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A 12 Nov 1952 HR news item announced Gloria Grahame as a cast member, but she did not appear in the film. East of Sumatra marked the first film on which Western author and screenwriter Louis L'Amour received screen credit. Actress Suzan Ball suffered a knee injury during the filming of this picture, which lead to her death from cancer two years later, at the age of twenty-two. For more information, see the entry above for Ball's last film, Chief Crazy Horse ... More Less

A 12 Nov 1952 HR news item announced Gloria Grahame as a cast member, but she did not appear in the film. East of Sumatra marked the first film on which Western author and screenwriter Louis L'Amour received screen credit. Actress Suzan Ball suffered a knee injury during the filming of this picture, which lead to her death from cancer two years later, at the age of twenty-two. For more information, see the entry above for Ball's last film, Chief Crazy Horse . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Sep 1953.
---
Daily Variety
11 Sep 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
14 Sep 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Nov 52
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Nov 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Nov 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Nov 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Sep 53
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Sep 53
p. 1998.
Variety
16 Sep 53
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"Strange Land," words and music by Scat Man Crothers
"Ballad to a Gypsy," composers undetermined.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1953
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 11 September 1953
Production Date:
20 November--29 December 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
8 May 1953
Copyright Number:
LP3257
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
81-82
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16349
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At a tin mine in Malaya, owner Craig Keith and executive Daniel Catlin arrive just as expert supervisor Duke Mullane is beating up a drunken crew member. Catlin expresses distaste for Duke, but after Keith shows Duke his new assignment--to find tin in the remote mountains of Tungga Island, near Sumatra--he names Catlin as Duke's new boss. Catlin's first decision is to refuse Duke his hefty payment demands, but Keith overrules him. Catlin and Duke travel to the executive's Singapore office, where Catlin's fiancée, Lory Hale, visits and is startled to see Duke, her old lover. After Catlin leaves the room, Lory announces that she now loves only Catlin, and Duke promises roughly not to inform him of their past. Duke's crew then travels to Tungga and, after setting up camp, they are invited by mischievous local Atib to a feast with his tribe's king, Kiang. There, Duke asks for workers to help build the mine and Kiang negotiates for payments in Western medicines. Duke also offers his lighter, which bears an airplane imprint for every fighter he shot down in the war. When Kiang says he cannot accept it, Duke leaves it on the table, where it is stolen by Atib. A gorgeous dancer performs and, though Duke admires her, he soon discovers that she is Kiang's fiancée, Minyora. Kiang notices Duke's interest and, later that night, reveals to Minyora that he cannot live without her. Over the next days, Kiang's men work diligently, and Duke awaits the supplies with which to pay them. When Catlin finally sends a plane, however, it contains only machinery, and Duke calls him in a fury. Soon after, Minyora visits Duke and ... +


At a tin mine in Malaya, owner Craig Keith and executive Daniel Catlin arrive just as expert supervisor Duke Mullane is beating up a drunken crew member. Catlin expresses distaste for Duke, but after Keith shows Duke his new assignment--to find tin in the remote mountains of Tungga Island, near Sumatra--he names Catlin as Duke's new boss. Catlin's first decision is to refuse Duke his hefty payment demands, but Keith overrules him. Catlin and Duke travel to the executive's Singapore office, where Catlin's fiancée, Lory Hale, visits and is startled to see Duke, her old lover. After Catlin leaves the room, Lory announces that she now loves only Catlin, and Duke promises roughly not to inform him of their past. Duke's crew then travels to Tungga and, after setting up camp, they are invited by mischievous local Atib to a feast with his tribe's king, Kiang. There, Duke asks for workers to help build the mine and Kiang negotiates for payments in Western medicines. Duke also offers his lighter, which bears an airplane imprint for every fighter he shot down in the war. When Kiang says he cannot accept it, Duke leaves it on the table, where it is stolen by Atib. A gorgeous dancer performs and, though Duke admires her, he soon discovers that she is Kiang's fiancée, Minyora. Kiang notices Duke's interest and, later that night, reveals to Minyora that he cannot live without her. Over the next days, Kiang's men work diligently, and Duke awaits the supplies with which to pay them. When Catlin finally sends a plane, however, it contains only machinery, and Duke calls him in a fury. Soon after, Minyora visits Duke and reveals that she is half English and yearning to speak to white people. Atib spies on them and informs Kiang, who stalks over and throws Duke out. Just as Duke's men discover a rich vein of tin, the next plane arrives, carrying only Catlin and Lory. The next day, Kiang keeps his men from working until the supplies show up, and Catlin chastises Duke for his inability to "handle the natives." They visit Kiang together, but when Minyora sticks up for Duke, an infuriated Kiang refuses to work with the white men at all. That night, Lory visits Duke, but the two end up quarrelling over their past. Hours later, a drunken Atib accidentally sets fire to the tribe's supply hut with Duke's lighter. When Kiang finds the lighter in the ashes, he announces to Duke and Catlin that he has burned their plane, trapping them in the jungle, and will surround their camp until they starve to death. Over the next days, every attempt to gather food and water is thwarted by Kiang's warriors. One night, as Duke keeps watch, Minyora sneaks in and informs him of a temple high in the mountains in which they can be safe. When Duke tries to find it, Kiang sees him and forces him to return to the camp. Duke turns to alcohol, and is drunk when one night he grabs Lory and kisses her and then, later, allows Minyora to visit him. The two fall asleep, and when she leaves the next morning, Atib sees her. Within minutes, she races back to warn the camp that Kiang, furious with her supposed infidelity, is on his way to kill them all. She leads them to the temple, followed closely by Kiang's men. Two of Duke's crew are killed, and one, Paulo, is shot with a poisoned arrow before they reach the temple, which Kiang dares not infiltrate. Even after Minyora cleanses and cauterizes Paulo's wound, saving him, Duke remains distraught over the deaths of his men and soon decides to sacrifice himself to Kiang. Upon hearing his declaration, Lory reveals that she cannot bear to lose Duke, and Catlin watches in resignation as they kiss. Duke calls to Kiang, who challenges him to duel using machetes and torches. At the end of the long fight, only one machete remains within reach, and Duke grabs it just as Kiang jumps on him. Impaled, Kiang lives only long enough to name a despondent Minyora the new queen. Her first decree is for her people to help Duke's crew. Within days, the mine is working and Catlin bids a fond farewell to Lory, who stays behind with Duke. +

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.