude Prickett
Sam Finn
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Dial dir
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Fight Town
Gunsmoke
Release Date:
September 1953
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 11 September 1953
Production Date:
mid November--17 December 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
21 July 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2970
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
81-82
Length(in feet):
7,344
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16266
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In March 1897, outlaw Brett Stanton leads his cohorts, including his brother Gar and Mexicans Mendoza and Pig, away from Mexico, where they have spent two fruitless years fighting "on the losing side." Although Gar wants to rob wealthy cattlemen in Texas, Brett insists on going to Carson City, Nevada, the Stantons' hometown, where he believes they can easily rob the town bank. Upon their arrival, however, they discover that the "sleeply little town" is now a bustling mecca due to the upcoming championship bout between boxers James J. Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons. While Gar is taunting Brett about the unforeseen complication, Sheriff Bill Gifford uneasily notes the return of the Stantons, who left town six years previously. Meanwhile, local promoter Jim London, who convinced the fighters to come to Carson City, talks with Corbett's manager, William Brady, who is nervous about the presence of so many gunslingers, including Johnny Ringo. Jim assures Brady that the outlaws want to see the fight like everyone else, but trouble soon erupts when Barney and Flint, members of rival gangs, have a shootout at Corbett's training camp. Barney escapes, but one of the deputies is forced to arrest Flint, despite the fact that it will antagonize his boss, Ringo. Brady is outraged when Gifford frees Flint, but Gifford explains that he is trying to avoid giving the outlaws any excuse to start trouble before the fight. Meanwhile, Brett travels to Jim's ranch, where his former sweetheart, Linda Culligan, who is now Jim's fiancée, is helping his sister, Cynthia Castle, with preparations for the fight. When Brett informs Linda that her brother, who left Carson ... +


In March 1897, outlaw Brett Stanton leads his cohorts, including his brother Gar and Mexicans Mendoza and Pig, away from Mexico, where they have spent two fruitless years fighting "on the losing side." Although Gar wants to rob wealthy cattlemen in Texas, Brett insists on going to Carson City, Nevada, the Stantons' hometown, where he believes they can easily rob the town bank. Upon their arrival, however, they discover that the "sleeply little town" is now a bustling mecca due to the upcoming championship bout between boxers James J. Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons. While Gar is taunting Brett about the unforeseen complication, Sheriff Bill Gifford uneasily notes the return of the Stantons, who left town six years previously. Meanwhile, local promoter Jim London, who convinced the fighters to come to Carson City, talks with Corbett's manager, William Brady, who is nervous about the presence of so many gunslingers, including Johnny Ringo. Jim assures Brady that the outlaws want to see the fight like everyone else, but trouble soon erupts when Barney and Flint, members of rival gangs, have a shootout at Corbett's training camp. Barney escapes, but one of the deputies is forced to arrest Flint, despite the fact that it will antagonize his boss, Ringo. Brady is outraged when Gifford frees Flint, but Gifford explains that he is trying to avoid giving the outlaws any excuse to start trouble before the fight. Meanwhile, Brett travels to Jim's ranch, where his former sweetheart, Linda Culligan, who is now Jim's fiancée, is helping his sister, Cynthia Castle, with preparations for the fight. When Brett informs Linda that her brother, who left Carson City to accompany Brett on his travels, died in Mexico, she angrily lashes out at him, and also declares that whatever there was between them has died. Their discussion is interrupted by the arrival of Fitzsimmons, who questions Jim's strategy of waiting until just before the fight to sell tickets. Jim promises Fitzsimmons that the delay will insure box-office receipts of at least $100,000, and Brett, who has overheard, begins plotting to steal the money. Upon his return to town, Brett learns that his old enemy, Bob Thrailkill, and his gang are in town, and when they challenge each other, Gifford takes them to the jail, where Ringo is waiting. Hoping to keep the killers in check, Gifford asks them to become his deputies for the next forty-eight hours, until after the fight. Although Ringo and Thrailkill laugh at the sheriff's offer, Brett sees the wisdom of accepting, and convinces the others that if they allow trouble to erupt, then the Eastern tourists, whom they hope to fleece at gambling, will leave town. Later that evening, Cynthia gives Brett a silver saddle, which he rejects along with her romantic advances. Angered, Cynthia gives the saddle to Gar, although Brett orders him to sell it so that they can buy tickets to the fight. Soon after, Barney and Flint are again engaged in a shootout, and when Thrailkill and Ringo refuse to interfere, Brett orders them at gunpoint to call their men off. Linda, who is watching, is as impressed by Brett's actions as Gifford is, and after the men lay down their weapons, Thrailkill and Ringo turn in their badges to Gifford, stating that he does not need them if he has Brett. The two bandits also threaten to come gunning for Brett after the fight. Brett then learns that Gar gambled away the money from the saddle, but is able to win enough for the tickets during a poker game. Torn by her lingering affection for Brett, Linda tells him that he should leave town before it is too late, and although Brett demurs, Gifford tells him the same thing. When Brett refuses, Gifford, who believes that the outlaw has reformed, offers him a job as a full-time deputy. Brett then tells Linda that he still loves her, but she sadly asserts that after waiting for him for six years, she has changed too much to go back to him. The next evening, a half hour before the fight begins, Brett's men take their places while waiting for the cashiers to finish selling tickets and take the money to a central kiosk. Linda approaches Brett and offers to run away with him if he will leave immediately and avoid his enemies, but Brett turns her down. After Linda leaves, however, Cynthia informs Brett that Linda broke off her engagement to Jim earlier that day. Stunned, Brett decides to leave and gives his badge to Gifford. Before Brett can exit the arena though, Gar pulls a gun on him and takes him to Ringo, to whom he revealed Brett's plan. The rest of Brett's men shrug their apologies to him, and Gar triumphantly leads his brother into the stadium, where he and Ringo watch the fight. When Gifford spots Brett sitting with Gar and Ringo, he assumes that the outlaw has betrayed him. As the money is gathered at the kiosk, one of the gang members knocks out a deputy and gives his badge to Ringo, who puts it on Brett so that he will can gain entry to the kiosk. Mendoza and Pig then create a distraction, although Gifford notices that Brett is again wearing a badge and realizes that Gar and Ringo are using him. The gang manages to steal the money, although all of the outlaws are killed in the ensuing gunfight, except Gar, Ringo and Thrailkill. Brett and Jim pursue the fleeing robbers, who reach Corbett's training camp, where Ringo shoots Gar. During a gun battle, Jim shoots Thrailkill, although he in turn is wounded by Ringo. Brett shoots Ringo, then is forced to kill Gar when his dying brother attempts to shoot him. Brett returns with Jim to town just as the fight is concluding, and as a doctor tends to Jim, Linda and Brett embrace. +

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.