Under Two Flags (1936)

110-111 mins | Adventure | 1 May 1936

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HISTORY

The novel originally appeared in the summer of 1867 in New London , a British military magazine, before it was published in book form in Dec 1867. Since 1870, a number of plays have been produced that were based on the novel. The Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library contains a statement noting that the most important dramatization had been written by Paul Potter and originally produced in New York on 21 Jan 1901 and that a play by Edward Elsner had also been produced. The legal department cautioned the producers of the film that care should be taken to avoid the use of any material in previous copyrighted dramatizations. According to a HR news item dated 1 Apr 1935, Universal Pictures, which, at that time, owned the motion picture rights to the play, was preparing to make the film. Fox, before they merged with Twentieth Century Pictures, then purchased the motion picture rights to the novel from Universal for $25,000 in May 1935, according to the legal records. Winfield R. Sheehan, at the time Fox's vice-president in charge of production, planned to produce the film. Sheehan subsequently left the company shortly after they merged with Twentieth Century.
       Twentieth Century-Fox planned to have Simone Simon make her American screen debut in the role of "Cigarette," according to a NYT article. Earlier, she had been scheduled to debut in A Message to Garcia , but had been replaced by Rita Cansino (later known as Rita Hayworth), who subsequently herself was replaced by Barbara Stanwyck. According to NYT , after two weeks of shooting in ... More Less

The novel originally appeared in the summer of 1867 in New London , a British military magazine, before it was published in book form in Dec 1867. Since 1870, a number of plays have been produced that were based on the novel. The Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library contains a statement noting that the most important dramatization had been written by Paul Potter and originally produced in New York on 21 Jan 1901 and that a play by Edward Elsner had also been produced. The legal department cautioned the producers of the film that care should be taken to avoid the use of any material in previous copyrighted dramatizations. According to a HR news item dated 1 Apr 1935, Universal Pictures, which, at that time, owned the motion picture rights to the play, was preparing to make the film. Fox, before they merged with Twentieth Century Pictures, then purchased the motion picture rights to the novel from Universal for $25,000 in May 1935, according to the legal records. Winfield R. Sheehan, at the time Fox's vice-president in charge of production, planned to produce the film. Sheehan subsequently left the company shortly after they merged with Twentieth Century.
       Twentieth Century-Fox planned to have Simone Simon make her American screen debut in the role of "Cigarette," according to a NYT article. Earlier, she had been scheduled to debut in A Message to Garcia , but had been replaced by Rita Cansino (later known as Rita Hayworth), who subsequently herself was replaced by Barbara Stanwyck. According to NYT , after two weeks of shooting in the studio on this film, director Frank Lloyd, unhappy with Simon's temperamental attitude and wary of what might happen with her during location shooting in the desert, demanded that she be fired. The studio acceded to his wishes, the footage shot with her was scrapped, and after Claudette Colbert was hired to replace her at a substantially higher salary, press reports were sent out stating that Simon was leaving the picture because of illness, according to NYT . According to the legal records, the insurance company Lloyd's of London paid the studio $115,000 for a release from all claims due to the illness of Simon, delays or additional expenses incurred in substituting Colbert.
       According to a news item, a ten-acre Arabian desert village was built on the Twentieth Century-Fox Westwood lot, and the battle sequences were filmed in the California-Arizona desert eighteen miles from Yuma using Hollywood extras, local cowpunchers and Yuma Indians. News items noted that the company planned to spend forty-two days shooting at Palm Springs, CA and Yuma. According to the legal records, some shooting also took place at Palm Canyon, CA. According to a HR news item, at the end of 1935, the unit at Palm Springs split into four parts briefly: Frank Lloyd directed Ronald Colman and Victor McLaglen at Palm Canyon; Ad Schaumer directed Simone Simon at Indio; Ben Silvey directed a third unit; and Jasper Blystone directed process shots at La Quinta. A NYT news item called the production "the most expensive location trip to emerge from Hollywood in ten years." NYT estimated that the cost of the film, which was budgeted at $1,250,000, would probably rise to $1,500,000 before its completion. Otto Brower, who directed the battle scenes in the desert, was known for having earlier directed serials. According to news items, the desert set was near the site where Beau Geste , produced in 1926 by Famous Players-Lasky (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.0307), was filmed, and that Selznick International's The Garden of Allah , filmed later in 1936 (see above), was filmed at the same location. A DV news item noted that 212 war veterans were signed to play a Foreign Legion regiment.
       According to publicity for the film, during one scene in which Steve Clemente, a Yaqui Indian professional knife-thrower, was supposed to hit a post next to Ronald Colman, the crowding in of extras caused the knife to be deflected, and Colman was hit in the chest with the handle. In her autobiography, Rosalind Russell states that she did not meet Colbert during the production; however, in the film, she can be seen in shots together with Colbert. News items from Jun and Jul 1935 stated that Warner Baxter, Bill Robinson, Slim Summerville and Edward Everett Horton were to be in the film, but they ultimately were not involved in the production. According to a NYT news item, both John Ford and Frank Lloyd were outraged that Darryl Zanuck cut their films, The Prisoner of Shark Island and this one, respectively, and declared that they would never go to the Twentieth Century-Fox lot again. While Ford subsequently did direct for Twentieth Century-Fox, Lloyd did not. Other films based on the same source include the 1916 Fox Film Corp. production directed by J. Gordon Edwards and starring Theda Bara, and the 1922 film produced by Universal, directed by Tod Browning and starring Priscilla Dean (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.4648 and AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.5949). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
23 May 1936.
---
Daily Variety
18 Dec 1935.
---
Daily Variety
28-Dec-35
---
Daily Variety
23 Apr 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
28 Apr 36
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Apr 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 35
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jul 35
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Dec 35
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jan 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 36
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 36
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Apr 36
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 36
sect. II, p. 69.
Motion Picture Daily
9 Apr 36
pp. 3-10.
Motion Picture Daily
25 Apr 36
p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald
14 Mar 36
pp. 16-17.
Motion Picture Herald
25 Apr 36
p. 45.
Motion Picture Herald
9 May 36
p. 39.
New York Times
2 Feb 1936.
---
New York Times
19 Apr 1936.
---
New York Times
1 May 36
p. 19.
Variety
6 May 36
p. 18.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Cliff Smith
Tommy Brown
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Darryl F. Zanuck Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Battle seqs dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir on battle seq
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Addl dial
Contr to scr const
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Battle seqs photog
Process photog
2d cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Spec eff
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Settings
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst cutter
Ed asst
Ed asst
SET DECORATOR
Set dresser
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Sd eff
Asst sd
Boom man
Cable man
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
Scr clerk
Grip
Props
Research work
Horseman
Camel man
Best boy
Loc mgr
Casting dept
Insert car
Prod crew
Still photog
STAND INS
Riding and falling double for Miss Colbert
Riding and falling double for Mr. Colman
Riding double for Mr. McLaglen
Double for Mr. McLaglen
Stand-in for Miss Colbert
Stand-in for Mr. Colman
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Under Two Flags by Ouida (London, 1867).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"One-Two-Three-Four (Hey)," music by Sidney D. Mitchell, lyrics by Sidney D. Mitchell
"Les trois capitaines," traditional.
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 May 1936
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 30 April 1936
Production Date:
28 December 1935--5 March 1936
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 May 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6595
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
110-111
Length(in feet):
10,039
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1977
SYNOPSIS

