California (1947)

97-98 mins | Western | 21 February 1947

Director:

John Farrow

Producer:

Seton I. Miller

Cinematographer:

Ray Rennahan

Editor:

Eda Warren

Production Designers:

Hans Dreier, Roland Anderson

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

According to HR pre-production news items, screenwriter Albert Hackett was originally scheduled to direct and write this film, but was later replaced. Hackett remained a screenwriter and never did direct a feature film. In Jun and Jul 1945, Alan Ladd and Betty Hutton were scheduled to star in the film. By Sep 1945, Hutton had declined the role in order to go on her honeymoon. Ladd was suspended by Paramount as of 22 Aug 1945 for refusing to report for preparatory work on the film after studio heads refused him more money. By early Nov 1945, Ladd and the studio settled their dispute, but Ray Milland had already been put into the film. HR also reported that Victor McLaglen was slated for a role as a "heavy" in this film.
       Portions of California were shot in Flagstaff and Cameron, AZ, at the Iverson Ranch near Chatsworth, CA, and in Calabasas, CA. As reported in HR on 1 Mar 1946, scenic California locations were shot in early Mar 1946 for scenes illustrating the lyrics of introductory music for montages in the film. Among the montage locations were: the Monterey coastline, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, highway scenes of California redwood forests, the San Juan Capistrano Mission, orange groves at San Bernardino, wild flowers near Bakersfield, the snow-capped mountains of Mount Whitney, San Jacinto and Mount Baldy, peach and apple orchards at Santa Clara and Santa Rosa, and vegetable fields at Bakersfield and in the Imperial Valley. According to an article in the NYT on 13 Jan 1946, Paramount recreated a vineyard at ... More Less

According to HR pre-production news items, screenwriter Albert Hackett was originally scheduled to direct and write this film, but was later replaced. Hackett remained a screenwriter and never did direct a feature film. In Jun and Jul 1945, Alan Ladd and Betty Hutton were scheduled to star in the film. By Sep 1945, Hutton had declined the role in order to go on her honeymoon. Ladd was suspended by Paramount as of 22 Aug 1945 for refusing to report for preparatory work on the film after studio heads refused him more money. By early Nov 1945, Ladd and the studio settled their dispute, but Ray Milland had already been put into the film. HR also reported that Victor McLaglen was slated for a role as a "heavy" in this film.
       Portions of California were shot in Flagstaff and Cameron, AZ, at the Iverson Ranch near Chatsworth, CA, and in Calabasas, CA. As reported in HR on 1 Mar 1946, scenic California locations were shot in early Mar 1946 for scenes illustrating the lyrics of introductory music for montages in the film. Among the montage locations were: the Monterey coastline, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, highway scenes of California redwood forests, the San Juan Capistrano Mission, orange groves at San Bernardino, wild flowers near Bakersfield, the snow-capped mountains of Mount Whitney, San Jacinto and Mount Baldy, peach and apple orchards at Santa Clara and Santa Rosa, and vegetable fields at Bakersfield and in the Imperial Valley. According to an article in the NYT on 13 Jan 1946, Paramount recreated a vineyard at Brent's Crags, CA. According to NYT , vintage Conestoga wagons were used in the film. According to Par News , at the advice of Dr. John Walton Caughey, UCLA history professor, no white-faced Hereford cattle were used in the film because they were not bred in the United States until after the 1840s. The amethyst tiara and necklace worn by Barbara Stanwyck in the film were heirlooms of director John Farrow.
       According to a 22 Mar 1946 HR news item, because 1946 marked the centennial of the United States' seizure of California from Mexico, Farrow arranged an advance showing of this film in Sacramento for California Governor Earl Warren, heads of the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, and other state leaders. The date of the actual preview was not found, but on 27 Jan 1947, DV reported that California historical societies were angered that Paramount had held the film's premiere in New York (on 14 Jan 1947), particularly because California was preparing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of gold in Northern California and its adoption into statehood. Paramount reportedly held a special premiere in Monterey, CA two weeks after the New York premiere in response to the protest. Ray Milland and Lizabeth Scott appeared in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of California on 30 Jan 1950. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Dec 1946.
---
Daily Variety
16 Dec 46
pp. 3, 14
Daily Variety
23 Jan 1947.
---
Daily Variety
27 Jan 1947.
---
Film Daily
19 Dec 46
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jan 1945.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 45
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Aug 1945.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 45
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 45
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 45
p. 1, 3
Hollywood Reporter
15 Nov 45
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Nov 45
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 46
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jan 46
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 46
p. 13, 24
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 46
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 46
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 46
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jan 47
p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
21 Dec 46
p. 3373.
New York Times
30 Sep 1945.
---
New York Times
13 Jan 1946.
---
New York Times
15 Jan 47
p. 31.
Variety
18 Dec 46
p. 14.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Gertrude Hoffman
William Hunter
Fredric Santley
William Hall
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A John Farrow Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Ed supv
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Women's cost
Men's cost
MUSIC
Mus score
Vocal arr
Mus assoc
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Asst spec photog eff, Miniatures
Asst spec optical eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Gardener
Loc scout and prod aide to John Farrow
Research dir
Research asst
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"Lily-I-Lay-De-O," "I Shoulda Stood in Massachusetts," "Said I to My Heart," "Carmela," "Gold Rush" and "California or Bust," music by Earl Robinson, lyrics by E. Y. Harburg.
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 February 1947
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 14 January 1947
Monterey, CA premiere: 27 January 1947
Production Date:
23 November 1945--1 February 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
21 February 1947
Copyright Number:
LP860
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
97-98
Length(in feet):
8,760
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11220
SYNOPSIS

