Man and Boy (1972)

G | 98 mins | Western | March 1972

Full page view
HISTORY

The following written prologue appears in the onscreen credits: “In the year of our Lord, 1871 Caleb Revers, ex-cowboy, ex-cavalryman with the Union Army, acquired fourteen acres of land upon which he intended to build his life.” In the opening credits, Bill Cosby is billed twice, as an actor under the name “Bill Cosby” and as executive producer under the name William H. Cosby, Jr. According to an Oct 1970 DV article, the Man and Boy project was turned down by all major studios. Marvin Miller, producer of Cosby's television show for the NBC network, as well as Man and Boy , indicated that due to the production's limited budget, he, Cosby and writers Harry Essex and Oscar Saul would defer their salaries. Miller went on to state his belief that the reason the film was rejected by the studios was because he and Cosby were intentionally striving to make an old-fashioned, family film. Miller also indicated a further objection to the picture was that it was “trespassing on the white man's domain by doing a western with black people.” According to the same article, Strother Martin was being considered for a role.
       Man and Boy marked the feature film debut of comedian and television performer Cosby. An Oct 1971 DV news item indicated that releasing company Levitt-Pickman Film Corp. purchased the film from mobile home builder J. Cornelius Crean, who put up completion money for the production, which Cosby personally financed. Crean produced only one other film, Hammersmith Is Out (see above), released in May 1972. Jemmin, Inc. was ... More Less

The following written prologue appears in the onscreen credits: “In the year of our Lord, 1871 Caleb Revers, ex-cowboy, ex-cavalryman with the Union Army, acquired fourteen acres of land upon which he intended to build his life.” In the opening credits, Bill Cosby is billed twice, as an actor under the name “Bill Cosby” and as executive producer under the name William H. Cosby, Jr. According to an Oct 1970 DV article, the Man and Boy project was turned down by all major studios. Marvin Miller, producer of Cosby's television show for the NBC network, as well as Man and Boy , indicated that due to the production's limited budget, he, Cosby and writers Harry Essex and Oscar Saul would defer their salaries. Miller went on to state his belief that the reason the film was rejected by the studios was because he and Cosby were intentionally striving to make an old-fashioned, family film. Miller also indicated a further objection to the picture was that it was “trespassing on the white man's domain by doing a western with black people.” According to the same article, Strother Martin was being considered for a role.
       Man and Boy marked the feature film debut of comedian and television performer Cosby. An Oct 1971 DV news item indicated that releasing company Levitt-Pickman Film Corp. purchased the film from mobile home builder J. Cornelius Crean, who put up completion money for the production, which Cosby personally financed. Crean produced only one other film, Hammersmith Is Out (see above), released in May 1972. Jemmin, Inc. was the name of Cosby's production company. A Dec 1971 HR news item noted that popular recording star Bill Withers would sing the title song for Man and Boy , but the released print featured only a musical score without vocals. An undated HR news item indicated that William Breath would play a dressy corpse in the film, but no scenes take place in the described mortician's office in the released film. HR production charts added Miriam Colon to the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Man and Boy was shot on location around Scottsdale, AZ, according to contemporary sources. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Mar 1972
p. 4474.
Daily Variety
22 Oct 1970
p. 1, 8.
Daily Variety
14 Jan 1971.
---
Daily Variety
19 Oct 1971.
---
Filmfacts
1972
pp. 177-78.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Nov 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Dec 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jan 1971
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 1971
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 1971.
---
New York Times
16 Mar 1972
p. 59.
Variety
15 Mar 1972
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Jemmin, Inc.
A Jemmin, Inc. Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Gaffer
Key grip
Still photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
Crane op
Crane op
Best boy
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Const coord
Prop master
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus comp
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Unit pub
Asst to prod
Casting
Loc auditor
Driver capt
Ramrod
Animal trainer
Welfare worker
First aid
Caterer
STAND INS
Stunt coord
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1972
Production Date:
11 January--mid February 1971 in Arizona
Copyright Claimant:
J. Cornelius Crean Films, Inc.
Copyright Date:
8 May 1971
Copyright Number:
LP49342
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
CFI
Duration(in mins):
98
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22934
SYNOPSIS

A few years after the Civil War, black former Union cavalryman Caleb Revers, his wife Ivy and young son Billy struggle to turn their fourteen acres of rock-covered property into a working farm. Determined to acquire a horse to help with the arduous labor, Caleb hastily responds when his neighbor, Mr. Atkins, summons him to tend to his sick horse Jubal. After several days, Atkins decides to put Jubal out of his misery, but Caleb pleads to be allowed to take Jubal if he can get the animal to stand. Respecting Caleb’s work ethic and knowledge of animals, Atkins agrees and by the next morning, Caleb has revived Jubal enough to trot him back to the farm. When Jubal has recovered sufficiently, Caleb and Billy continue clearing their fields of boulders and fallen trees. Although white locals harass Caleb because he owns property and fought for the Union, the threats increase when rumors spread that Caleb stole Jubal. Both Caleb and Ivy resist the threats and attacks on the farm. One afternoon while Caleb is working away from the house, Billy promises Jubal a day off and walks him into the small local town where several adults as well as children criticize the boy for having a horse when many whites and Mexicans do not. Invited to play with some boys, Billy ties Jubal up and joins the group only to be taunted and beaten up. Horrified to find Jubal missing afterward, Billy goes home to report the horse’s theft. Certain that a horse thief would head for the safety of Mexico and that Jubal is ... +


