Legend of the Lost (1957)

109 mins | Adventure | December 1957

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HISTORY

Working titles for the film were Legend of Timbuktu and Man from Timbuctoo . The opening credits for the film include the following written title: "A Batjac Productions Panama Inc. Production in association with Robert Haggiag, Dear Film Productions, Rome, Italy." Publicity materials contained in the AMPAS Library file on the film adds that a novelization of the film, also entitled Legend of the Lost , by Bonnie Golightly was published after the film's release. A 10 May 1957 HR article notes that syndicated columnist Henry McLemore had planned to write a book based on the film's location shooting; however, no information about the book's publication has been found. Although publicity materials also note that Joe Valino sings in Legend of the Lost , there were no songs or singers in the viewed print and Valino's contribution to the film has not been confirmed.
       As noted onscreen, location shooting for the film took place near Tripoli, Libya. A 28 Mar 1957 HR news item stated that John Wayne suffered injuries during a fall while on location in Libya, which necessitated finishing shooting there and caused a three-week delay in the production schedule before shooting was resumed in Rome at Cinecittà Studios, where interior sequences were shot. According to a 31 Mar 1957 NYT article, the lost city of "Timgad" referred to in the film was actually the Leptis Magna ruins, a Roman city dating back to the 7th century B.C. near Tripoli, in northwest Libya, while "Timbuktu" was actually in Zliten, Libya. Headquarters for the film were located in Ghadames, where, according to the publicity material, citizens of ... More Less

Working titles for the film were Legend of Timbuktu and Man from Timbuctoo . The opening credits for the film include the following written title: "A Batjac Productions Panama Inc. Production in association with Robert Haggiag, Dear Film Productions, Rome, Italy." Publicity materials contained in the AMPAS Library file on the film adds that a novelization of the film, also entitled Legend of the Lost , by Bonnie Golightly was published after the film's release. A 10 May 1957 HR article notes that syndicated columnist Henry McLemore had planned to write a book based on the film's location shooting; however, no information about the book's publication has been found. Although publicity materials also note that Joe Valino sings in Legend of the Lost , there were no songs or singers in the viewed print and Valino's contribution to the film has not been confirmed.
       As noted onscreen, location shooting for the film took place near Tripoli, Libya. A 28 Mar 1957 HR news item stated that John Wayne suffered injuries during a fall while on location in Libya, which necessitated finishing shooting there and caused a three-week delay in the production schedule before shooting was resumed in Rome at Cinecittà Studios, where interior sequences were shot. According to a 31 Mar 1957 NYT article, the lost city of "Timgad" referred to in the film was actually the Leptis Magna ruins, a Roman city dating back to the 7th century B.C. near Tripoli, in northwest Libya, while "Timbuktu" was actually in Zliten, Libya. Headquarters for the film were located in Ghadames, where, according to the publicity material, citizens of the villages were employed on set, as well as some native Tauregs, an ancient desert tribe. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 Dec 1957
p. 16.
Box Office
4 Jan 1958.
---
Daily Variety
17 Dec 1957
p. 3.
Film Daily
17 Dec 1957
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 1956
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jan 1957
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jan 1957
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jan 1957
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 1957
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 1957
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 1957
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 1957
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 1957
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 May 1957
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 1957
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 1957
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
19 Dec 1957.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Dec 1957.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
21 Dec 1957
p. 649.
New York Times
30 Sep 1956.
---
New York Times
31 Mar 1957.
---
New York Times
23 Dec 1957
p. 18.
Newsweek
6 Jan 1958.
---
Variety
18 Dec 1957
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Batjac Productions Panama Inc. Production in association with Robert Haggiag, Dear Film Productio
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
WRITERS
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Prop supv
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus published by
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Prod mgr, Italy
Unit prod mgr
STAND INS
Stuntman
Stuntman
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Legend of Timbuktu
Man from Timbuctoo
Release Date:
December 1957
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 18 December 1957
New York opening: 21 December 1957
Production Date:
2 January--10 April 1957 in Tripoli, Libya and Cinecittà Studios, Rome
Copyright Claimant:
Batjac Productions (Panama) Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 December 1957
Copyright Number:
LP10839
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound Recording
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Technirama
Duration(in mins):
109
Countries:
Italy, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18842
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

While searching for a desert guide in the West African village of Timbuktu, idealistic Englishman Paul Bonnard meets Prefect Dukas, a greedy official who helps him recover his watch from petty thief and prostitute Dita. Pitying Dita, Bonnard hands her his watch, prompting her to return his wallet with an innocent shrug. Later that night, Dukas finds Joe January, a rugged American guide who agrees to be his guide in exchange for Bonnard paying the hefty fines Dukas has levied on him as well as paying for his passage out of Timbuktu. The next morning, Joe eavesdrops as Bonnard preaches to Dita about sin and forgiveness. Dita is taken by Bonnard's sincerity, but Joe scoffs at the Englishman’s attempt to save the prostitute's soul. Dita begs to join him on the expedition, but Bonnard refuses, claiming the journey will be too dangerous. During the first few days of journeying on donkeys, Bonnard states that his father Jonathon, a missionary and archaeologist, was searching for a treasure on an expedition over ten years ago from which he never returned. Bonnard explains that he has come to find the treasure in hope of carrying out his father’s dream of establishing a refuge for the sick and needy. As they rest at a water hole one day, a mysterious caravan of native Tauregs approach, leaving the cloaked figure of Dita behind. When Joe threatens to leave them both if Dita does not return to Timbuktu, Bonnard offers him a third of the treasure to continue. After Bonnard explains that he has his father’s map directing them to the lost city of Timgad, where the treasure is hidden, Joe reluctantly agrees to the ... +