During the California gold rush, a wagon train guided by ex-Army lieutenant Jonathan Trumbo, a deserter, stops in a small town, where Lily Bishop, a woman traveling alone, is thrown out of the saloon and accused of cheating at poker. Lil asks to join the wagon train, but because Trumbo refuses to take her, kindly old farmer Michael Fabian invites her to ride with him. Throughout the journey, Trumbo is unkind to Lil and she is snubbed by the women. When Lil beats Trumbo at poker one night, he accuses her of cheating. Later he kisses her, but she swears revenge. When news arrives that gold has been found in California, the pioneers abandon their goods and hurry West, and Lil leaves with a rough man named Booth Pennock, determined to make her own fortune. Trumbo tries to apologize to Lil, but Pennock whips him as they ride out. Fabian nurses Trumbo's shoulder and drives him West. Some time later they arrive in Pharaoh City, run by ex-slave trader Pharaoh Coffin, who is determined to make California an independent nation state so that he can rule. In the Golden Lily Saloon, owned by Lil, a farmer named Whitey tells Trumbo that Coffin has been forcing the farmers off their land by charging exorbitant prices for water and protection. Lil rescues Trumbo from a brawl with Pike, Coffin's henchman, but when Trumbo awakens, Lil warns him never to set foot in her saloon again. Later, Trumbo wins Lil's saloon at poker. After he resists Coffin's orders to join his gang, Trumbo is beaten and put on a horse, and following his rescue by ... +


During the California gold rush, a wagon train guided by ex-Army lieutenant Jonathan Trumbo, a deserter, stops in a small town, where Lily Bishop, a woman traveling alone, is thrown out of the saloon and accused of cheating at poker. Lil asks to join the wagon train, but because Trumbo refuses to take her, kindly old farmer Michael Fabian invites her to ride with him. Throughout the journey, Trumbo is unkind to Lil and she is snubbed by the women. When Lil beats Trumbo at poker one night, he accuses her of cheating. Later he kisses her, but she swears revenge. When news arrives that gold has been found in California, the pioneers abandon their goods and hurry West, and Lil leaves with a rough man named Booth Pennock, determined to make her own fortune. Trumbo tries to apologize to Lil, but Pennock whips him as they ride out. Fabian nurses Trumbo's shoulder and drives him West. Some time later they arrive in Pharaoh City, run by ex-slave trader Pharaoh Coffin, who is determined to make California an independent nation state so that he can rule. In the Golden Lily Saloon, owned by Lil, a farmer named Whitey tells Trumbo that Coffin has been forcing the farmers off their land by charging exorbitant prices for water and protection. Lil rescues Trumbo from a brawl with Pike, Coffin's henchman, but when Trumbo awakens, Lil warns him never to set foot in her saloon again. Later, Trumbo wins Lil's saloon at poker. After he resists Coffin's orders to join his gang, Trumbo is beaten and put on a horse, and following his rescue by two Mexicans, he vows revenge. Meanwhile, Lil moves into Coffin's hacienda. Hoping to convince the state's politicians to resist statehood, Coffin hosts a fiesta, while secretly planning an armed seizure of government property. When Trumbo warns an army captain about the seizure, he is reminded that, as a deserter, he could be court-martialed if Coffin proves to be innocent. Trumbo is given ninety days to find a spokesman for California statehood to appear at the Monterey Convention, where he will be elected as the state's advocate, and the issue of statehood will be decided. Trumbo picks Fabian, and he is elected spokesman. Although Lil warns Fabian that he will be killed if he contravenes Coffin, he gives a speech indicting Coffin for trying to make California an "independent empire." One of Coffin's men tries to shoot Fabian, but a loyal farmer takes the bullet. After Trumbo shoots the assailant, Coffin's supporters abandon him, and Lil sees his treachery for the first time. The next morning, at his hacienda, Coffin asks a padre to marry him and Lil, but she has fled to warn Fabian. She is too late, however, as Fabian is killed in his vineyard by Coffin's gang before Trumbo and his posse arrive. At the hacienda, Trumbo finds Coffin hallucinating that the slaves on his ship have freed themselves and are about to kill him. Lil shoots Coffin and saves Trumbo. Later, they visit Fabian's grave, where Trumbo tells Lil that he will return to the army, and she promises she will wait for him. +

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

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