A few years after the Civil War, black former Union cavalryman Caleb Revers, his wife Ivy and young son Billy struggle to turn their fourteen acres of rock-covered property into a working farm. Determined to acquire a horse to help with the arduous labor, Caleb hastily responds when his neighbor, Mr. Atkins, summons him to tend to his sick horse Jubal. After several days, Atkins decides to put Jubal out of his misery, but Caleb pleads to be allowed to take Jubal if he can get the animal to stand. Respecting Caleb’s work ethic and knowledge of animals, Atkins agrees and by the next morning, Caleb has revived Jubal enough to trot him back to the farm. When Jubal has recovered sufficiently, Caleb and Billy continue clearing their fields of boulders and fallen trees. Although white locals harass Caleb because he owns property and fought for the Union, the threats increase when rumors spread that Caleb stole Jubal. Both Caleb and Ivy resist the threats and attacks on the farm. One afternoon while Caleb is working away from the house, Billy promises Jubal a day off and walks him into the small local town where several adults as well as children criticize the boy for having a horse when many whites and Mexicans do not. Invited to play with some boys, Billy ties Jubal up and joins the group only to be taunted and beaten up. Horrified to find Jubal missing afterward, Billy goes home to report the horse’s theft. Certain that a horse thief would head for the safety of Mexico and that Jubal is still too weak to be ridden all day, Caleb decides to go after the horse, taking Billy with him. Although fearful, Ivy acknowledges that Billy is of age to take part in the search with his father. Soon after heading south on foot, Caleb and Billy meet rancher Mr. Rogers, Caleb’s former employer, who drives the pair to his nearby ranch. There, Caleb has a pleasant reunion with foreman Stretch who tells Billy that Ivy used to be the ranch cook until she met and married Caleb. Later, Caleb agrees to work three days for Rogers in exchange for the loan of a horse to continue the search. In the bunkhouse, Caleb meets Nate Hodges, a former romantic rival for Ivy’s attentions. When Caleb refuses to be goaded into a fight by the resentful Nate, Billy wonders if his father is afraid. The next morning before dawn, the ranchhands return from a night on the town and a drunken Nate teases Billy, enraging Caleb who starts a brutal fight. Although Caleb succeeds in knocking Nate out, he realizes he cannot stay after the incident and, apologizing to Stretch, departs with Billy. A few days later, after struggling across a river, Caleb and Billy come upon a solitary cabin where young widow Rosita offers them food and the chance to dry their clothes. Confused when Caleb shares a few drinks with the lonely Rosita, Billy is angry at his father, and the next day the pair departs in silence. Later that day, Caleb and Billy come upon a herd of wild horses. After instructing Billy on how to help him trap the herd into a narrow canyon, Caleb selects a stallion to capture and after much struggle succeeds in roping the animal, who drags Caleb back through the canyon. When the rope breaks and the horse bolts, the frustrated Caleb is disheartened moments later to see several mounted men easily rope the stallion and lead it away. Alarmed when the exhausted Caleb collapses, Billy rushes to get water, only to see Jubal standing high on a ridge, ridden by a black man. Failing to revive his father, Billy take his pistol and runs over the mountain where he finds Jubal with aging outlaw Lee Christmas. Christmas quickly disarms Billy and complains about his misfortune at stealing a sickly horse, as he must get to Mexico quickly to tend to his own painful rheumatism. Hoping to lead Jubal away, Billy is startled when the seemingly affable Christmas draws a gun and insists that he remain with him. That evening, Caleb revives and immediately searches for Billy. Christmas uses Billy to lure Caleb to his camp, where he demands that Caleb remove a bullet from his back. The next morning Christmas invites the Reverses to become part of his outlaw band, as he has little faith that life for blacks will improve despite the Emancipation Proclamation. Declaring he does not want that kind of existence, Caleb refuses and Billy declares he wants to be like his father. Undeterred, Christmas takes Billy hostage to insure his safe flight across the Mexican border. Caleb pleads with Christmas to free the boy, vowing he will not reveal the fugitive's whereabouts, but Christmas knocks Caleb unconscious and leaves with Billy. Recovering a little later, Caleb walks into the nearest town where he sees the stallion he tried to capture earlier, and attempts to take the horse. Rancher Caine and a hand stop Caleb, who explains why he believes he has a right to the stallion and his need to find Christmas and Billy. As Caine is about to consent to Caleb taking the stallion, Sheriff Mossman intervenes, demanding to know where he can find Christmas. When Caleb refuses to provide information, Mossman arrests him as a horse thief. Later, Mossman confides that he bears a personal grudge against Christmas because Mossman was a member of a band of outlaws until Christmas took over and forced him out. Focused on revenge, Mossman sets up a posse, despite Caleb’s refusal to reveal Christmas’ location. Taking a bound Caleb along, Mossman and the posse track Christmas, and soon find several bits of clothing that Caleb reluctantly admits are Billy’s. Nearing a crumbling, deserted hut against a steep hillside, Caleb warns Mossman of a likely ambush, but the fanatic sheriff ignores him until shots from Christmas ring out, killing a member of the posse. Pleading for the opportunity to try and rescue Billy, Caleb is untied and provided a knife while Mossman attempts to distract Christmas. Believing Caleb has betrayed him, Christmas considers killing Billy, but is disarmed by the boy’s guilelessness. As Caleb approaches Christmas and Billy from behind, Mossman begins his own attack. The sheriff and the outlaw succeed in killing each other as Caleb rescues his son. Later, reunited with Jubal, Caleb and Billy reflect that Ivy will be happy to see them and start for home. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.