Welcome to Hard Times (1967)

103 mins | Western | 1 May 1967

Director:

Burt Kennedy

Writer:

Burt Kennedy

Cinematographer:

Harry Stradling, Jr.

Editor:

Aaron Stell

Production Designers:

George W. Davis, Carl Anderson

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
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HISTORY

A news item in the 28 Feb 1964 DV announced that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (MGM) had optioned screen rights to E. L. Doctorow’s 1960 novel, Welcome to Hard Times. Richard E. Lyons was assigned to produce, and the 4 Mar 1964 Var noted that Burt Kennedy was set to write and direct.
       According to a 3 Feb 1965 DV brief, Lyons was in talks with actress Rita Hayworth, whose own production company had previously been interested in making a film adaptation of the Doctorow book. Other actors under consideration at that time included Gregory Peck and Angie Dickinson. Hayworth was officially cast, as reported in the 7 Jun 1966 DV; however, she suffered a broken rib from a swimming pool accident at her home in Jul 1966 and had to be replaced by Janice Rule.
       Dimitri Tiomkin was initially hired to compose the score, according to items in the 23 Aug 1966 LAT and 24 Aug 1966 Var. Tiomkin did not remain with the project, and a 2 Nov 1966 DV brief announced that composer Harry Sukman had joined.
       A production chart in the 25 Oct 1966 DV stated that principal photography began on 26 Jul 1966. An article in the 30 Aug 1966 LAT indicated that location shooting took place on the Janss Conejo Ranch in the Conejo Valley near Thousand Oaks, CA. At least four weeks of the shooting schedule were to be completed there. Filming ended on 2 Sep 1966, the 6 Sep 1966 DV reported.
       The film opened on 1 ... More Less

A news item in the 28 Feb 1964 DV announced that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (MGM) had optioned screen rights to E. L. Doctorow’s 1960 novel, Welcome to Hard Times. Richard E. Lyons was assigned to produce, and the 4 Mar 1964 Var noted that Burt Kennedy was set to write and direct.
       According to a 3 Feb 1965 DV brief, Lyons was in talks with actress Rita Hayworth, whose own production company had previously been interested in making a film adaptation of the Doctorow book. Other actors under consideration at that time included Gregory Peck and Angie Dickinson. Hayworth was officially cast, as reported in the 7 Jun 1966 DV; however, she suffered a broken rib from a swimming pool accident at her home in Jul 1966 and had to be replaced by Janice Rule.
       Dimitri Tiomkin was initially hired to compose the score, according to items in the 23 Aug 1966 LAT and 24 Aug 1966 Var. Tiomkin did not remain with the project, and a 2 Nov 1966 DV brief announced that composer Harry Sukman had joined.
       A production chart in the 25 Oct 1966 DV stated that principal photography began on 26 Jul 1966. An article in the 30 Aug 1966 LAT indicated that location shooting took place on the Janss Conejo Ranch in the Conejo Valley near Thousand Oaks, CA. At least four weeks of the shooting schedule were to be completed there. Filming ended on 2 Sep 1966, the 6 Sep 1966 DV reported.
       The film opened on 1 May 1967 at the Festival Theatre in New York City. A 19 Apr 1967 Var item guessed that MGM had changed release plans from a wider “saturation exposure” to the single arthouse booking based on early praise “from the Cahiers du Cinema crowd,” including Village Voice critic Andrew Sarris. Reviews in the 24 Mar 1967 DV and 2 May 1967 NYT were negative, however, and only seven months later, the picture was aired on ABC-TV, prompting ire from the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), who called the move an “unshowmanly gesture,” the 27 Dec 1967 DV noted. The quick turnaround from theatrical release to television premiere was “believed a record for a major studio,” according to DV. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
28 Feb 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
3 Aug 1964
p. 1.
Daily Variety
20 Oct 1964
p. 9.
Daily Variety
3 Feb 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 Feb 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
7 Jun 1966
p. 1.
Daily Variety
15 Jul 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
6 Sep 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
25 Oct 1966
p. 111.
Daily Variety
2 Nov 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
24 Mar 1967
p. 3.
Daily Variety
27 Dec 1967
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
21 Jan 1966
Section C, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
23 Aug 1966
Section C, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
30 Aug 1966
Section C, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
17 May 1967
Section D, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
17 May 1967
Section D, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
29 Aug 1967
Section D, p. 1, 10.
New York Times
2 May 1967.
---
Variety
4 Mar 1964
p. 20.
Variety
23 Feb 1966
p. 4.
Variety
24 Aug 1966
p. 70.
Variety
19 Apr 1967
p. 7.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Max E. Youngstein-David Karr Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
Rec supv
Boom op
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstyles
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Scr supv
Stills
Gaffer
Gaffer
Casting
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Welcome to Hard Times by E. L. Doctorow (New York, 1960).
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 May 1967
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 1 May 1967
Los Angeles opening: 17 May 1967
Production Date:
26 July--2 September 1966
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1966
Copyright Number:
LP34092
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Metrocolor
Duration(in mins):
103
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Hard Times, a tiny frontier settlement consisting of a few ramshackle buildings and a stable, is terrorized one day by the "Man from Bodie," a stranger who brutally murders several people, rapes dancehall girl Molly Riordan, and burns the town to the ground before riding away. Only four of the survivors try to rebuild the town: Will Blue, lawyer and unofficial mayor; Jimmy Fee, young son of one of the murder victims; John Bear, a Pawnee Indian; and Molly. Consumed by hatred and convinced that Will is a coward, Molly teaches Jimmy how to shoot in anticipation of the stranger's inevitable return. As the survivors rebuild Hard Times, they are joined by Zar, who arrives with whiskey and women to set up a traveling saloon for neighboring miners. After a bitter winter, Hard Times begins to resemble a community once again. Finally, the stranger returns, and Molly's hysteria forces Will into taking a stand. His shot only wounds the stranger, and Molly is grabbed by the wounded man as she tries to stab him; Jimmy then tries to end the struggle by shooting the stranger, but he accidentally kills Molly instead. Aware now that bitterness can only lead to tragedy, Will decides to remain in Hard Times to ensure its safety for future ... +


Hard Times, a tiny frontier settlement consisting of a few ramshackle buildings and a stable, is terrorized one day by the "Man from Bodie," a stranger who brutally murders several people, rapes dancehall girl Molly Riordan, and burns the town to the ground before riding away. Only four of the survivors try to rebuild the town: Will Blue, lawyer and unofficial mayor; Jimmy Fee, young son of one of the murder victims; John Bear, a Pawnee Indian; and Molly. Consumed by hatred and convinced that Will is a coward, Molly teaches Jimmy how to shoot in anticipation of the stranger's inevitable return. As the survivors rebuild Hard Times, they are joined by Zar, who arrives with whiskey and women to set up a traveling saloon for neighboring miners. After a bitter winter, Hard Times begins to resemble a community once again. Finally, the stranger returns, and Molly's hysteria forces Will into taking a stand. His shot only wounds the stranger, and Molly is grabbed by the wounded man as she tries to stab him; Jimmy then tries to end the struggle by shooting the stranger, but he accidentally kills Molly instead. Aware now that bitterness can only lead to tragedy, Will decides to remain in Hard Times to ensure its safety for future residents. +

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.