Thunder in the Sun (1959)

81 mins | Western | May 1959

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were The Gun and the Arrow and Between the Thunder and the Sun . Although they were not included in the onscreen credits, Guy Trosper and Jim Hill are listed in reviews, news items and copyright materials as the authors of the original story on which the picture was based. May and Jun 1957 news items listed the film’s production company as Associated Arts Productions, which was owned by Ray Stark, but Stark and his partner, Eliot Hyman, formed another company, Seven Arts Productions, soon after, and the picture was made by that company. In 1957 and early 1958, United Artists was listed by news items as the potential distributor for the picture. In Apr 1958, HR ’s “Rambling Reporter” asserted that star Susan Hayward was to receive a co-producer credit for the film, but she is not listed in the onscreen credits or by other contemporary sources as one of the picture’s producers.
       According to a 19 Feb 1958 item in HR ’s “Rambling Reporter” column, producer Clarence Greene and director Russell Rouse were interested in casting Katina Paxinou, Ernest Borgnine and Sal Mineo in the film, and Gita Hall had been cast in the picture. Hall’s appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed, however. According to an 18 Jul 1958 HR news item, Jean Gabin was originally set for the role of “Andre Dauphin.” Other 1958 HR news items state that Ricardo Valle and Selene Walters were being sought for the cast, but they are not in the completed film. ... More Less

The working titles of this film were The Gun and the Arrow and Between the Thunder and the Sun . Although they were not included in the onscreen credits, Guy Trosper and Jim Hill are listed in reviews, news items and copyright materials as the authors of the original story on which the picture was based. May and Jun 1957 news items listed the film’s production company as Associated Arts Productions, which was owned by Ray Stark, but Stark and his partner, Eliot Hyman, formed another company, Seven Arts Productions, soon after, and the picture was made by that company. In 1957 and early 1958, United Artists was listed by news items as the potential distributor for the picture. In Apr 1958, HR ’s “Rambling Reporter” asserted that star Susan Hayward was to receive a co-producer credit for the film, but she is not listed in the onscreen credits or by other contemporary sources as one of the picture’s producers.
       According to a 19 Feb 1958 item in HR ’s “Rambling Reporter” column, producer Clarence Greene and director Russell Rouse were interested in casting Katina Paxinou, Ernest Borgnine and Sal Mineo in the film, and Gita Hall had been cast in the picture. Hall’s appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed, however. According to an 18 Jul 1958 HR news item, Jean Gabin was originally set for the role of “Andre Dauphin.” Other 1958 HR news items state that Ricardo Valle and Selene Walters were being sought for the cast, but they are not in the completed film. HR news items include the following actors in the cast, although their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed: Clint Sharp, Carroll Henry, Clem Fuller, Warren Fisk, Dick Hook, Nick Nichols, Tex Palmer, Bob Woodward, John Hudkins, Roy Clark, Charles Horvath, Jerry Catron, Loren James, Floyd Kronte, Boyd Morgan , Buzz Henry, Tap Kanutt, Vincent G. Perry, Sally Pearce, May Boss, Bertrand Castelli, Mike Tellegen, Janine Grandel and June Chalkley, Hayward’s sixteen-year-old stepdaughter.
       Pre-production news items announced that the picture would be filmed in Missouri, California, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. According to an Aug 1958 NYT article and the 1959 Filmfacts review, however, scenes were filmed near Mt. Whitney in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California and in Death Valley. It does not seem likely that other sites were used for outdoor locations. According to a 5 Aug 1958 HR news item, special effects man Jack McFadden was killed during location filming when a tank of butane gas, being used for the prairie fire sequence, exploded.
       In addition to Basque actor Jacques Bergerac, "fifty French players for authenticity of dialect" were cast in the picture, according to the NYT article. The Var reviewer complained about Susan Hayward's awkward French accent, “particularly since the rest of the cast, except for Bergerac, uses any accent handy.” The Var critic also asserted that it was incorrect to have the Basques in the film speaking French, instead of Basque (also called the Euskara language). Although Basque is, indeed, spoken in southwestern France as well as in the Basque provinces of Spain, some Basques do speak French. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 Apr 1959.
---
Daily Variety
7 Feb 1958.
---
Daily Variety
6 Aug 1958.
---
Daily Variety
23 Mar 1959
p. 3.
Film Daily
23 Mar 1959
p. 10.
Filmfacts
1959
pp. 67-68.
Harrison's Reports
28 Mar 1959
p. 50.
Hollywood Reporter
31 May 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 1958
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 1958
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 1958
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 1958
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jul 1958
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jul 1958
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jul 1958
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jul 1958
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 1958
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 1958
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 1958
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 1958
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 1958
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 1958
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 1958
p. 2, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 1959
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
31 May 1957.
---
Los Angeles Examiner
7 Feb 1958.
---
Motion Picture Daily
27 Mar 1959.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
28 Mar 1959
p. 204.
New York Times
10 Aug 1958.
---
New York Times
9 Apr 1959
p. 37.
Variety
25 Mar 1959
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
2d unit asst dir
PRODUCERS
Asst to prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
Grip
Utility
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Sketch artist
Sketch artist
Coord
Lead man
Swing gang
Props
Props
Nursery
COSTUMES
Miss Hayward's cost
MUSIC
Mus ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Miss Hayward's dance number choreography
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting dir
Scr supv
Accounting
Wrangler
Transportation
Transportation
Loc physician
SOURCES
SONGS
"Mon Petit" and "Thunder in the Sun," words by Ned Washington, music by Cyril Mockridge.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Between the Thunder and the Sun
The Gun and the Arrow
Release Date:
May 1959
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 8 April 1959
Los Angeles opening: 29 April 1959
Production Date:
21 July--29 August 1958
Copyright Claimant:
Seven Arts Productions, Inc. and Carrollton, Inc.
Copyright Date:
25 March 1959
Copyright Number:
LP13398
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording
Color
Eastman Color
Widescreen/ratio
VistaVision Motion Picture High-Fidelity
Lenses/Prints
prints by Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
81
Length(in feet):
7,271
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19121
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1847, a group of fifty-two French Basques travel to America to escape the unrest and famine of post-Napoleonic France and set out for the West. One of their seven wagons carries the Pyrenees grapevines they hope to plant in the fertile soil of California. In Independence, Missouri, they hire a hard-drinking, womanizing scout named Lon Bennett, whose carousing delays their journey by a week. When he finally joins the group, Lon is initially bewildered by some of the customs of the French Basques. He finds the battle cry used by the men to communicate with one another over vast distances harrowing, and also considers their practice of keeping their hearth fires burning in pots so that the spirits of their ancestors will be warm superstitious and impractical. He is most baffled, however, by the Basque custom of childhood betrothal. Instantly attracted to the fiery Gabrielle Dauphin, who respects but does not love her aging husband Andre, the leader of the group, Lon aggressively pursues her, even though she rebuffs his advances. One evening, as Lon attempts to kiss Gabrielle, Andre rushes to her aid. The young man on night guard, following Lon's orders to "shoot anything that moves," fires at Andre and kills him. Thoroughly disheartened by the death of their leader, the group decides to turn back. Gabrielle fiercely compares them to sheep, however, and reminds them about the dream for which they have traveled thousands of miles. Realizing that the people need a new leader, Gabrielle invokes the Basque custom of betrothing a widow to the deceased husband's next of kin, and in so doing, becomes ... +


