Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)

114 mins | Western | 28 May 1970

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HISTORY

Two Mules for Sister Sara was Albert Maltz’s first credited theatrical screenplay since The Naked City in 1948 (see entry). In Nov 1947, he was blacklisted as one of the original “Hollywood Ten.”
       Actor James Garner and producer Aaron Rosenberg planned to make Two Mules for Sister Sara in the fall of 1966, according to the 21 Sep 1966 DV, but neither man stayed with the project. Budd Boetticher, who wrote the original story, sold it to Rosenberg and producer Carroll Case on 20 Oct 1966, with the agreed understanding that he would direct, the 24 Dec 1968 DV noted. However, when Rosenberg withdrew from the project and Case teamed with producer Martin Rackin and Universal Pictures, Don Siegel was hired to direct instead. Boetticher sued Case, rescinding the original contract.
       Principal photography began 3 Feb 1969 in the Mexican state of Morelos, near the town of Cocoyoc, thirty miles from Cuernavaca, according to a production chart in the 7 Feb 1969 DV and an on-set article from the 6 Apr 1969 LAT. At the time of the reporter’s visit, the company was six weeks into the production and had four more weeks to go, before moving to Mexico City, Mexico, for three days of shooting interiors. The 12 Feb 1969 DV noted that the film was being shot in sequence, and that actress Shirley MacLaine’s nude, attempted rape scene at the beginning of the story had already been shot. Filming fell a few days behind because she later contracted pneumonia and flew to Los Angeles, CA, to recuperate. The $4.5 million budget ... More Less

Two Mules for Sister Sara was Albert Maltz’s first credited theatrical screenplay since The Naked City in 1948 (see entry). In Nov 1947, he was blacklisted as one of the original “Hollywood Ten.”
       Actor James Garner and producer Aaron Rosenberg planned to make Two Mules for Sister Sara in the fall of 1966, according to the 21 Sep 1966 DV, but neither man stayed with the project. Budd Boetticher, who wrote the original story, sold it to Rosenberg and producer Carroll Case on 20 Oct 1966, with the agreed understanding that he would direct, the 24 Dec 1968 DV noted. However, when Rosenberg withdrew from the project and Case teamed with producer Martin Rackin and Universal Pictures, Don Siegel was hired to direct instead. Boetticher sued Case, rescinding the original contract.
       Principal photography began 3 Feb 1969 in the Mexican state of Morelos, near the town of Cocoyoc, thirty miles from Cuernavaca, according to a production chart in the 7 Feb 1969 DV and an on-set article from the 6 Apr 1969 LAT. At the time of the reporter’s visit, the company was six weeks into the production and had four more weeks to go, before moving to Mexico City, Mexico, for three days of shooting interiors. The 12 Feb 1969 DV noted that the film was being shot in sequence, and that actress Shirley MacLaine’s nude, attempted rape scene at the beginning of the story had already been shot. Filming fell a few days behind because she later contracted pneumonia and flew to Los Angeles, CA, to recuperate. The $4.5 million budget was expected to grow to $5 million. Filming ended in mid-May 1969.
       The film became a U.S.-Mexican production during filming when Universal Pictures signed a deal with Sanen Productions of Mexico, the 23 Apr 1969 Var reported. Sanen contributed $500,000 to the budget. Martin Rackin took only sixteen American “hand-picked key personnel” to Mexico to film Two Mules for Sister Sarah, including stars MacLaine and Clint Eastwood, and relied on local actors and technicians, including director of photography Gabriel Figueroa. Rackin told the 10 Sep 1969 DV that 1,100 Mexicans worked on the film.
       Copyright records list the film's running time as 105 minutes.
       Two Mules for Sister Sara was the first film collaboration between director Don Siegel and star Clint Eastwood, who worked on many additional films together, including the 1971 release Dirty Harry (see entry). It also marked the first collaboration between Siegel, Eastwood and Bruce Surtees, who worked as the camera operator on Two Mules for Sister Sara and became the director of photography on many of Siegel's films, beginning with the 1971 release The Beguiled (see entry). Surtees also continued to work with Eastwood, photographing his first film as a director, Play Misty for Me (see entry), which was also released in 1971. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Sep 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
24 Dec 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
7 Feb 1969
p. 28.
Daily Variety
12 Feb 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Apr 1969
p. 4.
Daily Variety
10 Sep 1969
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
6 Apr 1969
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
13 Jun 1969
Section E., p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
7 Jul 1970
Section G, p. 14.
Variety
4 Oct 1967
p. 1.
Variety
23 Apr 1969
p. 33.
Variety
7 May 1969
p. 213.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Martin Rackin Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2nd unit dir
2nd unit dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2nd unit cam
Cam op
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Editing mexico
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Dial coach
STAND INS
Stunt coord
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 May 1970
Premiere Information:
Dallas, TX, opening: 28 May 1970
Los Angeles opening: 7 July 1970
Production Date:
3 February - mid May 1969
Copyright Claimant:
Malpaso Company
Copyright Date:
29 May 1970
Copyright Number:
LP38934
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
114
Countries:
Mexico, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22115
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

While three men in the Mexican desert strip the clothes off a woman and attempt to rape her, Hogan, a gunfighter, arrives on horseback and shoots the trio to death. Hogan himself finds the disrobed victim attractive, but he is shocked to learn that she is Sister Sara, a nun involved in the Mexican revolutionary movement against the French. He agrees to take her to the revolutionaries' camp and promises to help them attack the French garrison at Chihuahua if they offer him enough money. En route Hogan is surprised to find Sara smoking a cigar and sneaking a drink of whiskey. Later, near the revolutionaries' camp in Santa María, Hogan attempts to dynamite a French ammunition train, but he is hit in the shoulder by a Yaqui Indian's arrow. After Sara bandages his wound, she climbs a high train trestle to place the dynamite and then sets off the explosion by firing a rifle into the charge. When they arrive at the rebel camp, Sara astonishes Hogan by disclosing that she is actually a prostitute with an intimate knowledge of the French fort, the revolutionaries' major military objective. They devise a plan for Hogan to take Sara to the fort as a prisoner in order to gain the confidence of the French soldiers so that the gates will be opened for the Mexicans. The plan succeeds, and the fort is captured after a bloody battle; Hogan and Sara take their share of the spoils and ... +


While three men in the Mexican desert strip the clothes off a woman and attempt to rape her, Hogan, a gunfighter, arrives on horseback and shoots the trio to death. Hogan himself finds the disrobed victim attractive, but he is shocked to learn that she is Sister Sara, a nun involved in the Mexican revolutionary movement against the French. He agrees to take her to the revolutionaries' camp and promises to help them attack the French garrison at Chihuahua if they offer him enough money. En route Hogan is surprised to find Sara smoking a cigar and sneaking a drink of whiskey. Later, near the revolutionaries' camp in Santa María, Hogan attempts to dynamite a French ammunition train, but he is hit in the shoulder by a Yaqui Indian's arrow. After Sara bandages his wound, she climbs a high train trestle to place the dynamite and then sets off the explosion by firing a rifle into the charge. When they arrive at the rebel camp, Sara astonishes Hogan by disclosing that she is actually a prostitute with an intimate knowledge of the French fort, the revolutionaries' major military objective. They devise a plan for Hogan to take Sara to the fort as a prisoner in order to gain the confidence of the French soldiers so that the gates will be opened for the Mexicans. The plan succeeds, and the fort is captured after a bloody battle; Hogan and Sara take their share of the spoils and depart. +

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.