The Cheyenne Social Club (1970)

GP | 103 mins | Comedy, Western | 17 June 1970

Director:

Gene Kelly

Producer:

Gene Kelly

Cinematographer:

William H. Clothier

Editor:

Adrienne Fazan

Production Designer:

Gene Allen
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HISTORY

Following their collaborations on Shenandoah (1965, see entry) and Bandolero! (1968, see entry), screenwriter James Lee Barrett set out to develop another vehicle for actor James Stewart, who told the 14 Sep 1969 LAT that he was eager to accept new, original material. According to an 11 Feb 1969 DV brief, Stewart’s close friend and three-time co-star Henry Fonda was cast at Stewart’s request. On 17 Mar 1969, LAT announced that actor-turned-filmmaker Gene Kelly had signed on to helm his first Western, serving as both director and producer for National General Productions, Inc.
       According to the 9 Jul 1969 DV, Maureen O’Hara was originally considered for the role of “Jenny,” but could not accept due to scheduling conflicts. Casting announcements in the 20 Aug 1969 and 12 Sep 1969 editions indicated that Minta Durfee was hired for a role, while Tyler McVey, Sam Edwards, Gil Perkins, Dan White, Mike Mahoney, and George Berkley were among the supporting cast.
       An 11 Jul 1969 DV production chart revealed that principal photography began that day in Santa Fe, NM, which doubled as the setting of “Cheyenne, WY.” Articles in the 20 Jun 1969 and 6 Jul 1970 DV detailed a $250,000 “Western town” set constructed on the ranch of businessman J. W. Eaves. A fan of motion pictures, Eaves reportedly helped finance costs for the several buildings and a mile of railroad track needed for The Cheyenne Social Club, and later invested in additional expansions to open the Eaves Movie Ranch with the hope of attracting more filmmakers and tourists. Toward the ... More Less

