Nevada Smith (1966)

128 mins | Western | 1966

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HISTORY

The 7 Jun 1965 NYT reported plans by producer Joseph E. Levine’s Embassy Pictures Corp. to make a film based on the character “Nevada Smith,” as a prequel to The Carpetbaggers (1964, see entry), and the 1961 Harold Robbins novel of the same name upon which it was based. According to the 14 Apr 1965 DV, star Steve McQueen disliked the initial screenplay, requiring writer John Michael Hayes to make major revisions. As stated in the 12 May 1965 DV, actor Roddy McDowall was offered a role, but was forced to decline as he was already committed to star in Lord Love a Duck (1966, see entry). On 16 Jun 1965, DV noted that director Henry Hathaway hoped to cast Eli Wallach, Arthur Kennedy, and Don Gordon as the title character’s three nemeses. Wallach and Gordon were ultimately replaced by Karl Malden and Martin Landau.
       Principal photography began 12 Jul 1965 in Bishop, CA, as stated in 6 Aug 1965 DV production charts. One month later, the 5 Sep 1965 LAT described the staged burning of a cabin on a mountain known as Cerro Gordo, in nearby Lone Pine, CA. On 9 Sep 1965, DV reported the production’s move to Baton Rouge, LA. Two weeks later, the 23 Sep DV revealed that the company was forced to headquarter in New Orleans, LA, as tourists descended on Baton Rouge for a college football game. According to the 6 Oct 1965 DV, the final week of production was delayed ... More Less

