Band of Angels (1957)

125 or 127 mins | Drama | 10 July 1957

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Cinematographer:

Lucien Ballard

Production Designer:

Franz Bachelin

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

According to DV , Warner Bros. acquired the rights to Robert Penn Warren's novel on 13 Sep 1955, a few months before its publication. HR stated that the title, Band of Angels , "referred to the short life expectancy of freed Negros who fought with Union troops during the war," but commented that the film dealt very little with this subject. Many of the reviews criticized the film's superficial and melodramatic treatment of racial issues. A number of reviews noted discrepancies between the novel and the film. HR stated that in the novel, "the story seems to have been of a girl torn between two worlds. In the picture there is only the vaguest hint of a potential romance between Miss De Carlo and Poitier....The screenwriters seem to have been held back from being more explicit in their delineation of the De Carlo-Poitier relationship." New Yorker commented, "What Mr. Warren was after in his novel was a description of Southern society when slavery was still the order of the day. What we are offered here is a spate of romantic hokum." DV predicted that the film would encounter opposition below the Mason-Dixon Line.
       According to a memo dated 14 Nov 1956 in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the story as originally presented to the PCA was "an unacceptable treatment of illicit sex between the leading characters" because of their master-slave relationship. A certificate of approval was granted only after the scenes containing illicit sex were removed. Location shooting took place near Baton Rouge, LA, on the ... More Less

According to DV , Warner Bros. acquired the rights to Robert Penn Warren's novel on 13 Sep 1955, a few months before its publication. HR stated that the title, Band of Angels , "referred to the short life expectancy of freed Negros who fought with Union troops during the war," but commented that the film dealt very little with this subject. Many of the reviews criticized the film's superficial and melodramatic treatment of racial issues. A number of reviews noted discrepancies between the novel and the film. HR stated that in the novel, "the story seems to have been of a girl torn between two worlds. In the picture there is only the vaguest hint of a potential romance between Miss De Carlo and Poitier....The screenwriters seem to have been held back from being more explicit in their delineation of the De Carlo-Poitier relationship." New Yorker commented, "What Mr. Warren was after in his novel was a description of Southern society when slavery was still the order of the day. What we are offered here is a spate of romantic hokum." DV predicted that the film would encounter opposition below the Mason-Dixon Line.
       According to a memo dated 14 Nov 1956 in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the story as originally presented to the PCA was "an unacceptable treatment of illicit sex between the leading characters" because of their master-slave relationship. A certificate of approval was granted only after the scenes containing illicit sex were removed. Location shooting took place near Baton Rouge, LA, on the banks of the Mississippi River, and on two antebellum plantations. A packet boat more than one hundred years old was also used in the film, according to an Aug 1957 BHC item. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
BHC
7 Aug 1957.
---
Box Office
20 Jul 1957.
---
Cue
13 Jul 1957.
---
Daily Variety
14 Sep 1955.
---
Daily Variety
10 Jul 57
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 Jul 57
p. 8.
Harrison's Reports
13 Jul 57
p. 112.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jan 1957
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 57
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 1957
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Mar 57
p. 54.
Hollywood Reporter
10 May 1957
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 57
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
28 Apr 1957.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Aug 1957.
---
Motion Picture Daily
10 Jul 1957.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
13 Jul 57
p. 449.
New York Times
11 Jul 57
p. 21.
New Yorker
20 Jul 1957.
---
The Exhibitor
24 Jul 57
pp. 4358-59.
Variety
10 Jul 57
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Russ Evans
William Hughes
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
WRITERS
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Vocal arr
SOUND
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Dial supv
Clark Gable's French dial coach
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Band of Angels by Robert Penn Warren (New York, 1955).
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 July 1957
Production Date:
14 January--late March 1957
addl scene shot 28 April 1957
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
3 August 1957
Copyright Number:
LP12348
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Warnercolor
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
125 or 127
Length(in feet):
11,436
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18433
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In antebellum Kentucky, the beautiful Amantha "Manty" Starr arrives home from finishing school in Cincinnati just after the death of her father, kindly plantation owner Aaron Starr. During the funeral, it is revealed that Manty's mother, who had died years before, was one of Starr's slaves and that Manty, now considered chattel of the estate, is to be sold by a slave trader to whom Starr had been deeply in debt. At a slave auction in New Orleans, a wealthy gentleman named Hamish Bond pays a huge sum for Manty, intending to treat her as a lady in his household. Because she assumes she is to be a kept woman, however, she rebuffs his offer of friendship. Michele, the head housekeeper, who is herself in love with Hamish, secretly gives Manty a ticket to Cincinnati, but Rau-Ru, an educated slave who helps Hamish manage his business affairs, prevents Manty from boarding the boat. Later Hamish confesses that he is tormented by his past, and Manty, who now sees another side of Hamish, kisses him. The next morning, Hamish takes Manty to his largest plantation and offers to free her. She hesitates but decides to remain with Hamish. Soon afterward, Hamish learns that war has been declared. While he visits another of his plantations, Manty accepts the attentions of his wealthy white neighbor, Charles de Marigny, which leads Rau-Ru to accuse her of betraying her people by attempting to live as a white woman. When de Marigny attacks Manty, however, Rau-Ru strikes him, and subsequently is forced to run away to the North. There he becomes a Union soldier under the command of ... +


