The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)

R | 121 mins | Comedy-drama | 18 March 1970

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HISTORY

The 9 Nov 1966 DV announced that producer-director Sam Peckinpah purchased rights to John Crawford and Edmund Penney’s screenplay, The Ballad of Cable Hogue. The project was set to be executive produced by Phil Feldman, with financing and distribution from Warner Bros.—Seven Arts, Inc., according to a 13 Aug 1968 DV item. Peckinpah and associate producer Gordon Dawson co-wrote a revised screenplay, as stated in the 22 Aug 1968 DV, but neither received a writing credit on the final film.
       The 12 Oct 1968 LAT announced the casting of Jason Robards, Jr. A 5 Feb 1969 Var brief stated that Tom Gries would play a cameo, and the 5 Mar 1969 Var reported that film student Gill Dennis was set to aide Peckinpah as part of the AFI Intern Program.
       The start of principal photography on 27 Jan 1969 was announced in a 31 Jan 1969 DV production chart. Shooting began in the desert around Las Vegas, NV, where inclement weather prompted Peckinpah to write a new sequence that called for rain, as noted in the 30 Jan 1969 DV. . Weeks later, the 4 Mar 1970 Var reported that desert shooting had been “rained out” for a total of twenty-one days. Delays and re-shoots also stemmed from Peckinpah’s decision to film in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, using older camera equipment which frequently jammed.
       While in Nevada, location shooting took place in the Valley of Fire State Park, as noted in an 18 Mar 1969 LAT article. Sets included a 108-year-old cabin that Peckinpah ...

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The 9 Nov 1966 DV announced that producer-director Sam Peckinpah purchased rights to John Crawford and Edmund Penney’s screenplay, The Ballad of Cable Hogue. The project was set to be executive produced by Phil Feldman, with financing and distribution from Warner Bros.—Seven Arts, Inc., according to a 13 Aug 1968 DV item. Peckinpah and associate producer Gordon Dawson co-wrote a revised screenplay, as stated in the 22 Aug 1968 DV, but neither received a writing credit on the final film.
       The 12 Oct 1968 LAT announced the casting of Jason Robards, Jr. A 5 Feb 1969 Var brief stated that Tom Gries would play a cameo, and the 5 Mar 1969 Var reported that film student Gill Dennis was set to aide Peckinpah as part of the AFI Intern Program.
       The start of principal photography on 27 Jan 1969 was announced in a 31 Jan 1969 DV production chart. Shooting began in the desert around Las Vegas, NV, where inclement weather prompted Peckinpah to write a new sequence that called for rain, as noted in the 30 Jan 1969 DV. . Weeks later, the 4 Mar 1970 Var reported that desert shooting had been “rained out” for a total of twenty-one days. Delays and re-shoots also stemmed from Peckinpah’s decision to film in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, using older camera equipment which frequently jammed.
       While in Nevada, location shooting took place in the Valley of Fire State Park, as noted in an 18 Mar 1969 LAT article. Sets included a 108-year-old cabin that Peckinpah had bought in the High Sierra region of California, which he later planned to rebuild on a residential lot he owned in Malibu, CA.
       Throughout some of production, Peckinpah worked six-day weeks on The Ballad of Cable Hogue, while editing The Wild Bunch (1969, see entry) on Sundays. Location filming in Nevada and Arizona was completed by 16 Apr 1969, according to that day’s Var, and the 4 Mar 1970 Var noted that principal photography was finished by the time The Wild Bunch premiered in mid-Jun 1969.
       During post-production, Peckinpah traveled between Burbank, CA, where he was overseeing editing of the picture on the Warner Bros.—Seven Arts studio lot, and Hawaii, where he spent time vacationing with his four children from his first marriage. The 15 Aug 1969 DV indicated that Peckinpah also did some editing while in Hawaii.
       By early 1970, ownership of Warner Bros.—Seven Arts had changed hands, and the studio was renamed Warner Bros. Pictures. Around that time, Peckinpah had disagreements with Warner Bros. over how it was handling the release of The Ballad of Cable Hogue, which he feared would be mangled, much like he felt Warner Bros.—Seven Arts had mishandled The Wild Bunch. The 4 Mar 1970 Var listed Peckinpah’s concern (which turned out to be unfounded) that Warner Bros. had been screening “an uncorrected print minus the full musical score” for critics, and also cited his disapproval of Warner Bros.’ plans to open the film in single-theater “showcases” in Los Angeles and New York City. Peckinpah claimed a partial victory when Warner Bros. agreed to release the film in multiple theaters in Los Angeles, but not in New York.
       According to the 4 Mar 1970 Var, Peckinpah was also upset by the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) decision to rate the film R (which restricted viewers under age seventeen without a parent or guardian) instead of M (suggested for mature audiences), as the organization had informed him that the film lay somewhere between the two.
       Prior to release, a screening was scheduled to take place on 8 Mar 1970, as part of a Peckinpah series at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), according to the 6 Mar 1970 DV. Other films in the program were Peckinpah’s 1966 episode for the ABC “Stage 67” television series, Noon Wine; his 1962 feature film, Ride of the High Country (see entry); and The Wild Bunch.
       Shortly before the picture opened on 18 Mar 1970 in Los Angeles, the 4 Mar 1970 Var stated that the film had gone $1.5 million over budget, for a final negative cost of $3 million.
       Following positive critical reception, the 17 Apr 1970 DV announced that the picture had been selected to screen at the non-competitive Sorrento-Naples Film Festival. It was later chosen as of two U.S. entries for the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain. However, as noted in the 22 Jul 1970 Var, problems arose at San Sebastian when Warner Bros. pulled the picture from competition for reasons related to its release in Paris, France. Peckinpah was upset by the studio’s decision, and also peeved about unauthorized edits he had detected in the screened print. He was quoted at a festival press conference as saying, “I’m furious with Warner Bros…I’m ready to stop them from ever repeating such a stunt. I’m going to sue.” Actress Stella Stevens, who also attended the festival, was said to be at odds with Peckinpah and refused to join him onstage when he presented the film.
       Although it was removed from competition at San Sebastian, the film was later honored by the Association of Spanish Critics, which named The Ballad of Cable Hogue Best Foreign Picture, an item in the 9 Feb 1972 Var reported.
       Actress Susan O’Connell made her motion picture theatrical motion picture debut in the film.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
CREDIT
HISTORY CREDITS
CREDIT TYPE
CREDIT
Personal note credit:
Corporate note credit:
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 Nov 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
13 Aug 1968
p. 1, 7.
Daily Variety
22 Aug 1968
p. 3.
Daily Variety
30 Jan 1969
p. 36.
Daily Variety
31 Jan 1969
p. 28.
Daily Variety
15 Aug 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
26 Aug 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
7 Jan 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
6 Mar 1970
p. 3.
Daily Variety
17 Apr 1970
p. 3.
Daily Variety
15 Jun 1970
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
17 Aug 1968
Section B, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
12 Oct 1968
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
28 Jan 1969
Section G, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
18 Mar 1969
Section G, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
19 Mar 1970
Section G, p. 22.
New York Times
31 Aug 1969
Section D, p. 9.
New York Times
14 May 1970
p. 42.
Variety
5 Feb 1969
p. 20.
Variety
5 Mar 1969
p. 26.
Variety
19 Mar 1969
p. 19.
Variety
16 Apr 1969
p. 28.
Variety
4 Mar 1970
p. 5, 26.
Variety
11 Mar 1970
p. 17, 22.
Variety
22 Jul 1970
p. 13.
Variety
9 Feb 1972
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Phil Feldman Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
Co-prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Louis Lombardo
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost for Miss Stevens
MUSIC
Mus supv
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Gary Liddiard
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Dink Templeton
Unit prod mgr
Dial supv
Main titles
SOURCES
SONGS
"Tomorrow Is the Song I Sing," words and music by Richard Gillis and Jerry Goldsmith, sung by Richard Gillis; "Wait for Me Sunrise," words and music by Richard Gillis, sung by Richard Gillis; "Butterfly Mornin's," words and music by Richard Gillis, sung by Jason Robards, Jr. and Stella Stevens; "Hogan's Saloon Song," words and music by Richard Gillis.
PERFORMED BY
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 March 1970
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 18 Mar 1970; New York opening: week of 14 May 1970
Production Date:
27 Jan--late spring or early summer 1969
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Phil Feldman Productions
1 March 1970
LP38145
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
121
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22292
SYNOPSIS