While searching for a desert guide in the West African village of Timbuktu, idealistic Englishman Paul Bonnard meets Prefect Dukas, a greedy official who helps him recover his watch from petty thief and prostitute Dita. Pitying Dita, Bonnard hands her his watch, prompting her to return his wallet with an innocent shrug. Later that night, Dukas finds Joe January, a rugged American guide who agrees to be his guide in exchange for Bonnard paying the hefty fines Dukas has levied on him as well as paying for his passage out of Timbuktu. The next morning, Joe eavesdrops as Bonnard preaches to Dita about sin and forgiveness. Dita is taken by Bonnard's sincerity, but Joe scoffs at the Englishman’s attempt to save the prostitute's soul. Dita begs to join him on the expedition, but Bonnard refuses, claiming the journey will be too dangerous. During the first few days of journeying on donkeys, Bonnard states that his father Jonathon, a missionary and archaeologist, was searching for a treasure on an expedition over ten years ago from which he never returned. Bonnard explains that he has come to find the treasure in hope of carrying out his father’s dream of establishing a refuge for the sick and needy. As they rest at a water hole one day, a mysterious caravan of native Tauregs approach, leaving the cloaked figure of Dita behind. When Joe threatens to leave them both if Dita does not return to Timbuktu, Bonnard offers him a third of the treasure to continue. After Bonnard explains that he has his father’s map directing them to the lost city of Timgad, where the treasure is hidden, Joe reluctantly agrees to the terms even with the "batty dame." Over a campfire that night, Dita recounts an abusive childhood that led to her prostitution and attempts to "cleanse" her skin with a knife. While Joe taunts Dita, Bonnard takes the knife and reminds her that tears cleanse better than knives. The next day, when Bonnard tries to help Dita as she is attacked by tarantulas, the two tumble down a hill in each other’s arms, prompting Joe to mock Bonnard for "pawing at” the woman he is trying to save. When they hear the Tauregs chanting nearby for a dying tribesman, Bonnard bravely offers the strangers his help and saves the man’s life, thus ensuring them safe passage. The next evening, Joe, softening toward Dita, offers her a drink then makes a pass. Hearing Dita’s protests, Bonnard shoots the bottle out of Joe's hand, causing a fight between the men, but they soon agree to be friends. The next day, when Bonnard gives Joe only approximate directions to follow, an enraged Joe tells them that being a couple degrees off could lead to their deaths from thirst and gives them eight hours to find the lost city. When the time is up, Joe orders them to return Enzeze, an eight-hour trip for which they have just enough water. As the men argue, Dita pours out the remaining water, telling them that she believes in Bonnard's dream. Joe is furious but has no choice but to continue on in search of water. Suddenly his donkey Janis leads them to a lush pool of water near the ancient ruins of a lost Roman city, where Bonnard finds three human skeletons lying among the ruins. Studying the skeletons, Joe notes that one of them, Jonathon, was killed by a gunshot wound to the head, while his guide was knifed in the back with his arms around a third skeleton, a woman. Joe then finds a love letter from Jonathon among the woman's possessions, which explains that he had asked her to join him in Timbuktu, told her of the treasure and promised to spend the wealth on a pampered life together in Paris. Dita tries to reassure Bonnard that he can continue with Jonathon's dream to build a refuge, but Bonnard, shattered by his father’s lie, starts drinking. After Joe buries the three bodies, a drunken Bonnard throws the bottle, startling a group of nearby bats. Later that night, after he finds the door his father described leads to an empty vault, Bonnard’s despair deepens. Meanwhile, Joe attempts to reconstruct Jonathon's last minutes: Realizing that his girl friend's alliance has shifted to the guide and fearing for his life, Jonathon moved the treasure somewhere else and gave his son a hint in the dog-eared page of his bible left beside his body, which alludes to “a day that man shall cast his gold and silver to the bats.” Deducing that the bats’ cavern must be the treasure's location, Bonnard lowers himself into the underground passageway where he finds gold, coins and jewels. The next day as they revel in the wealth, Bonnard takes Dita into his arms to kiss her, begging her and then violently demanding her to return his affections. After she struggles free, Bonnard showers her with jewels and persists, but Dita is so upset by the betrayal that she runs to Joe, who knocks Bonnard down. Convinced that, as with his father, the guide has taken the girl and will soon take his life, the hysterical Bonnard shoots at them and flees. As they wait through the night for Bonnard's return, Joe comforts Dita and chastises the “do-gooder.” The next morning, Joe and Dita discover Bonnard has fled with all the donkeys and provisions, leaving them to die. Filling sacks with water, they rush to track him down. After hours of walking in the scorching desert sun, they find Janis, but Dita faints, near death from thirst. Joe brings out his whiskey reserve and tells her that she is more beautiful than ever, prompting Dita to profess her love for him. Renewed by their love, Joe and Dita continue until they finally find Bonnard near death, clutching his treasure. As Joe and Dita dig for water, a deliriously paranoid Bonnard buries his treasure and stabs Joe in the back with his knife. Dita shoots and kills Bonnard, then digs until she hits water to give to Joe. Thinking that he is dying, Joe blames Jonathon's lies for destroying Bonnard, but thanks him for bringing him and Dita together. Seeing a Taureg caravan headed for Timbuktu, Dita embraces Joe, knowing that they will survive and start a new life together. +

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

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