Following their collaborations on Shenandoah (1965, see entry) and Bandolero! (1968, see entry), screenwriter James Lee Barrett set out to develop another vehicle for actor James Stewart, who told the 14 Sep 1969 LAT that he was eager to accept new, original material. According to an 11 Feb 1969 DV brief, Stewart’s close friend and three-time co-star Henry Fonda was cast at Stewart’s request. On 17 Mar 1969, LAT announced that actor-turned-filmmaker Gene Kelly had signed on to helm his first Western, serving as both director and producer for National General Productions, Inc.
       According to the 9 Jul 1969 DV, Maureen O’Hara was originally considered for the role of “Jenny,” but could not accept due to scheduling conflicts. Casting announcements in the 20 Aug 1969 and 12 Sep 1969 editions indicated that Minta Durfee was hired for a role, while Tyler McVey, Sam Edwards, Gil Perkins, Dan White, Mike Mahoney, and George Berkley were among the supporting cast.
       An 11 Jul 1969 DV production chart revealed that principal photography began that day in Santa Fe, NM, which doubled as the setting of “Cheyenne, WY.” Articles in the 20 Jun 1969 and 6 Jul 1970 DV detailed a $250,000 “Western town” set constructed on the ranch of businessman J. W. Eaves. A fan of motion pictures, Eaves reportedly helped finance costs for the several buildings and a mile of railroad track needed for The Cheyenne Social Club, and later invested in additional expansions to open the Eaves Movie Ranch with the hope of attracting more filmmakers and tourists. Toward the end of location shooting, a 7 Aug 1969 DV item reported that a heavy rainstorm had destroyed a ten-foot dam intended for the next day’s scene. Despite a brief shutdown, the 8 Aug 1969 DV indicated that filming was completed two days ahead of schedule, with the unit set to resume work on Monday, 11 Aug 1969, at the Samuel Goldwyn Studio lot in Hollywood, CA. Production was expected to conclude six weeks later.
       According to the 23 Sep 1969 DV, George Eckert worked on the film as a dialogue coach.
       On 10 Jun 1970, Var noted that Stewart, Fonda, and Kelly were on hand to attend that evening’s world premiere event in Salt Lake City, UT. A 17 Jun 1970 DV brief indicated that the company’s distribution arm, National General Pictures Corporation, began opening the picture regionally in at least eight theaters across Montana; Idaho; Salt Lake City; Des Moines, IA; and Omaha, NE, while box-office reports in the 1 Jul 1970 Var suggested more playdates were added in cities such as Boston, MA; Portland, OR; and Denver, CO. A Los Angeles, CA, engagement began 17 Jun 1970 at the Picwood Theatre, where it played exclusively for one month before the 23 Jul 1970 LAT announced its citywide expansion the following week. The film opened in New York City on 16 Sep 1970. A 20 Jan 1971 Var article listed domestic rentals totaling $5 million.
       The 15 Feb 1971 LAT stated that James Lee Barrett’s screenplay was nominated for a Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award as one of that year’s best original American comedies. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
11 Feb 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
28 Feb 1969
p. 1.
Daily Variety
9 Feb 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
20 Jun 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
2 Jul 1969
p. 57.
Daily Variety
9 Jul 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
11 Jul 1969
p. 10.
Daily Variety
7 Aug 1969
p. 3.
Daily Variety
8 Aug 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
20 Aug 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
12 Sep 1969
p. 4.
Daily Variety
23 Sep 1969
p. 4.
Daily Variety
6 Jul 1970
p. 4.
Daily Variety
17 Jun 1970
p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
17 Mar 1969
Section E, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
14 Sep 1969
Section O, p. 22.
Los Angeles Times
17 Jun 1970
Section F, p. 1, 12.
Los Angeles Times
23 Jul 1970
Section F, p. 19.
Los Angeles Times
15 Feb 1971
Section F, p. 14.
New York Times
17 Sep 1970
p. 56.
Variety
10 Jun 1970
p. 6.
Variety
1 Jul 1970
p. 8.
Variety
1 Jul 1970
p. 10.
Variety
20 Jan 1971
p. 7.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus & mus dir
SOUND
Music ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Main titles
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Unit mgr
SOURCES
SONGS
"One Dream," words and music by Walter Scharf, Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
"Rolling Stone," words and music by Walter Scharf, Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn, sung by James Stewart and Henry Fonda.
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 June 1970
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 17 June 1970
New York opening: 16 September 1970
Production Date:
11 July--late September 1969
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
103
MPAA Rating:
GP
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1870, Texas cowboy John O'Hanlan receives a letter from Willowby, a lawyer in Cheyenne, Wyoming, informing him that he has inherited an establishment called the Cheyenne Social Club. O'Hanlan immediately sets out with his close friend Harley O'Sullivan to claim the property, and after a year's journey, he arrives in Cheyenne to receive the accrued profits and set himself up as a man of means and an upright citizen. When he discovers that the Cheyenne Social Club is a brothel, however, he makes plans to fire the women and convert the building into a boardinghouse. The whole town tries to dissuade him; Willowby explains that the house is on railroad property and that he will lose it if he closes it down. When Jenny, the madam of the house, is beaten up by Corey Bannister, O'Hanlan challenges him to a gunfight and, through an improbable stroke of luck, kills him. O'Hanlan and O'Sullivan soon find themselves the object of the Bannister brothers' revenge. Despite their ineptitude as gunfighters, O'Hanlan and O'Sullivan manage to defeat the Bannisters, only to find themselves sought by the entire 200-member Bannister clan. Realizing that their luck is running out, they deed the Cheyenne Social Club to Jenny and hastily leave ... +


In 1870, Texas cowboy John O'Hanlan receives a letter from Willowby, a lawyer in Cheyenne, Wyoming, informing him that he has inherited an establishment called the Cheyenne Social Club. O'Hanlan immediately sets out with his close friend Harley O'Sullivan to claim the property, and after a year's journey, he arrives in Cheyenne to receive the accrued profits and set himself up as a man of means and an upright citizen. When he discovers that the Cheyenne Social Club is a brothel, however, he makes plans to fire the women and convert the building into a boardinghouse. The whole town tries to dissuade him; Willowby explains that the house is on railroad property and that he will lose it if he closes it down. When Jenny, the madam of the house, is beaten up by Corey Bannister, O'Hanlan challenges him to a gunfight and, through an improbable stroke of luck, kills him. O'Hanlan and O'Sullivan soon find themselves the object of the Bannister brothers' revenge. Despite their ineptitude as gunfighters, O'Hanlan and O'Sullivan manage to defeat the Bannisters, only to find themselves sought by the entire 200-member Bannister clan. Realizing that their luck is running out, they deed the Cheyenne Social Club to Jenny and hastily leave town. +

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

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