Tycoon (1947)

126 or 128 mins | Drama | 27 December 1947

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was In the Darkness of the Sun . Contemporary news items and production charts add the following information about the production: RKO borrowed John Wayne from Republic Pictures and clothes designer Michael Woulfe from William Cagney's company for the picture. Maureen O'Hara was the film's original female lead, but was replaced by Laraine Day because of a scheduling conflict. Earle S. Dewey is listed as a cast member, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Although RKO announced in HR that the entire production was to be shot by cameraman George Barnes in RKO's Churubusco Studios near Mexico City, other news items indicate that location shooting was done in Lone Pine and five other points in California's Owens Valley. Barnes was not credited onscreen or in production charts and probably did not participate in the final film. Location filming reportedly broke expenditure records for RKO, with $65,000 being spent for a mock road strip and train tunnel. In addition, a fake mountain was built in Lone Pine, with Mt. Whitney as the backdrop. In mid-Apr 1947, Day "collapsed" during filming in Lone Pine, forcing director Richard Wallace to shoot around her. Modern sources note that the total production cost was $3,209,000, an RKO record, and the film lost $1,035,000 at the box ... More Less

The working title of this film was In the Darkness of the Sun . Contemporary news items and production charts add the following information about the production: RKO borrowed John Wayne from Republic Pictures and clothes designer Michael Woulfe from William Cagney's company for the picture. Maureen O'Hara was the film's original female lead, but was replaced by Laraine Day because of a scheduling conflict. Earle S. Dewey is listed as a cast member, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Although RKO announced in HR that the entire production was to be shot by cameraman George Barnes in RKO's Churubusco Studios near Mexico City, other news items indicate that location shooting was done in Lone Pine and five other points in California's Owens Valley. Barnes was not credited onscreen or in production charts and probably did not participate in the final film. Location filming reportedly broke expenditure records for RKO, with $65,000 being spent for a mock road strip and train tunnel. In addition, a fake mountain was built in Lone Pine, with Mt. Whitney as the backdrop. In mid-Apr 1947, Day "collapsed" during filming in Lone Pine, forcing director Richard Wallace to shoot around her. Modern sources note that the total production cost was $3,209,000, an RKO record, and the film lost $1,035,000 at the box office. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 Nov 1947.
---
Film Daily
3 Dec 47
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 46
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 46
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Sep 46
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Sep 46
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Nov 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jan 47
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 47
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jan 47
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Feb 47
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 47
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 47
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 47
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
2 Nov 1947.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Dec 47
p. 3965.
New York Times
26 Dec 47
p. 22.
Variety
17 Dec 47
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Men's ward
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod asst
Unit mgr
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Assoc col dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Tycoon by C. E. Scoggins (New York, 1934).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
In the Darkness of the Sun
Release Date:
27 December 1947
Production Date:
23 January--28 April 1947
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
Copyright Date:
13 December 1947
Copyright Number:
LP1393
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
126 or 128
Length(in feet):
11,692
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12261
SYNOPSIS

After a rough week of railroad tunnel construction in the remote Andes Mountains, hard-working American engineer Johnny Munroe heads for Tenango, the nearest city, to unwind. While brash Johnny enjoys himself into the morning hours, his older partner, Pop Mathews, discusses the tunnel's progress with Frederick Alexander, the American tycoon who is bankrolling the railroad, and Ricky Vegas, Alexander's engineer nephew. Later, after he has been criticized by the austere Alexander, a half-drunk Johnny follows a beautiful young woman into a church, where Sunday Mass is being celebrated. Although gently rebuffed at the church, Johnny later pursues the woman to her home, and there learns that she is Maura Alexander, his employer's beloved daughter and Ricky's cousin. Following the strict local customs of courtship, Maura, who is equally taken with Johnny, invites him in for a ten-minute chat. When Alexander sees Johnny innocently touching Maura, he throws the engineer out of his home and chastises Maura for associating with a "drunken lout." Maura rejects her father's opinion of Johnny and warns him that she is no longer a child he can control. The next day, Pop informs Johnny that Alexander has turned down their request to add a concrete lining to the tunnel as a safety precaution, and a furious Johnny rushes to Tenango and accuses Alexander of putting his men in jeopardy. Alexander is unmoved by Johnny's tirade and further inflames the situation by making most of the local timber and dynamite unavailable to him. Alexander then sequesters Maura at his country estate and makes plans to take her to Europe. In defiance of her father, Maura follows the advice of her ... +


