Blowing Wild (1953)

89-90 mins | Adventure, Romance | 17 October 1953

Director:

Hugo Fregonese

Writer:

Philip Yordan

Producer:

Milton Sperling

Cinematographer:

Sid Hickox

Production Designers:

Alfred Ybarra, Edward Fitzgerald

Production Company:

United States Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The song "Blowing Wild (The Ballad of Black Gold)" is sung by Frankie Laine intermittently throughout the film. Although the film was shot at the Churubusco Studios and on location in Mexico, a Jun 1948 LAT news item reported that producer Milton Sperling had shot backgrounds in South America. It has not been determined if this footage was used in the final film. At that time, according to the news item, Sperling wanted Robert Mitchum and Joel McCrea to star in the film. A Dec 1952 HR news item reported that director Hugo Fregonese scouted Vera Cruz for location sites, but it has not been determined if filming took place there. McClure Merrick's name is misspelled "McCluer" in the opening onscreen credits. Although the character played by Anthony Quinn is listed as "Ward" in the CBCS and NYT review, he is called "Paco" throughout the film. Feb and Mar HR news items add Mickey Simpson, Luis Madero, Tito Junco, Ernesto Casteras and Jorge Treviño to the cast, but their appearance in the film has not been confirmed. A modern source adds Juan García and Carlos Riquelme to the cast. Although copyright records and reviews place the story in Mexico, and as noted, the picture was shot in Mexico, the viewed print contained a title card, placed after the credits, setting the story in South America. According to an Apr 1954 Var article, Mexican officials initially banned Blowing Wild and demanded that cuts be made, as they felt that the picture portrayed Mexicans unfavorably. Although Mexican officials had approved the film's script before giving permission to ... More Less

The song "Blowing Wild (The Ballad of Black Gold)" is sung by Frankie Laine intermittently throughout the film. Although the film was shot at the Churubusco Studios and on location in Mexico, a Jun 1948 LAT news item reported that producer Milton Sperling had shot backgrounds in South America. It has not been determined if this footage was used in the final film. At that time, according to the news item, Sperling wanted Robert Mitchum and Joel McCrea to star in the film. A Dec 1952 HR news item reported that director Hugo Fregonese scouted Vera Cruz for location sites, but it has not been determined if filming took place there. McClure Merrick's name is misspelled "McCluer" in the opening onscreen credits. Although the character played by Anthony Quinn is listed as "Ward" in the CBCS and NYT review, he is called "Paco" throughout the film. Feb and Mar HR news items add Mickey Simpson, Luis Madero, Tito Junco, Ernesto Casteras and Jorge Treviño to the cast, but their appearance in the film has not been confirmed. A modern source adds Juan García and Carlos Riquelme to the cast. Although copyright records and reviews place the story in Mexico, and as noted, the picture was shot in Mexico, the viewed print contained a title card, placed after the credits, setting the story in South America. According to an Apr 1954 Var article, Mexican officials initially banned Blowing Wild and demanded that cuts be made, as they felt that the picture portrayed Mexicans unfavorably. Although Mexican officials had approved the film's script before giving permission to shoot in that country, other newly elected officials disapproved of the film, according to a Jun 1954 LAT news item. After months of negotiation, during which the Mexican government threatened to ban all Warner Bros. productions in Mexico and to appeal to the U. S. State Department to prevent worldwide distribution of the film, Warner Bros. agreed to make the cuts. Besides making cuts in the film, Warner Bros. may have changed the location of the story as a result of the dispute and altered the title card after the film's 1953 release in the U.S. According to Feb 1954 LADN and Mar 1954 Var news items, writer Robert Blees sued producer Milton Sperling, United States Pictures and Warner Bros. for plagiarism and breach of contract. Blees claimed that Blowing Wild was taken from material he submitted to Sperling in 1951. The final disposition of the suit is not known. A Nov 1965 FD article announced that Blowing Wild was among several pictures to be reissued by Herts-Lion International Corp. According to an Oct 1986 Var article, the film was one of seventeen bought by Republic for television release from New York-based distributor Dick Feiner who had acquired the Sperling library. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Sep 1953.
---
Daily Variety
16 Sep 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
22 Sep 53
p. 6.
Film Daily
12 Nov 1965.
---
Hollywood Citizen-News
6 Sep 1953.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 53
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 53
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 53
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 53
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 53
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 53
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 53
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 53
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Oct 1953.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
24 Feb 1954.
---
Los Angeles Times
21 Jun 1948.
---
Los Angeles Times
22 Oct 1953.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Jun 1954.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Sep 53
p. 1997.
New York Times
6 Oct 1953.
---
New York Times
8 Oct 53
p. 37.
New Yorker
17 Oct 1953.
---
Variety
16 Sep 53
p. 6.
Variety
3 Mar 1954.
---
Variety
28 Apr 1954.
---
Variety
1 Oct 1986.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Stand-by dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus dir
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
SONGS
"Blowing Wild (The Ballad of Black Gold)," music by Dimitri Tiomkin, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster, sung by Frankie Laine.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 October 1953
Premiere Information:
San Antonio, TX opening: 16 September 1953
New York opening: 7 October 1953
Production Date:
early February--early April 1953 at Estudios Churubusco, Mexico City
Copyright Claimant:
United States Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
4 November 1954
Copyright Number:
LP4109
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
89-90
Countries:
Mexico, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16404
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In South America during the early 1930s, bandits led by El Gavilan destroy a wildcat oil well owned by Jeff Dawson and his partner, Dutch Peterson. Their investment gone, Jeff and Dutch make their way, penniless, to the nearest city to find work and run into Paco Conway, a dear friend and former partner, who now owns the Conway Petroleum Company. Although Paco is eager to give them jobs, Jeff turns him down after learning that he has married Marina, an old flame of Jeff's. Instead, Jeff and Dutch accept a dangerous job delivering nitroglycerin across country for $800. Despite an attack by bandits, the partners successfully deliver the explosives, but are then cheated out of their pay by Jackson, the man who hired them. They consider returning to the United States, and try to hock their oil lease for passage money, but as the bandits have disrupted oil production in the area, the bank officer declares the lease worthless. While Dutch recuperates in the hospital from gunshot wounds suffered during the bandits' attack, Jeff reluctantly replaces Paco's inefficient foreman Henderson, but is uncomfortable around Marina, who pursues him aggressively. Claiming that she is "no good" and that he broke company with Paco several years before to get away from her, he turns down the foreman's quarters and moves to town to keep away from her. Her flirtations get bolder as his extra efforts to avoid her intensify, but he responds with disinterest and works hard for Paco. Jeff also distrusts another American woman, Sal Donnelly, who has been stranded in the country, but gets her money for boat passage. Later, however, Jeff finds that Sal, who has quietly ... +


