Lone Star (1952)

93-95 mins | Drama | 8 February 1952

Director:

Vincent Sherman

Writer:

Borden Chase

Producer:

Z. Wayne Griffin

Cinematographer:

Harold Rosson

Editor:

Ferris Webster

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Hans Peters

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The onscreen writing credits read as follows: "Screen play by Borden Chase from the magazine story by Borden Chase based on the screen story of Howard Estabrook." Following the opening credits, a written prologue establishes the date as 1843 and describes the situation in Texas to that point. According to an 18 Jan 1951 HR news item, Lone Star was to be the initial offering of Hudson Pictures, a company formed by actor Clark Gable and producer Z. Wayne Griffin. A 9 Feb 1951 news item reported that the production package was "the industry's biggest single package deal in several years." When M-G-M took over the project, the article continued, the package was sold to M-G-M "lock, stock and barrel" for $300,000, retaining Griffin as producer and Gable as star.
       Although a typed copy of Chase's original story, contained in the M-G-M story files at the USC Cinema-Television Library, was hand-marked "S.E.P.," the story was not published in The Saturday Evening Post and its only known publication was as a full-length novel released shortly after the film. The story files for Lone Star did not mention Estabrook, and the extent of his contribution to Chase's story is unknown.
       HR news items indicate that Jeff Richards, John Konorez and Emelio Blanco were cast, but Richards was not in the film and the appearance of Konorez and Blanco has not been confirmed. Portions of the film were shot on location in Texas, according to news items and reviews.
       An article in LAT on 9 Feb 1952 reported that M-G-M production head Dore Schary had filed suit ... More Less

The onscreen writing credits read as follows: "Screen play by Borden Chase from the magazine story by Borden Chase based on the screen story of Howard Estabrook." Following the opening credits, a written prologue establishes the date as 1843 and describes the situation in Texas to that point. According to an 18 Jan 1951 HR news item, Lone Star was to be the initial offering of Hudson Pictures, a company formed by actor Clark Gable and producer Z. Wayne Griffin. A 9 Feb 1951 news item reported that the production package was "the industry's biggest single package deal in several years." When M-G-M took over the project, the article continued, the package was sold to M-G-M "lock, stock and barrel" for $300,000, retaining Griffin as producer and Gable as star.
       Although a typed copy of Chase's original story, contained in the M-G-M story files at the USC Cinema-Television Library, was hand-marked "S.E.P.," the story was not published in The Saturday Evening Post and its only known publication was as a full-length novel released shortly after the film. The story files for Lone Star did not mention Estabrook, and the extent of his contribution to Chase's story is unknown.
       HR news items indicate that Jeff Richards, John Konorez and Emelio Blanco were cast, but Richards was not in the film and the appearance of Konorez and Blanco has not been confirmed. Portions of the film were shot on location in Texas, according to news items and reviews.
       An article in LAT on 9 Feb 1952 reported that M-G-M production head Dore Schary had filed suit in the amount of $1,250,000 against the Wage Earners Committee of the United States of America after the committee had picketed the film's premiere the previous day, advising the public not to see the film. Picketers identified Schary by name as a Communist and "urged the public not to patronize the film...and attempted to refer the public to Congressional and State legislative committee reports concerning subversive activities in Hollywood." The article went on to report that the suit was similar to one filed the previous month by producer Stanley Kramer. No information on the disposition of the suit has been located.
       Although the film's main characters, "Devereaux Burke," "Thomas Craden" and "Martha Ronda" were fictional, some of characters, including Sam Houston, Anson Jones and President Andrew Jackson were actual historical figures who were instrumental in the annexation of the Republic of Texas by the United States. The film’s prologue indicates that the story begins in 1843, however, the actual historical events depicted took place in 1844 and 1845.
       As dramatized in the film, the Republic of Texas, of which Sam Houston was the first president, considered signing a treaty with Mexico but ultimately voted for anexation by the United States. Annexation precipitated a war with Mexico from 1845 to 1848. Anson Jones was the second President of the Republic and Texas' first state governor. For additional information on the same historical period, please see entry for the 1939 Republic film Man of Conquest ( AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ).
       Broderick Crawford was loaned from Columbia for the production. Gable and Ava Gardner had earlier appeared in the 1947 M-G-M film The Hucksters (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). They made one additional film together, Mogambo , also by M-G-M, released in 1953 (see above). Aside from a brief role playing himself in M-G-M's 1953 release From Main Street to Broadway (see above), Lionel Barrymore (1878--1954) made his last screen appearance in Lone Star . Barrymore, who died on 15 Nov 1954, was a member of the famous stage family of actors that included his sister Ethel and brother John, began his film career as both an actor and director in the 1910s. He was under contract to M-G-M from the mid-1920s and appeared in scores of films. Barrymore had previously portrayed Andrew Jackson in the 1936 M-G-M production The Gorgeous Hussy . Beulah Bondi, who portrayed the ficticious "Minniver Bryan," an "old friend" of Jackson's in Lone Star , portrayed his wife Rachel in The Gorgeous Hussy (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
22 Dec 1951.
---
Daily Variety
19 Dec 1951
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 Jan 1952
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jan 1951
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Feb 1951
p. 1, 7.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 1951
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 1951
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
16 May 1951
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 1951
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 1951
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 1951
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 1951
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 1951
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 1951
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
9 Feb 1952.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Nov 1954
p. 1.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
22 Dec 1951
p. 1161.
New York Times
31 Jan 1952
p. 23.
New York Times
2 Feb 1952
p. 11.
Time
21 Jan 1952.
---
Variety
19 Dec 1951
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Based on the scr story by
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
SOUND
Rec supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Mont seq
MAKEUP
Hair styles des
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on a short story by Borden Chase (publication undetermined).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Lovers Were Meant to Cry," music and lyrics by Earl Brent and Charles Wolcott.
DETAILS
Release Date:
8 February 1952
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 31 January 1952
Production Date:
16 May--late June 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
18 December 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1383
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93-95
Length(in feet):
8,496
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15392
SYNOPSIS

