Hour of the Gun (1967)

101 mins | Western | 4 October 1967

Director:

John Sturges

Writer:

Edward Anhalt

Producer:

John Sturges

Cinematographer:

Lucien Ballard

Editor:

Ferris Webster

Production Designer:

Alfred Ybarra

Production Companies:

Mirisch Corp., Kappa Corp.
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HISTORY

Several contemporary sources, including the 11 Oct 1967 LAT review, noted that Hour of the Gun was a continuation of director John Sturges’s 1957 film, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (see entry), which starred Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas as “Wyatt Earp” and “John ‘Doc’ Holliday.” Sturges’s intention to develop a story based on the events after the legendary 1881 Tombstone, AZ, shootout were reported in the 25 Sep 1963 DV. At the time, sources alternately referred to the title as Law and Tombstone and The Law and Tombstone, and Sturges hoped to have Douglas and Lancaster reprise their roles. Although Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was produced and released through Paramount Pictures, The Law and Tombstone officially began development at the Mirisch Co. shortly after DV’s announcement. Early the next year, a 27 May 1964 Var article noted that Edward Anhalt had signed on to write the script following his collaboration with Sturges on the Mirisch Co.’s The Satan Bug (1965, see entry). Although not corroborated by other sources or credits listed in reviews, a 25 Feb 1965 DV list of acquired properties claimed that the screenplay was based on a historical book by Douglas D. Martin, published in 1951 as Tombstone’s Epitaph.
       On 23 Jul 1966, LAT reported that James Garner had agreed to assume the role of famed lawman Wyatt Earp after starring in Sturges’s The Great Escape (1963, see entry), while Jason Robards, Jr. later stepped in as Doc Holliday.
       Principal photography began ... More Less