The 7 Jun 1965 NYT reported plans by producer Joseph E. Levine’s Embassy Pictures Corp. to make a film based on the character “Nevada Smith,” as a prequel to The Carpetbaggers (1964, see entry), and the 1961 Harold Robbins novel of the same name upon which it was based. According to the 14 Apr 1965 DV, star Steve McQueen disliked the initial screenplay, requiring writer John Michael Hayes to make major revisions. As stated in the 12 May 1965 DV, actor Roddy McDowall was offered a role, but was forced to decline as he was already committed to star in Lord Love a Duck (1966, see entry). On 16 Jun 1965, DV noted that director Henry Hathaway hoped to cast Eli Wallach, Arthur Kennedy, and Don Gordon as the title character’s three nemeses. Wallach and Gordon were ultimately replaced by Karl Malden and Martin Landau.
       Principal photography began 12 Jul 1965 in Bishop, CA, as stated in 6 Aug 1965 DV production charts. One month later, the 5 Sep 1965 LAT described the staged burning of a cabin on a mountain known as Cerro Gordo, in nearby Lone Pine, CA. On 9 Sep 1965, DV reported the production’s move to Baton Rouge, LA. Two weeks later, the 23 Sep DV revealed that the company was forced to headquarter in New Orleans, LA, as tourists descended on Baton Rouge for a college football game. According to the 6 Oct 1965 DV, the final week of production was delayed by heavy rains. However, a news item in the 14 Oct 1965 DV indicated the completion of photography with the return of cast member Merritt Bohn to Los Angeles, CA.
       Days later, the 22 Oct 1965 DV announced that Levine would host a party on 29 Oct 1965 on the Nevada Smith set at Paramount Pictures, in honor of the Theatre Owners of America (TOA), who were holding a convention in Los Angeles. The night of the party, a fire broke out at neighboring Desilu Studios and spread to the Paramount lot. While no one was killed or injured, the 30 Oct 1965 LAT and 1 Nov 1965 DV estimated property damages at $200,000. Steve McQueen reportedly assisted firefighters in dousing the flames.
       On 19 Jan 1966, DV noted that the final stages of post-production were underway. The film’s budget was estimated at $4 million.
       A news item in the 2 Jun 1966 DV announced Levine’s upcoming eleven-city promotional tour, starting 6 Jun 1966. The film was scheduled for its European debut later that month at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain, as noted in the 24 May 1966 DV.
       Nevada Smith opened in Jun 1966 to unenthusiastic critical notices, several of which suggested it was too long. Public response was considerably better, with rentals totaling $5 million, as stated in the 4 Jan 1967 Var.
       Casting notices during the course of production included Chubby Johnson “and his beard” (8 Jul 1965 DV); Jerry Gatlin, Chuck Roberson, Red Morgan , Loren James, Chuck Hayward, Henry Willis, and Isabel Boniface (20 Jul DV); Iron Eyes Cody and Chief Yowlachi (12 Aug 1965 DV); Michele Breeze, Susan Sturtridge, Rita Stetson, Connie Ducharme, Marilyn Bell, and Sally Frei (2 Sep 1965 DV); Strother Martin, Joanna Moore, and Val Jenkins (10 Sep 1965 DV).
       ”Film Assignments” in the 9 Jul 1965 DV listed the following crew members: Curtis Mick, assistant production manager; Danny McCauley and Joseph Lenzi, assistant directors; Marshall Wolins, script supervisor; Dick Batcheller, camera operator; Bill Clark , camera assistant; Jack Gereghty, still photography; Glen Anderson, boom operator; Albert Cuesta, recorder; Richard Spelker, cableman; Tony Wade and Les Hallett, props; Arthur Gaunt and John Hennessy, grips; Chet Stafford, gaffer; Delson Stein, best boy; Tony Scarano and Thalia Phillips, costumers; Jim Chirco, serviceman; Dee Turner, painter; Tom Sutton, wrangler; Al Latta, transportation; Wally Sharpe, nurseryman; Howard Cashion, camera mechanic. An article in the 3 Aug 1965 DV noted that Walter Bellig was “assigned to supervise animal action.”
Copyright length: 139 min. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Apr 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
12 May 1965
p. 1.
Daily Variety
16 Jun 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
2 Jul 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
8 Jul 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
9 Jul 1965
p. 6.
Daily Variety
20 Jul 1965
p. 4.
Daily Variety
3 Aug 1965
p. 9.
Daily Variety
6 Aug 1965
p. 9.
Daily Variety
12 Aug 1965
p. 4.
Daily Variety
2 Sep 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
9 Sep 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
10 Sep 1965
p. 4.
Daily Variety
23 Sep 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
6 Oct 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
14 Oct 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
22 Oct 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
1 Nov 1965
p. 14.
Daily Variety
19 Jan 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
2 Jun 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
24 May 1966
p. 6.
Daily Variety
31 May 1966
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
5 Sep 1965
Section B, p. 4, 31.
Los Angeles Times
30 Oct 1965
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
12 Jun 1966
Section B, p. 13.
New York Times
7 Jun 1965
p. 50.
New York Times
30 Jun 1966
p. 28.
Variety
4 Jan 1967
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
Screen story & scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Orch
Orch
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
Hairstyle supv
Hairdresser
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on a character in the novel The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins (New York, 1961).
DETAILS
Release Date:
1966
Premiere Information:
Miami, Florida, opening: 10 June 1966
Production Date:
12 July--October 1965
Copyright Claimant:
Solar Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1965
Copyright Number:
LP32761
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
128
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Max Sand is a young halfbreed living in the mountain and desert West of the 1890's. One day three gunslingers torture and kill his parents. Swearing an oath of vengeance, Max makes a funeral pyre out of the family shack and sets out to track down the killers. He is befriended by Jonas Cord, a traveling gunsmith and ammunition maker, who tries to dissuade him from his mission but, failing that, teaches him how to defend himself with a gun. Searching town after town, Max eventually finds one of his parents' murderers, Jesse Coe, and kills him in a brutal knife fight. After his own wounds have been cared for by Neesa, a Kiowa girl, Max heads for Louisiana, where a second killer is serving a prison sentence. Max stages a fake holdup, is thrown into jail, feigns friendship with the man, Bill Bowdre, and joins him in an escape. Aided by an amorous Cajun girl, the two men make their way through the swamps. As they reach freedom, Max reveals his true identity and guns down Bowdre; the girl also dies from a snakebite. Five years have passed since Max began his vendetta, and he has changed from a naive cowhand into a hardened criminal. Finally, Max finds the last man, Tom Fitch. In the showdown, Max shoots his opponent in both legs but is unable to kill him. He throws away his guns and rides off to ask Jonas Cord for a job; calling himself Nevada Smith, he hopes to make a new life for ... +


Max Sand is a young halfbreed living in the mountain and desert West of the 1890's. One day three gunslingers torture and kill his parents. Swearing an oath of vengeance, Max makes a funeral pyre out of the family shack and sets out to track down the killers. He is befriended by Jonas Cord, a traveling gunsmith and ammunition maker, who tries to dissuade him from his mission but, failing that, teaches him how to defend himself with a gun. Searching town after town, Max eventually finds one of his parents' murderers, Jesse Coe, and kills him in a brutal knife fight. After his own wounds have been cared for by Neesa, a Kiowa girl, Max heads for Louisiana, where a second killer is serving a prison sentence. Max stages a fake holdup, is thrown into jail, feigns friendship with the man, Bill Bowdre, and joins him in an escape. Aided by an amorous Cajun girl, the two men make their way through the swamps. As they reach freedom, Max reveals his true identity and guns down Bowdre; the girl also dies from a snakebite. Five years have passed since Max began his vendetta, and he has changed from a naive cowhand into a hardened criminal. Finally, Max finds the last man, Tom Fitch. In the showdown, Max shoots his opponent in both legs but is unable to kill him. He throws away his guns and rides off to ask Jonas Cord for a job; calling himself Nevada Smith, he hopes to make a new life for himself. +

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

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