The Hunters (1958)

105 or 107-108 mins | Drama | September 1958

Director:

Dick Powell

Writer:

Wendell Mayes

Producer:

Dick Powell

Cinematographer:

Charles G. Clarke

Editor:

Stuart Gilmore

Production Designers:

Lyle Wheeler, Maurice Ransford

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

James Salter's novel was initially serialized in Collier's on 16 Mar and 30 Mar 1956. The film opens with the following written acknowledgment: "Twentieth Century-Fox wishes to thank the Department of Defense and the United States Air Force for their assistance in the production of this motion picture." Although a Jul 1958 HR news item stated that the film was to premiere at the Lowry Air Force Base in Denver on 1 Aug 1958, the date of that premiere has not been confirmed.
       According to an Oct 1956 LAT news item, Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart were both interested in starring in the film. A Mar 1958 HR news item noted that Patricia Owens, Dina Merrill and Hope Lange were considered for the role of "Kris." Although a Mar 1958 HR production chart places Ron Ely, Linc Foster and Stan Kamber in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to studio publicity materials contained in the film's production files at the AMPAS Library, location filming was conducted at the Luke Air Force Base outside Phoenix, AZ. The NYT review adds that background footage was shot on location in Kyoto, Japan. The Hunters marked the screen debut of actress Nobu ... More Less

James Salter's novel was initially serialized in Collier's on 16 Mar and 30 Mar 1956. The film opens with the following written acknowledgment: "Twentieth Century-Fox wishes to thank the Department of Defense and the United States Air Force for their assistance in the production of this motion picture." Although a Jul 1958 HR news item stated that the film was to premiere at the Lowry Air Force Base in Denver on 1 Aug 1958, the date of that premiere has not been confirmed.
       According to an Oct 1956 LAT news item, Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart were both interested in starring in the film. A Mar 1958 HR news item noted that Patricia Owens, Dina Merrill and Hope Lange were considered for the role of "Kris." Although a Mar 1958 HR production chart places Ron Ely, Linc Foster and Stan Kamber in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to studio publicity materials contained in the film's production files at the AMPAS Library, location filming was conducted at the Luke Air Force Base outside Phoenix, AZ. The NYT review adds that background footage was shot on location in Kyoto, Japan. The Hunters marked the screen debut of actress Nobu McCarthy. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
25 Aug 1958.
---
Daily Variety
5 Aug 58
p. 3.
Film Daily
6 Aug 58
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 58
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 58
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 58
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 58
p. 2, 12.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 58
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 58
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 58
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
15 Oct 1956.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
9 Aug 58
p. 937.
New York Times
27 Aug 58
p. 33.
Variety
6 Aug 58
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Aerial photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Asst art dir
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Exec ward des
Ward master
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Effectsman
Effectsman
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup artist
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod asst
Scr supv
Operator
Operator
Operator
Const foreman
Labor foreman
Landscape, nurseryman
Craft service
Transportion capt
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Hunters by James Salter (London, 1957).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
September 1958
Premiere Information:
Washington, D.C. opening: 20 August 1958
New York opening: 26 August 1958
Production Date:
early March--14 May 1958
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
20 August 1958
Copyright Number:
LP12179
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
105 or 107-108
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19007
SYNOPSIS

In 1952, during the Korean War, Maj. Cleve Saville, a veteran World War II flying ace who is nicknamed "Ice Man" because of his complete lack of fear, reports for duty at the Itami Air Force Base outside Kyoto, Japan, and is assigned to the 54th Flying Unit in Korea. Before leaving for duty the next day, Cleve stops for a drink at the post bar, and there meets Lt. Karl Abbott, a young pilot assigned to the same unit. Karl, inebriated, invites Cleve to join him for dinner, but passes out on the way to the restaurant. When Cleve goes inside the restaurant to inform Karl's dinner companion that the lieutenant is indisposed, he finds a striking blonde woman, who introduces herself as "Kris" and asks him to help her transport the drunken lieutenant to her house. During the ride home, Kris explains that Karl drinks because he lacks the confidence to fly, to which Cleve responds that flying fighter planes is his life. Cleve propositions Kris, but is embarrassed to discover that she is Karl's wife. The next day, Cleve flies to Seoul, where he meets with Col. "Dutch" Imil, the unit's commander, who wonders if Cleve has retained his nerves of steel. Dutch explains that their mission is to shoot down the Chinese pilots flying Russian Migs, their prime target being an especially deadly pilot known as "Casey Jones." Dutch laments that America refuses to take this war as seriously as World War II, and complains about the order forbidding American Cobra jets to cross the Yalu River in pursuit of the enemy, thus seriously hampering the war effort. Soon ... +