Several contemporary sources, including the 11 Oct 1967 LAT review, noted that Hour of the Gun was a continuation of director John Sturges’s 1957 film, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (see entry), which starred Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas as “Wyatt Earp” and “John ‘Doc’ Holliday.” Sturges’s intention to develop a story based on the events after the legendary 1881 Tombstone, AZ, shootout were reported in the 25 Sep 1963 DV. At the time, sources alternately referred to the title as Law and Tombstone and The Law and Tombstone, and Sturges hoped to have Douglas and Lancaster reprise their roles. Although Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was produced and released through Paramount Pictures, The Law and Tombstone officially began development at the Mirisch Co. shortly after DV’s announcement. Early the next year, a 27 May 1964 Var article noted that Edward Anhalt had signed on to write the script following his collaboration with Sturges on the Mirisch Co.’s The Satan Bug (1965, see entry). Although not corroborated by other sources or credits listed in reviews, a 25 Feb 1965 DV list of acquired properties claimed that the screenplay was based on a historical book by Douglas D. Martin, published in 1951 as Tombstone’s Epitaph.
       On 23 Jul 1966, LAT reported that James Garner had agreed to assume the role of famed lawman Wyatt Earp after starring in Sturges’s The Great Escape (1963, see entry), while Jason Robards, Jr. later stepped in as Doc Holliday.
       Principal photography began 9 Nov 1966, as stated in an 18 Nov 1966 DV production chart. According to a 9 Aug 1966 DV item, Sturges felt that the real Tombstone had since become too modern for the nineteenth-century story, so location work was moved to Torreón, Mexico, with interiors completed in Mexico City. A 23 Aug 1970 NYT article also indicated that The Law and Tombstone was one of many motion pictures to shoot in Durango. The 8 Feb 1967 Var stated that filming concluded the weekend of 4-5 Feb 1967, after an earlier 24 Jan 1967 DV report cited a temporary delay due to unexpected snowfall.
       Items in the 22 Nov 1966 DV and 2 Dec 1966 and 6 Dec 1966 LAT noted the involvement of several locals as background actors, including former Hollywood actor Ivan Scott, who had since been working as the proprietor of a Mexico City television repair shop; Rolane Greb, an English teacher from Denver, CO; and Argentina Echavarri, who was cast as the wife of “Vigil Earp.” Jon Voight made his motion picture debut in the role of “Curly Bill Brocious.”
       As the film entered post-production, the title was temporarily changed to Day of the Guns and Hour of the Guns before beginning its official publicity campaign as Hour of the Gun. Additional sources referred to an opening date in San Francisco, CA, on 4 Oct 1967, while the Los Angeles, CA, release followed one week later. The New York City engagement began at several theaters on 1 Nov 1967.
       According to a 15 May 1968 Var article detailing James Garner’s box-office status, returns were apparently low, as Hour of the Gun was included among a group of five recent Garner films that earned combined domestic rentals of just $6.5 million. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Sep 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
25 Feb 1965
p. 10.
Daily Variety
9 Aug 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
9 Nov 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
18 Nov 1966
p. 7.
Daily Variety
22 Nov 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
24 Jan 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 Apr 1967
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
23 Jul 1966
p. 22.
Los Angeles Times
2 Dec 1966
Section D, p. 27.
Los Angeles Times
6 Dec 1966
Section D, p. 25.
Los Angeles Times
20 Dec 1966
Section D, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
10 Sep 1967
Section C, p. 1, 12.
Los Angeles Times
11 Oct 1967
Section C, p. 19.
Los Angeles Times
11 Oct 1967
Section C, p. 21.
New York Times
1 Nov 1967
p. 36.
New York Times
2 Nov 1967
p. 58.
New York Times
23 Aug 1970
Section XX, p. 20.
Variety
9 Oct 1963
p. 4.
Variety
27 May 1964
p. 7.
Variety
8 Feb 1967
p. 20.
Variety
4 Oct 1967
p. 16.
Variety
15 May 1968
p. 78.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXT
A John Sturges Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
Scr supv
Prod secy
Gaffer
Key grip
Constr coordinator
Stills
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Tombstone's Epitaph by Douglas D. Martin (Albuquerque, 1951).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Law and Tombstone
Law and Tombstone
Day of the Guns
Hour of the Guns
Release Date:
4 October 1967
Premiere Information:
San Francisco opening: 4 October 1967
Los Angeles opening: 11 October 1967
New York opening: 1 November 1967
Production Date:
9 November 1966--4 or 5 February 1967
Copyright Claimant:
Mirisch Corp.
Copyright Date:
4 October 1967
Copyright Number:
LP35087
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
101
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In 1888, following the bloody gun battle at the O. K. Corral in Tombstone, cattle rustler Ike Clanton, the man responsible, contrives the arrest of the Earp brothers (Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan) and their whisky-soaked, tubercular friend, Doc Holliday. The murder charge is dismissed, however, and young Virgil consents to run for city marshal; but Clanton's henchmen trap and badly wound him. Morgan is killed when he volunteers to take his crippled brother's place on the ballot. As Wyatt, accompanied by Doc, is escorting Virgil and their dead brother back to the Earp homestead in California, he receives a telegram informing him that he has been appointed Federal marshal. Doc assists in forming an authorized posse, and they set out after Clanton. On the trip, Wyatt picks off Clanton's men one by one with such coldblooded indifference that even Doc is shocked by his friend's disregard for human life. Suffering a hemorrhage, Doc is forced to admit himself to a sanitorium, but Wyatt continues on to Mexico, where Clanton is now engaged in a new cattle-rustling enterprise. Eventually Wyatt traps his prey in a small village and kills him. Having evened the score, he returns for a farewell visit with Doc. As Wyatt leaves the deathbed, he removes his gun and cartridge belt, stows them in his saddle bag, and vows never to be a lawman ... +


In 1888, following the bloody gun battle at the O. K. Corral in Tombstone, cattle rustler Ike Clanton, the man responsible, contrives the arrest of the Earp brothers (Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan) and their whisky-soaked, tubercular friend, Doc Holliday. The murder charge is dismissed, however, and young Virgil consents to run for city marshal; but Clanton's henchmen trap and badly wound him. Morgan is killed when he volunteers to take his crippled brother's place on the ballot. As Wyatt, accompanied by Doc, is escorting Virgil and their dead brother back to the Earp homestead in California, he receives a telegram informing him that he has been appointed Federal marshal. Doc assists in forming an authorized posse, and they set out after Clanton. On the trip, Wyatt picks off Clanton's men one by one with such coldblooded indifference that even Doc is shocked by his friend's disregard for human life. Suffering a hemorrhage, Doc is forced to admit himself to a sanitorium, but Wyatt continues on to Mexico, where Clanton is now engaged in a new cattle-rustling enterprise. Eventually Wyatt traps his prey in a small village and kills him. Having evened the score, he returns for a farewell visit with Doc. As Wyatt leaves the deathbed, he removes his gun and cartridge belt, stows them in his saddle bag, and vows never to be a lawman again. +

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

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