After a rough week of railroad tunnel construction in the remote Andes Mountains, hard-working American engineer Johnny Munroe heads for Tenango, the nearest city, to unwind. While brash Johnny enjoys himself into the morning hours, his older partner, Pop Mathews, discusses the tunnel's progress with Frederick Alexander, the American tycoon who is bankrolling the railroad, and Ricky Vegas, Alexander's engineer nephew. Later, after he has been criticized by the austere Alexander, a half-drunk Johnny follows a beautiful young woman into a church, where Sunday Mass is being celebrated. Although gently rebuffed at the church, Johnny later pursues the woman to her home, and there learns that she is Maura Alexander, his employer's beloved daughter and Ricky's cousin. Following the strict local customs of courtship, Maura, who is equally taken with Johnny, invites him in for a ten-minute chat. When Alexander sees Johnny innocently touching Maura, he throws the engineer out of his home and chastises Maura for associating with a "drunken lout." Maura rejects her father's opinion of Johnny and warns him that she is no longer a child he can control. The next day, Pop informs Johnny that Alexander has turned down their request to add a concrete lining to the tunnel as a safety precaution, and a furious Johnny rushes to Tenango and accuses Alexander of putting his men in jeopardy. Alexander is unmoved by Johnny's tirade and further inflames the situation by making most of the local timber and dynamite unavailable to him. Alexander then sequesters Maura at his country estate and makes plans to take her to Europe. In defiance of her father, Maura follows the advice of her sympathetic tutor, Miss Ellen Braithwaite, and rides her horse toward Tenango, where Johnny is waiting to meet her. Before she arrives, however, Johnny learns that she has been sent to the country and starts to drive there. Johnny and Maura meet along the road, but while Johnny heads back to town, his jeep runs out of gas. As the day ends, Maura and Johnny try to find their way on foot but become stranded among some Incan ruins. During the night, Alexander and a group of men who have been searching for Maura spot their fire and come upon the couple as they huddle together. Caught in this seemingly compromising situation, Maura and Johnny marry quickly, and Maura moves into Johnny's construction camp home. Johnny is immediately called to the site of a tunnel accident, in which Pop and Ricky are nearly killed. Although Johnny reassures Maura that the tunnel will be finished in three months, Ricky insists that the project will take at least a year. Three months later, the tunnel is still incomplete, and Maura's faith in Johnny begins to crumble. Then, after yet another devastating tunnel collapse, the neglected Maura decides to leave Johnny and return to her father. Devastated by Maura's departure, Johnny becomes obsessed with completing the railroad, but demands that the mountain tunnel be replaced by a river bridge. Alexander reluctantly agrees to Johnny's ambitious plan, in which he promises to finish the bridge with the remainder of the tunnel budget. Johnny's determination to meet his self-imposed deadline soon drives his best crew members to quit and Pop to end their partnership. When confronted by a remorseful Maura, Johnny coldly tells her that he is working only for money now and will continue until he earns enough to "buy" her back from her father. As Alexander had earlier predicted, however, the bridge's future is threatened by the arrival of the rainy season. Before the middle section of the bridge has been inserted, an intense rain storm hits, causing the river water to rise upstream and gather force as it rolls toward the bridge. With the rain waters only hours away, Johnny tries to complete the bridge, but finally gives up when the section becomes stuck and his disgruntled crew quits. Johnny's defeat is soon reversed after Maura and Pop return to camp, and the crew agrees to finish the job. As the wall of water approaches the bridge, Johnny risks his life to drive some train cars onto the still unfinished section to provide ballast. Although the middle section collapses and tumbles into the raging river along with the train, the bridge's foundations remain secure. Later, Alexander admits to a change of heart concerning Johnny and, after giving him and Maura his blessing, leaves for Connecticut with Miss Braithwaite. Maura then insists that Johnny abandon his bridge until they have returned from their long-awaited honeymoon. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.