In 1843, former president Andrew Jackson asks Texas cattleman and long-time compatriot Devereaux Burke to help prevent the Republic of Texas from signing a treaty with Mexico and, instead, agree to annexation by the United States. Dev claims that he now has no interest in politics, but agrees to help Jackson, who fears that the treaty will undermine the Union, if he is awarded the contract to supply beef for troops needed in a possible war with Mexico. Jackson agrees and asks Dev to find Texas pioneer Sam Houston, who has recently spoken against annexation but is now living among the Indians. Jackson also warns Dev about opposition leader Thomas Craden, a wealthy Austin rancher. On his way to Austin, where he is to meet Jackson’s loyal old friend, Minniver Bryan, Dev is attacked by Comanche and is only able to save himself with the aid of a passing rider. Dev, who does not mention his name, is startled when the stranger, whom he immediately likes, says that he is Tom Craden. The two arrive in Austin just as Luther Kilgore, a close friend of Dev and Jackson, is making an impassioned speech against the Mexican treaty. In order to defray the growing antagonism in the crowd, Dev shoots Luther in the arm. Tom, who is impressed by Dev’s action, introduces him to Martha Ronda, a Texas patriot who runs the Austin newspaper and is loved by Tom. Dev is immediately attracted to Martha, but she seems uninterested and later warns Tom that she is suspicious of his new friend. Meanwhile, Dev finds Minnie, who tells him that twelve ... +