In 1952, during the Korean War, Maj. Cleve Saville, a veteran World War II flying ace who is nicknamed "Ice Man" because of his complete lack of fear, reports for duty at the Itami Air Force Base outside Kyoto, Japan, and is assigned to the 54th Flying Unit in Korea. Before leaving for duty the next day, Cleve stops for a drink at the post bar, and there meets Lt. Karl Abbott, a young pilot assigned to the same unit. Karl, inebriated, invites Cleve to join him for dinner, but passes out on the way to the restaurant. When Cleve goes inside the restaurant to inform Karl's dinner companion that the lieutenant is indisposed, he finds a striking blonde woman, who introduces herself as "Kris" and asks him to help her transport the drunken lieutenant to her house. During the ride home, Kris explains that Karl drinks because he lacks the confidence to fly, to which Cleve responds that flying fighter planes is his life. Cleve propositions Kris, but is embarrassed to discover that she is Karl's wife. The next day, Cleve flies to Seoul, where he meets with Col. "Dutch" Imil, the unit's commander, who wonders if Cleve has retained his nerves of steel. Dutch explains that their mission is to shoot down the Chinese pilots flying Russian Migs, their prime target being an especially deadly pilot known as "Casey Jones." Dutch laments that America refuses to take this war as seriously as World War II, and complains about the order forbidding American Cobra jets to cross the Yalu River in pursuit of the enemy, thus seriously hampering the war effort. Soon after, Cleve returns to Kyoto and, encountering Kris at the post office, invites her to lunch. As they talk, Kris learns that Karl is also in Kyoto, but has failed to contact her. Hurt, Kris muses that she had a happy marriage until Karl was called to serve in the Korean War. Blaming the war for changing Karl, Kris asks Cleve to choose him as his wing man, hoping that working with Cleve will instill confidence in her husband. After Cleve takes Kris home, he kisses her and confides he has fallen in love with her. As Cleve leaves Kris's house, he passes a drunken Karl and informs him that he has been out with his wife, thus making him feel even more inadequate. The next day, the unit is sent on a surveillance mission over the river. When two Migs begin to them, Lt. Ed Pell, a jive-talking, hot-shot pilot, breaks formation to pursue them. Pell's breach of protocol leaves Lt. Corona's plane unprotected, and as a result, the craft is badly damaged in the Mig attack. Unable to control his crippled aircraft, Corona crashes to the ground in flames. Afterward, Dutch assigns Pell to Cleve, and when Cleve objects, Dutch responds that Cleve and Pell are two of a kind. In Kyoto, Cleve invites Kris to join him for an afternoon at a romantic lake. At the end of the day, they embrace and Kris expresses regret that she did not meet Cleve first. Upon returning to the base, Cleve learns that Casey Jones has come back. When Cleve refuses Karl's request to bring down the infamous pilot, Karl offers him Kris in exchange for a chance at shooting down the pilot. Later, during an offensive against the Migs, Karl's plane is hit by Casey Jones, forcing Karl to bail out. In revenge, Cleve blasts Casey Jones out of the sky and then orders Pell to return to base. When Cleve spots the injured Karl dangling from a tree by his parachute, he crash-lands his plane to come to his aid. After slinging Karl's unconscious body over his back, Cleve starts out through enemy territory. When Chinese soldiers begin to fire at them, Pell's plane streaks out of the skies, guns blazing, sending the Chinese scurrying for cover. Pell then parachutes to the ground to join Cleve. Five days later, Kris is informed that Karl, Cleve and Pell are all missing behind enemy lines, and blames herself for their misfortune. Upon regaining consciousness, Karl selflessly suggests that Cleve and Pell leave him behind to improve their chances. After Cleve refuses, Karl wonders why he did not let him die so that Kris would be his. Seeing that the exhausted Cleve has fallen asleep, Karl observes that Cleve is pure of heart. Later that day, a family of Korean farmers befriends them and hides them from the enemy. Soon after, North Korean forces invade the peasants' village and massacre all those present. In revenge, Pell and Cleve blow up the North Koreans' truck. Cleve is wounded in the arm in the ensuing gun battle, but Pell guns down the remaining enemy soldiers. Continuing on their journey, the three finally come to a friendly South Korean camp and are conveyed to safety. Some time later, Kris visits Karl at the hospital, and Karl claims he has remembered what their love was like before the war and wants it to be that way again. After leaving her husband's bedside, Kris passes Cleve, convalescing on the lawn. He asks her when she is leaving for the States with Karl, and she replies as soon as possible and says goodbye. As Kris walks away, she turns to wave, but Cleve is oblivious, engrossed in watching the fighter planes flying overhead. +

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

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