Against a Crooked Sky (1976)

G | 90 mins | Western | 1976

Director:

Earl Bellamy

Producer:

Lyman D. Dayton

Cinematographer:

Joe Jackman

Editor:

Marsh Hendry

Production Designer:

Carl Anderson

Production Company:

Doty-Dayton Productions
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HISTORY

       A 17 Mar 1975 Box news item stated that Henry Rackin was hired to supervise casting; however, he is not credited on screen. According to a 26 May 1975 Box article, actress Tippi Hedren was signed to play the female lead, but she did not appear in the picture.
       Although a production chart listed in the 11 Jul 1975 HR reported that principal photography began 30 Jun 1975, a news brief in 23 Jun 1975 Box claimed it began in mid-Jul 1975, and ended in early Aug 1975. According to the 11 Aug 1975 Box, filming took place in wilderness areas around Moab, UT. Additional UT locations included Arches National Monument, Dead Horse State Park and Castle Valley, as reported in the 11 Aug 1975 Box.
      The end credits include the following written statement:: "The producers wish to express their appreciation to Governor Rampton of Utah, the United States Department of the Interior for Arches National Park, Moab, Utah and the Bureau of Land Management for their gracious cooperation during the filming of this picture.” In the end credits, the 170 lb. Irish wolfhound who played the character “B’ar Killer” is listed as “Himself” but according to the production notes from AMPAS library files, the dog’s real name was ... More Less

       A 17 Mar 1975 Box news item stated that Henry Rackin was hired to supervise casting; however, he is not credited on screen. According to a 26 May 1975 Box article, actress Tippi Hedren was signed to play the female lead, but she did not appear in the picture.
       Although a production chart listed in the 11 Jul 1975 HR reported that principal photography began 30 Jun 1975, a news brief in 23 Jun 1975 Box claimed it began in mid-Jul 1975, and ended in early Aug 1975. According to the 11 Aug 1975 Box, filming took place in wilderness areas around Moab, UT. Additional UT locations included Arches National Monument, Dead Horse State Park and Castle Valley, as reported in the 11 Aug 1975 Box.
      The end credits include the following written statement:: "The producers wish to express their appreciation to Governor Rampton of Utah, the United States Department of the Interior for Arches National Park, Moab, Utah and the Bureau of Land Management for their gracious cooperation during the filming of this picture.” In the end credits, the 170 lb. Irish wolfhound who played the character “B’ar Killer” is listed as “Himself” but according to the production notes from AMPAS library files, the dog’s real name was “Pumpkin”.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
17 Mar 1975.
---
Box Office
26 May 1975.
---
Box Office
23 Jun 1975.
---
Box Office
11 Aug 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 1975
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 1975.
---
Variety
19 Aug 1975.
---
Variety
24 Dec 1975
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
2d grip
Crane op
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Painter
COSTUMES
Ward
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff created by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles & opticals
MAKEUP
Hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
In charge of prod
Scr supv
Prod secy
Craft service
Prod auditor
Animal handler
Consultant
Transportation capt
Prod facilities
SOURCES
SONGS
"Against a Crooked Sky," music by Lex De Azevedo, lyric by Mac David, sung by Jewel Blanch, orchestrations by Richard Hazard.
DETAILS
Release Date:
1976
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 15 December 1976
Production Date:
30 June-early August 1975 in Moah, Utah
Physical Properties:
Sound
Filmed in Todd-AO
Color
Color by Deluxe®
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Charlotte Sutter bathes in a pond, unaware that a young brave wearing a gold headband, Temkai, and three other Native-Americans are watching. After she dries off, a neighbor rides to her cabin and tells her mother, Molly, that his wife has cholera. As she leaves to help the neighbors, Molly tells Charlotte to watch her fifteen-year-old brother, Sam, until their father comes home. Sam worries his mother will contract cholera and die, but Charlotte says Molly has to go as the Bible says there is no greater love than laying down one’s life for a friend. Later, the three Native Americans break into the cabin. Charlotte and Sam crawl out a window and ride away on horseback. When Charlotte falls off and hurts her leg, she orders Sam to get help and he rides off as Temkai and his cohorts take Charlotte prisoner. Later, Sam’s father, John, organizes a rescue party to find Charlotte. Despite his father’s orders, Sam sneaks out of the house and follows. The next day, Sam finds Temkai’s headband near the location where Charlotte was captured. He rides to a river, tries to ford it, but is swept off his horse. As Sam is being pulled under, he hears a voice, yelling for him to grab a rope. He sees a dog, B’ar Killer, swimming next to him. He grabs the rope and is dragged to safety. Later, Sam wakes up in the cabin of “Russian”, an old trapper who thinks that Sam looks like his son. Russian tells Sam that his son was ugly, like his mother, and that ... +