In 1843, former president Andrew Jackson asks Texas cattleman and long-time compatriot Devereaux Burke to help prevent the Republic of Texas from signing a treaty with Mexico and, instead, agree to annexation by the United States. Dev claims that he now has no interest in politics, but agrees to help Jackson, who fears that the treaty will undermine the Union, if he is awarded the contract to supply beef for troops needed in a possible war with Mexico. Jackson agrees and asks Dev to find Texas pioneer Sam Houston, who has recently spoken against annexation but is now living among the Indians. Jackson also warns Dev about opposition leader Thomas Craden, a wealthy Austin rancher. On his way to Austin, where he is to meet Jackson’s loyal old friend, Minniver Bryan, Dev is attacked by Comanche and is only able to save himself with the aid of a passing rider. Dev, who does not mention his name, is startled when the stranger, whom he immediately likes, says that he is Tom Craden. The two arrive in Austin just as Luther Kilgore, a close friend of Dev and Jackson, is making an impassioned speech against the Mexican treaty. In order to defray the growing antagonism in the crowd, Dev shoots Luther in the arm. Tom, who is impressed by Dev’s action, introduces him to Martha Ronda, a Texas patriot who runs the Austin newspaper and is loved by Tom. Dev is immediately attracted to Martha, but she seems uninterested and later warns Tom that she is suspicious of his new friend. Meanwhile, Dev finds Minnie, who tells him that twelve of his men are in town. Dev reveals his mission to the men, promising each $5,000 for joining the cause. Several offer to work for free, but Dev insists that he wants no “glory-getters.” That night, Dev attends a formal dinner at Tom’s hacienda. Martha acts as hostess to the Texas senators whom Tom is trying to persuade to switch sides and oppose annexation. After dinner, Tom tells the senators that Mexico has promised California to Texas and reveals his dream of having Texas become the largest republic in the world. Senator Claude Anthony Demmet is so incensed by Tom’s revelation that he starts to leave, but Tom stops him, insisting that the senators will be his “guests” until after the treaty is signed. The senators ask for satisfaction from Tom, with Demmet the first to confront him with a dueling pistol. Although Tom could easily kill the senator after Demmet’s shot only grazes him, Tom fires into the air. Martha is proud of Tom, but when she is alone with Dev realizes her attraction to him and they kiss. Not wanting to betray Tom’s hospitality, Dev leaves and later relates what has happened to Minnie, who warns him that Martha will not return his feelings if she finds out what side he is on. That same night, after informing his men that he is going to look for Houston, Dev returns to Tom’s hacienda and tells the senators to leave. Tom allows them to go, after which Dev reveals his true identity and confesses that he had earlier kissed Martha. Tom lets Dev leave, but Martha is so enraged to learn Dev’s true identity that she urges Tom to go after him. Dev is able to elude Tom and his men by crossing the river into Apache territory, where he is lead to Houston’s camp. When Dev tells Houston that the treaty with Mexico is soon to be passed, in part because Houston seemingly endorsed it, Houston assures Dev that he was merely trying to spur annexation supporters into action. Just then Tom finds his way into camp and accuses Houston of betraying the Republic. Houston then writes a letter for Dev to deliver to current Texas president Anson Jones, informing him of Houston’s opposition to the treaty. Tom leaves before Dev, and gathers his men on the other side of the river to ambush him. Dev pretends to fall off his horse, then escapes downstream to surprise Tom’s men. Although Dev has a clear shot at Tom, who has lost his gun, Dev does not kill him. Dev then rides to see Martha, and shows her the envelope containing Houston’s letter. He tells her to tear it up if she wants, but she cannot, and the pair share a passionate kiss. The next morning, Martha reads an eastern newspaper story about the scandal surrounding Dev’s contract for providing beef to the Union. Now convinced that Dev is an opportunist, she goes to President Jones. Dev arrives a moment later with the letter, but when he opens the envelope, discovers that the ink smeared when he fell into the river. Although Jones is willing to wait for Houston before bringing up the treaty in the legislature, Martha tells him about Dev’s beef contract, and Jones decides not to delay. While Dev confers with Minnie and his men, Martha prints a story in her newspaper announcing Houston’s endorsement of annexation, and later tells Jones and Dev that she has confirmed it is true. When Tom reads the article, he fears that the treaty will not be ratified and gathers supporters to storm Austin. Upon learning of Tom’s plans, Dev becomes incensed and organizes the town to make a stand against him. As the legislature prepares to vote, Tom’s men ride into town and a furious battle ensues. Tom’s men break through the barricades and are ready to storm the legislature when Houston arrives with a large contingency of Indians. Tom loudly accuses Houston of selling out Texas, prompting Dev to fight him. During the fight, Tom returns Dev’s earlier favor by sparing his life, but is finally bested by Dev. With annexation now a certainty, Houston warns that Mexican troops will attack and announces that the Americans are coming to their aid. Before joining the fight, Dev kisses Martha, and Tom joins his fellow Texans by carrying their flag into battle. +

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

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