Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (1939)

60-62 or 65 mins | Drama | 3 November 1939

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HISTORY

According to a Twentieth Century-Fox press release, Jean Rogers worked on another film, Stop, Look and Love , simultaneous to the production of this film. The Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library state that location filming was done in Thousand Oaks, Newhall, and Saugus, California. Press releases also reported that Nicholas Conte was signed by Twentieth Century-Fox for this film based on his screen test for the lead in Columbia Pictures' Golden Boy , a part he lost to William Holden.
       Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence marked the film debut of actor Glenn Ford (1916--2006). Following service in the armed forces during World War II, Ford went on to star in such films as Gilda in 1946 and Blackboard Jungle in 1953 (see above). From the mid-1950s through the early 1960s, Ford was one of Hollywood's top box office stars, becoming number one in the world in 1958. He continued to act in film and on television until the early ... More Less

According to a Twentieth Century-Fox press release, Jean Rogers worked on another film, Stop, Look and Love , simultaneous to the production of this film. The Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library state that location filming was done in Thousand Oaks, Newhall, and Saugus, California. Press releases also reported that Nicholas Conte was signed by Twentieth Century-Fox for this film based on his screen test for the lead in Columbia Pictures' Golden Boy , a part he lost to William Holden.
       Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence marked the film debut of actor Glenn Ford (1916--2006). Following service in the armed forces during World War II, Ford went on to star in such films as Gilda in 1946 and Blackboard Jungle in 1953 (see above). From the mid-1950s through the early 1960s, Ford was one of Hollywood's top box office stars, becoming number one in the world in 1958. He continued to act in film and on television until the early 1990s. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Oct 1939.
---
Daily Variety
29 Sep 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
26 Jan 40
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jul 39
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Sep 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
4 Oct 39
p. 9
Motion Picture Herald
7 Oct 39
p. 39.
Variety
6 Dec 39
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Exec prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Contr to scr const
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Head grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Props
Asst prop man
Asst prop man
COSTUMES
Cost
Ward
MUSIC
Mus dir
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
Scr clerk
Location mgr
Follow-up
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 November 1939
Production Date:
8 June--31 June 1939
addl scenes 20 July--26 July 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
3 November 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9458
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA High Fidelity Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
60-62 or 65
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5488
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At the Empire State Building, Joe Riley bids farewell to New York City as he prepares to head West to his ranch in Arizona. He dreams of his twenty acres of beautiful farmland called "Shady Acres" for which he has saved for six years. Hitchhiking across the country, Joe runs into a friendly drifter named Tony Casselli at a truck stop just outside of Cleveland. Tony tells Joe that the only way to travel cross-country is by rail, though Joe prefers to rely on his thumb. Joe jumps into a truck on its way to Cincinnati, but is discovered by the truck driver. Also discovered is another stowaway, Anita Santos, disguised as a boy. Anita follows Joe as he jumps onto a train, only to find Tony in the same car. Anita joins them, much to Joe's chagrin and Tony's pleasure. Forced off the train, the three discover a hobo camp. Leaving Anita in the woods for her safety, Tony and Joe go into the camp where they find Tony's old friend and traveling companion, The Professor. Hunk, the leader of the camp, watches Tony take Anita food, and later attacks her, with Joe coming to her defense. After The Professor knocks Hunk unconscious with a walking stick, the four hightail it out of the camp. Traveling cross country, Anita tells how her parents died during the Spanish Civil War and that she came to America to find her uncle in California. Although Joe constantly wants to leave Anita behind, the other two men become attached to her. When Tony receives a gunshot wound stealing food, The Professor ... +


At the Empire State Building, Joe Riley bids farewell to New York City as he prepares to head West to his ranch in Arizona. He dreams of his twenty acres of beautiful farmland called "Shady Acres" for which he has saved for six years. Hitchhiking across the country, Joe runs into a friendly drifter named Tony Casselli at a truck stop just outside of Cleveland. Tony tells Joe that the only way to travel cross-country is by rail, though Joe prefers to rely on his thumb. Joe jumps into a truck on its way to Cincinnati, but is discovered by the truck driver. Also discovered is another stowaway, Anita Santos, disguised as a boy. Anita follows Joe as he jumps onto a train, only to find Tony in the same car. Anita joins them, much to Joe's chagrin and Tony's pleasure. Forced off the train, the three discover a hobo camp. Leaving Anita in the woods for her safety, Tony and Joe go into the camp where they find Tony's old friend and traveling companion, The Professor. Hunk, the leader of the camp, watches Tony take Anita food, and later attacks her, with Joe coming to her defense. After The Professor knocks Hunk unconscious with a walking stick, the four hightail it out of the camp. Traveling cross country, Anita tells how her parents died during the Spanish Civil War and that she came to America to find her uncle in California. Although Joe constantly wants to leave Anita behind, the other two men become attached to her. When Tony receives a gunshot wound stealing food, The Professor pawns his prized pocket watch to get him medical attention. Although the three are told that Tony is fine and Tony, himself, promises to join them at Joe's ranch, Tony actually has lost his leg due to septic poisoning. After buying Anita new clothes, the three go into a bar where The Professor regains the acquaintance of old love Mamie. When the local sheriff comes in to question them on the origin of Tony's wound, he arrests Anita as an illegal alien and Joe for aiding and abetting her. The Professor convinces the sheriff to drop all charges on the condition that the two marry, which they do in an elaborate Russian Orthodox ceremony. When Joe tells Anita that he wants a divorce, however, she slips out of town during the reception. The next day, Joe tells The Professor and Mamie what has happened. The Professor has decided to stay behind with Mamie and run the bar, so Joe heads for Arizona alone. Finally there, Joe discovers his dream ranch is a nightmare, a broken down farm with nothing but bare ground. Anita arrives with supplies for the house, only to be met by a hostile Joe. Forced inside by a sudden rainstorm, Anita tells Joe how wonderful the ranch can be with a lot of hard work. As she prepares to leave, Joe stops her, telling her that they will build the ranch together. +

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.