Abandoned in the desert by partners Bowen and Taggart, prospector Cable Hogue swears revenge. After four days of aimless wandering and desperate prayer Hogue discovers water. As its site is the only hole within 40 miles and conveniently close to the stagecoach route, Hogue establishes Cable Springs, an oasis for weary travelers. The entrepreneur, however, shoots his first customer when the client refuses to pay the 10-cent drinking fee. His second visitor, Joshua Sloane, a lecherous evangelist, guards the waterhole while Hogue rides into the town of Deaddog to file his claim. Although the stagecoach manager, Quittner, refuses to stake him, town banker Cushing invest $100. The budding entrepreneur hies to Hildy, the town prostitute, who gives him a bath. Hearing a revival outside, Hogue is reminded of Sloane and leaves abruptly without paying the prostitute. His claim secure and business booming, Hogue offers Hildy sanctuary when she is driven from Deaddog by pious citizens. The two fall in love, but Hildy leaves for San Francisco and a rich husband. Her departure coincides with the arrival of Hogue's former partners, intent on the acquisition of their old friend's fortune. The wiley prospector, guessing their purpose, traps the pair in a snakepit, shooting Taggart and sparing Bowen. When the widowed and enriched Hildy arrives to spirit her lover to New Orleans, he is accidentally crushed by her automobile. As he expires Hogue is eulogized by ...

More Less

Abandoned in the desert by partners Bowen and Taggart, prospector Cable Hogue swears revenge. After four days of aimless wandering and desperate prayer Hogue discovers water. As its site is the only hole within 40 miles and conveniently close to the stagecoach route, Hogue establishes Cable Springs, an oasis for weary travelers. The entrepreneur, however, shoots his first customer when the client refuses to pay the 10-cent drinking fee. His second visitor, Joshua Sloane, a lecherous evangelist, guards the waterhole while Hogue rides into the town of Deaddog to file his claim. Although the stagecoach manager, Quittner, refuses to stake him, town banker Cushing invest $100. The budding entrepreneur hies to Hildy, the town prostitute, who gives him a bath. Hearing a revival outside, Hogue is reminded of Sloane and leaves abruptly without paying the prostitute. His claim secure and business booming, Hogue offers Hildy sanctuary when she is driven from Deaddog by pious citizens. The two fall in love, but Hildy leaves for San Francisco and a rich husband. Her departure coincides with the arrival of Hogue's former partners, intent on the acquisition of their old friend's fortune. The wiley prospector, guessing their purpose, traps the pair in a snakepit, shooting Taggart and sparing Bowen. When the widowed and enriched Hildy arrives to spirit her lover to New Orleans, he is accidentally crushed by her automobile. As he expires Hogue is eulogized by Sloane.

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

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