In antebellum Kentucky, the beautiful Amantha "Manty" Starr arrives home from finishing school in Cincinnati just after the death of her father, kindly plantation owner Aaron Starr. During the funeral, it is revealed that Manty's mother, who had died years before, was one of Starr's slaves and that Manty, now considered chattel of the estate, is to be sold by a slave trader to whom Starr had been deeply in debt. At a slave auction in New Orleans, a wealthy gentleman named Hamish Bond pays a huge sum for Manty, intending to treat her as a lady in his household. Because she assumes she is to be a kept woman, however, she rebuffs his offer of friendship. Michele, the head housekeeper, who is herself in love with Hamish, secretly gives Manty a ticket to Cincinnati, but Rau-Ru, an educated slave who helps Hamish manage his business affairs, prevents Manty from boarding the boat. Later Hamish confesses that he is tormented by his past, and Manty, who now sees another side of Hamish, kisses him. The next morning, Hamish takes Manty to his largest plantation and offers to free her. She hesitates but decides to remain with Hamish. Soon afterward, Hamish learns that war has been declared. While he visits another of his plantations, Manty accepts the attentions of his wealthy white neighbor, Charles de Marigny, which leads Rau-Ru to accuse her of betraying her people by attempting to live as a white woman. When de Marigny attacks Manty, however, Rau-Ru strikes him, and subsequently is forced to run away to the North. There he becomes a Union soldier under the command of Seth Parton, a self-righteous minister who had courted Manty when she was at finishing school. Hamish returns to the plantation and, in defiance of Union general Benjamin Butler's order, sets his own crops ablaze in order to keep them out of Yankee hands. As his fields burn, Hamish confesses to Manty that in his younger days, he had been a ruthless slave trader. With some reluctance, Manty leaves Hamish to begin a new life in New Orleans, and there she encounters Parton, who threatens to tell her new sweetheart, Ethan Sears, that she is black unless she makes love to him. Horrified, Manty returns to Hamish's New Orleans home, where she learns that he is on the run for burning his crops. Rau-Ru, who despises Hamish for having treated him with kindness, which he calls, "the worst kind of bondage," discovers where his old master is hiding and holds him at gunpoint. When Hamish tells Rau-Ru that he rescued him from a slave trader's bullet when he was an infant, however, Rau-Ru decides to let Hamish go. At that moment, Union troops arrive and Rau-Ru, while loudly proclaiming that he has captured Hamish, quietly slips his former owner the handcuff keys. Hamish escapes from the Union soldiers as Rau-Ru leads Manty to the cove where Hamish plans to rendezvous with an old seafaring friend. Bidding farewell to Rau-Ru, Hamish and Manty embrace and then board the boat that will take them to safety. +

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

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