At the turn of the century in southern Algeria, a French Algerian cafe hostess named Cigarette, whom British Major L. C. Doyle wants to marry, flirts with Corporal Victor, who saved his convoy from an attack by the rebel chieftain Sidi-Ben Youssiff, but Victor ignores her. After Victor is promoted to sergeant, he sees Cigarette try to swindle a British officer in a horse deal and wagers a bottle of wine to a kiss that he can beat Cigarette racing. After he wins, Victor further antagonizes Cigarette by offering his horse for her to kiss. She then rides into the desert, he follows, they kiss and she confesses her love for him. Victor meets Lady Venetia Cunningham, the niece of the British commissioner, and after showing her the Arab village, he invites her late at night to a nearby oasis. Although she initially refuses, she arrives later and spends the night with him, while Cigarette, greatly upset, waits up all night. After chieftain Ben Hamidou, who sides with the British, is murdered by chieftains loyal to Sidi-Ben Youssiff, war is declared. Before the troops leave, Victor learns that Lady Venetia is the niece of the visiting Lord Seraph. Worried that Lord Seraph will recognize the little wooden horse which Victor gave Lady Venetia, Victor sneaks into Lady Venetia's room to retrieve it. They confess their love for each other, but Victor reveals that he will be sent to prison if he returns to England. Meanwhile, Doyle, now a colonel, learns that Cigarette, who jealousy witnessed Victor and Lady Venetia's goodbye kiss, loves Victor. After the battalion leaves, Lord Seraph discovers the ... +


At the turn of the century in southern Algeria, a French Algerian cafe hostess named Cigarette, whom British Major L. C. Doyle wants to marry, flirts with Corporal Victor, who saved his convoy from an attack by the rebel chieftain Sidi-Ben Youssiff, but Victor ignores her. After Victor is promoted to sergeant, he sees Cigarette try to swindle a British officer in a horse deal and wagers a bottle of wine to a kiss that he can beat Cigarette racing. After he wins, Victor further antagonizes Cigarette by offering his horse for her to kiss. She then rides into the desert, he follows, they kiss and she confesses her love for him. Victor meets Lady Venetia Cunningham, the niece of the British commissioner, and after showing her the Arab village, he invites her late at night to a nearby oasis. Although she initially refuses, she arrives later and spends the night with him, while Cigarette, greatly upset, waits up all night. After chieftain Ben Hamidou, who sides with the British, is murdered by chieftains loyal to Sidi-Ben Youssiff, war is declared. Before the troops leave, Victor learns that Lady Venetia is the niece of the visiting Lord Seraph. Worried that Lord Seraph will recognize the little wooden horse which Victor gave Lady Venetia, Victor sneaks into Lady Venetia's room to retrieve it. They confess their love for each other, but Victor reveals that he will be sent to prison if he returns to England. Meanwhile, Doyle, now a colonel, learns that Cigarette, who jealousy witnessed Victor and Lady Venetia's goodbye kiss, loves Victor. After the battalion leaves, Lord Seraph discovers the wooden horse and tells Lady Venetia that the horse was once given to him by Rafe Brett, a popular officer who disappeared after taking the blame for an accident committed by his younger brother, and who since has been cleared completely. Lady Venetia confronts Cigarette, and learning that Doyle has been sending Victor on extremely dangerous missions to get him killed, she asks Cigarette to save him. She refuses, knowing that Victor loves Lady Venetia. Meanwhile, Doyle, uncomfortable with his actions against Victor, orders his battalion to rescue Victor and his men. During a battle, Doyle is shot in the shoulder, and afterward, with the battalion surrounded, Victor tells him that he does not love Cigarette. After Victor meets with Sidi-Ben Youssiff to stall for time, Cigarette brings French troops to attack, and during the battle she is shot. As she dies in Victor's arms, he says he will always remember their day in the desert and kisses her. The revolt is prevented, and Cigarette is given an honored burial at the post. +

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

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