In South America during the early 1930s, bandits led by El Gavilan destroy a wildcat oil well owned by Jeff Dawson and his partner, Dutch Peterson. Their investment gone, Jeff and Dutch make their way, penniless, to the nearest city to find work and run into Paco Conway, a dear friend and former partner, who now owns the Conway Petroleum Company. Although Paco is eager to give them jobs, Jeff turns him down after learning that he has married Marina, an old flame of Jeff's. Instead, Jeff and Dutch accept a dangerous job delivering nitroglycerin across country for $800. Despite an attack by bandits, the partners successfully deliver the explosives, but are then cheated out of their pay by Jackson, the man who hired them. They consider returning to the United States, and try to hock their oil lease for passage money, but as the bandits have disrupted oil production in the area, the bank officer declares the lease worthless. While Dutch recuperates in the hospital from gunshot wounds suffered during the bandits' attack, Jeff reluctantly replaces Paco's inefficient foreman Henderson, but is uncomfortable around Marina, who pursues him aggressively. Claiming that she is "no good" and that he broke company with Paco several years before to get away from her, he turns down the foreman's quarters and moves to town to keep away from her. Her flirtations get bolder as his extra efforts to avoid her intensify, but he responds with disinterest and works hard for Paco. Jeff also distrusts another American woman, Sal Donnelly, who has been stranded in the country, but gets her money for boat passage. Later, however, Jeff finds that Sal, who has quietly fallen for him, has stayed and taken a job as a blackjack dealer. In the field, against Jeff's advice, Paco orders his men to set timed dynamite charges into a well in order to hasten drilling. Their work is interrupted by a shoot-out with bandits, who kill one of the oil workers. Later, after hearing El Gavilan order Paco to pay $50,000 or face the destruction of his eighteen wells, Jeff urges Paco to fight the bandits or be continuously at their mercy. However, Paco decides to pay them off, and Marina calls him a coward. Later, Jeff is told by an employee that the well that has been set with charges is now giving oil, and could be destroyed, if the explosives go off while it is gushing. As it gushes out with the oil, Jeff catches the cylinder holding the explosives and prevents it from exploding. Jeff is later treated for burns at the hospital, and Dutch scolds him for risking his life. As he is aware of Jeff's history with Marina, Dutch then warns him to leave the Conways. Later, Marina confronts Jeff and claims to love him, but unmoved, Jeff reminds her how she treated him when they were together. Having learned from Paco that Jeff is seeing Sal, Marina goes to the casino to try to scare her off, but Sal, who is unsure of Jeff's feelings for her, is confident that Jeff does not love Marina. Meanwhile, Paco is ashamed that he ran for cover while Jeff risked his life for the well. At a local cantina, Paco gets drunk and tells the crowd that his wife loves Jeff. When Jeff shows up to get him, Paco tells him that he plans to fight the bandits, then breaks free from Jeff and drives home alone. Still drunk, he tells Marina that Jeff is never coming back. In retaliation, Marina pushes Paco into an oil well, where the pumps crush him to death. When Jeff turns up later, Marina pretends that the drunken Paco fell in by accident. After the inspector takes away Paco's body, Marina asks Jeff to marry her, and when he refuses, she lets slip that she killed Paco to be with him, then threatens to name him as an accomplice in the murder. Jeff almost strangles her in a rage, but their argument is interrupted by El Gavilan and his men, who dynamite the wells. Marina is killed during the ensuing gunfight when the well in which Paco died suddenly explodes. Jeff runs out of ammunition, then kills El Gavilan in a hand-to-hand fight. Several days later, Jeff, Dutch and Sal pack up and leave for home together. +

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

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