In 1847, a group of fifty-two French Basques travel to America to escape the unrest and famine of post-Napoleonic France and set out for the West. One of their seven wagons carries the Pyrenees grapevines they hope to plant in the fertile soil of California. In Independence, Missouri, they hire a hard-drinking, womanizing scout named Lon Bennett, whose carousing delays their journey by a week. When he finally joins the group, Lon is initially bewildered by some of the customs of the French Basques. He finds the battle cry used by the men to communicate with one another over vast distances harrowing, and also considers their practice of keeping their hearth fires burning in pots so that the spirits of their ancestors will be warm superstitious and impractical. He is most baffled, however, by the Basque custom of childhood betrothal. Instantly attracted to the fiery Gabrielle Dauphin, who respects but does not love her aging husband Andre, the leader of the group, Lon aggressively pursues her, even though she rebuffs his advances. One evening, as Lon attempts to kiss Gabrielle, Andre rushes to her aid. The young man on night guard, following Lon's orders to "shoot anything that moves," fires at Andre and kills him. Thoroughly disheartened by the death of their leader, the group decides to turn back. Gabrielle fiercely compares them to sheep, however, and reminds them about the dream for which they have traveled thousands of miles. Realizing that the people need a new leader, Gabrielle invokes the Basque custom of betrothing a widow to the deceased husband's next of kin, and in so doing, becomes engaged to Andre's younger brother Pepe. Lon refuses to drink to their happiness and several days later, tries to climb into Gabrielle's wagon as she is undressing. Gabrielle protests his boldness, stressing the importance of family in Basque culture. At that moment, Pepe appears with a rifle and orders Lon away from the wagon. As the wagon train enters the desert, Lon warns the travelers that they will die of thirst if they persist in watering the grapevines. Gabrielle and the others ignore Lon, but one by one, the horses begin to die. When Lon commands the Basques to leave most of their belongings in the desert, Pepe loses his patience, and the two men fight. Pepe uses his feet as well as his fists in the brawl, but Lon proves victorious nonetheless. Gabrielle decides that the party should head for the nearby mountains, where they are sure to find water. Lon, however, adamantly refuses to lead the group into Indian territory. Exasperated, Gabrielle trains a rifle on Lon, confiscates his guns and directs the wagon train toward the mountains. There they do, indeed, find water, but are seen by an Indian scout. As the Basques continue their journey, a hearth pot falls from a wagon, and the prairie catches fire. The travelers race toward the river, but when the wagon carrying the vines overturns, Gabrielle rushes to save the precious cargo. The fire soon surrounds her, and Lon sweeps her up on his horse just in time. Later, as the Basques empty their hearth pots into the river, Gabrielle thanks him for risking his life to save her. At that moment, one of the children sees smoke signals emanating from the hills above them. Lon scouts the area and discovers that Indians await them in the pass. When Pepe calmly suggests that their small group lead an attack on the far more numerous Indians, Lon reminds him that they have never fought Indians before. Pepe insists that the Basques are skilled mountain fighters, however, and that night, the men ascend to hiding places among the rocks. Before they go, Pepe catches sight of Gabrielle kissing Lon. Admitting that she belonged to Lon from the beginning, Gabrielle worriedly watches him leave and then prepares to lead the wagons through the pass. As the wagons approach, an Indian scout informs the warriors who are waiting to attack about their presence. The Basque men see this, and with a series of frightening war cries, they begin shooting. A long and fierce battle follows, and some of the Basque men are killed. In the end, though, they rout the Indians and rejoin the women on the other side of the pass. At the sight of several women bemoaning the loss of their men, Gabrielle, assigning the blame to herself, wildly tears at the vines. Lon reminds her that the men shared her dream and would have wanted to see it fulfilled. Lon leads Gabrielle and Pepe to a cliff and shows them the green valley below, declaring that they have arrived at their destination. Pepe remarks that in their new country, love comes first, and then, slapping Lon on the back, leaves Gabrielle's side and returns to the group. Lon and Gabrielle embrace, and the wagons enter the valley. +

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

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