Charlotte Sutter bathes in a pond, unaware that a young brave wearing a gold headband, Temkai, and three other Native-Americans are watching. After she dries off, a neighbor rides to her cabin and tells her mother, Molly, that his wife has cholera. As she leaves to help the neighbors, Molly tells Charlotte to watch her fifteen-year-old brother, Sam, until their father comes home. Sam worries his mother will contract cholera and die, but Charlotte says Molly has to go as the Bible says there is no greater love than laying down one’s life for a friend. Later, the three Native Americans break into the cabin. Charlotte and Sam crawl out a window and ride away on horseback. When Charlotte falls off and hurts her leg, she orders Sam to get help and he rides off as Temkai and his cohorts take Charlotte prisoner. Later, Sam’s father, John, organizes a rescue party to find Charlotte. Despite his father’s orders, Sam sneaks out of the house and follows. The next day, Sam finds Temkai’s headband near the location where Charlotte was captured. He rides to a river, tries to ford it, but is swept off his horse. As Sam is being pulled under, he hears a voice, yelling for him to grab a rope. He sees a dog, B’ar Killer, swimming next to him. He grabs the rope and is dragged to safety. Later, Sam wakes up in the cabin of “Russian”, an old trapper who thinks that Sam looks like his son. Russian tells Sam that his son was ugly, like his mother, and that he had to slit the boy’s throat. Sam explains that he is trying to find his sister, and Russian mocks him, saying that Sam is too stupid to survive the trip. When Russian asks Sam about the gold headband, Sam says the band belongs to him. The next morning, Russian brings Sam home. Before he leaves, Sam demands the gold headband. Russian remarks he should have let Sam die, throws the headband in the dirt, and rides off. Two weeks later, the rescue posse returns home empty-handed. The men disband and John tells Molly he will search for Charlotte alone. Almost a year later, John returns seriously wounded and reports that Charlotte must be dead. That night, Sam runs away to search for his sister. He finds Russian and elicits his help by promising that finding Charlotte will lead to gold riches. One night, Sam asks Russian if he really slit his son’s throat and Russian implies that he cooked the head in their stews, but then reveals that both the boy and his Native American mother died of small pox. After weeks pass, Sam begs Russian to go on and with the search and threatens to keep all the gold he to himself. Russian agrees to continue to a Cheyenne camp, but after that he is going home. When they get to the camp, they meet an old man named Cut Tongue. They are told Cut Tongue had come to the tribe decades ago and tried to steal a horse. The Cheyenne took him prisoner and made him do woman’s work. He recognizes the gold headband and communicates through sign language that it is from the crooked sky. Cut Tongue will not tell where that is, but will lead Sam to it so that he may die amongst his own people. Sam, Russian and Cut Tongue ride through Apache country to get to the land of the crooked sky. The first night, they make camp and Russian takes B’ar Killer to scout their surroundings. As Russian leaves, a band of Apaches attack. Although Cut Tongue tries to defend the camp, he is hurled off a large rock and is seriously hurt. B’ar Killer and Russian return to attack the braves, but B’ar Killer is stabbed before Russian and Sam kill the Apache warriors. Sam and Russian bury B’ar Killer, then build a travois to carry the wounded Cut Tongue in. Days later, Cut Tongue leads them to a tall cliff blocking their path and draws the symbol of the crooked sky. Sam guesses that their destination has to be behind the mountain, but Russian believes Cut Tongue is crazy, and announces that he is going home in the morning. Sam calls Russian a drunken coward and, in return, gets punched in the face. That next morning, the rising sun reveals a passage wide enough to ride through. Beyond the pass, the men find water and a totem pole with a large arrow of gold laid out in front of it. As Russian celebrates the discovery, Sam sees that the arrow points to a flat rock covered in dry blood. Before they can investigate they are surrounded and taken captive, and drugged to sleep. Shumeki, the chief, and Temkai are shocked to see Cut Tongue. Cut Tongue tells his story in sign language, then throws the headband at Shumeki. That night, Charlotte peeks outside her hut and sees Shumeki stab Cut Tongue. As Shumeki leaves, Charlotte tries to remove the knife, but Shumeki arrives with several braves and blames Charlotte for the murder. The next morning, Sam and Russian wake up to see Cut Tongue’s funeral. A woman named Ashkea gives them food, explaining that she is Shumeki’s daughter and learned English from Charlotte. Ashkea tells them that Cut Tongue was almost a chief, but when he failed the test of the crooked sky he ran off and Shumeki took his place. Sam tells her that the headband he found belonged to Cut Tongue, and he did not fail. After the funeral, Charlotte is brought forward. Ashkea explains that she has been found guilty of murder and must be killed. Sam pleads with Shumeki for Charlotte’s life and Shumeki tells him that if he passes the test of the crooked sky, Charlotte will live. Before the shadow of the totem pole leaves the gold arrow, Sam must run across the valley, climb a cliff to the sacrificial rock, and let himself be killed to prove Charlotte is innocent. Sam agrees. That night, Ashkea brings Sam to Charlotte’s hut. She begs Sam to go home, but he refuses. When Sam leaves, Charlotte tells Ashkea that she is pregnant with Temkai’s baby, but he must never know. Later, Ashkea asks Sam why he is willing to die for Charlotte, and he explains that the Bible says the greatest love is to lay down your life for someone else. Ashkea says she does not understand this love, then tells Sam that as the next chief, Temkai must kill Charlotte. At dawn, Charlotte is brought to the sacrificial rock, covered in a blanket. A signal is given for Sam to start running. All day long, he runs under a blistering sun without water. As the shadow moves off the arrow, Sam begins his climb. He is almost to the top when the shadow leaves the gold arrow and Shumeki nods to Temkai, who lifts his bow and aims at Charlotte, but he cannot shoot. Shumeki takes the bow, but Sam leaps to block him and Charlotte tumbles off the cliff. Later, Sam and Russian ride to the place where Russian spends the winter. In the spring, before Russian leaves, Sam gives Russian a puppy that Sam has named B’ar Killer. At home, Sam tells Molly and John that Charlotte died of a fever. Although Molly is in deep mourning, John assures Sam that she will come out of it someday. As Sam and John work at removing a tree stump, they spot Temkai, who has brought Charlotte, carrying a baby. She explains that it was Ashkea under the blanket who died in her stead. Molly runs up and hugs Charlotte. The family walks back to their cabin as Temkai watches from a distance, then rides away.


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

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