A Time for Killing (1967)

88 mins | Melodrama | November 1967

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HISTORY

A Time for Killing was originally titled The Southern Blade, after the 1961 novel by Nelson and Shirley Wolford upon which it was based. Film rights to the book were optioned by producer Harry Joe Brown in fall 1964, according to a news item in the 15 Oct 1964 DV. The project was set up at Columbia Pictures, and Roger Corman, who had recently signed a long-term deal with the studio, was assigned to direct and co-produce through his La Honda Service Productions, as noted in the 25 Nov 1964 Var and 19 Jul 1965 DV. Actor Nick Adams was set to appear, an item in the 15 Dec 1964 DV reported. The project was briefly retitled Rio Diablo, and then The Long Ride Home. Although principal photography was initially scheduled to begin in spring 1965, production was delayed. The 27 Oct 1965 DV announced that Richard Boone was considering a role, and, months later, the 15 Apr 1966 DV stated that Cliff Robertson had been cast; however, neither appeared in the final film, nor did Nick Adams.
       An article in the 10 Jun 1966 LAT stated that the production would cost more than $500,000, making it a higher-than-usual budget for Roger Corman, who had been known for making independent, low-budget features before signing with Columbia. When Corman first began working with the studio, he found they were unreceptive to his ideas, and, likewise, he was not interested in the material they had to offer him. He eventually agreed to make A Time for Killing ... More Less

A Time for Killing was originally titled The Southern Blade, after the 1961 novel by Nelson and Shirley Wolford upon which it was based. Film rights to the book were optioned by producer Harry Joe Brown in fall 1964, according to a news item in the 15 Oct 1964 DV. The project was set up at Columbia Pictures, and Roger Corman, who had recently signed a long-term deal with the studio, was assigned to direct and co-produce through his La Honda Service Productions, as noted in the 25 Nov 1964 Var and 19 Jul 1965 DV. Actor Nick Adams was set to appear, an item in the 15 Dec 1964 DV reported. The project was briefly retitled Rio Diablo, and then The Long Ride Home. Although principal photography was initially scheduled to begin in spring 1965, production was delayed. The 27 Oct 1965 DV announced that Richard Boone was considering a role, and, months later, the 15 Apr 1966 DV stated that Cliff Robertson had been cast; however, neither appeared in the final film, nor did Nick Adams.
       An article in the 10 Jun 1966 LAT stated that the production would cost more than $500,000, making it a higher-than-usual budget for Roger Corman, who had been known for making independent, low-budget features before signing with Columbia. When Corman first began working with the studio, he found they were unreceptive to his ideas, and, likewise, he was not interested in the material they had to offer him. He eventually agreed to make A Time for Killing on the condition that he was “allowed to do what he wanted with the script.”
       Filming began on 7 Jun 1966, in or around Kanab, UT. Some scenes were shot in Zion National Park, UT, and in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, also in Utah. Location shooting was set to take follow in Arizona, where some filming was based in the town of Page.
       On 24 Jun 1966, a DV news brief reported that Corman had been replaced by director Phil Karlson. Monte Hellman was replaced as editor several weeks later. Although no reason was given at the time of Corman’s departure, a 29 Jun 1966 DV item later cited “artistic differences.” With the addition of Karlson, Anthony Ray was made first assistant director, the 1 Jul 1966 DV noted. In mid-Jul 1966, production moved to the Columbia studio lot in Hollywood, CA.
       A 13 Sep 1967 Var brief stated that theatrical release was scheduled to take place in Nov 1967, despite earlier designs for a summer release. The film was not reviewed in DV until 10 Jun 1968, when the publication acknowledged that trade screenings had been offered on the East and West Coasts in the fall of 1967. The DV review asserted, “It was only via journalistic mishap that [A Time for Killing] emerged as the first major studio-produced ‘A’ pic (supposed) in years not to receive a Daily Variety review at the time of initial release.” The picture was scheduled to open in Los Angeles, CA, on 2 Oct 1968, according to a 30 Sep 1968 LAT announcement.
       The following actors were named as cast members in DV and LAT items published between Jun and Jul 1966: Sarita Vera; Al Wyatt; Elizabeth Ferrar; Frank Scannell; Mike Perrotta; Audrey Betz; Angelina Bauer; Linda Cordova; and Mary Garcia. Also, a 4 Aug 1966 DV brief stated that the role of a “military orderly” was cast with one actor, but ultimately performed by Peter Ford, the son of leading man Glenn Ford. Another DV item published on the same day stated that actor George Hamilton was planning an end-of-filming party at his house. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
15 Oct 1964
p. 3.
Daily Variety
15 Dec 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
26 Feb 1965
p. 6.
Daily Variety
19 Jul 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
27 Oct 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
15 Apr 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
19 Apr 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
28 Apr 1966
p. 4.
Daily Variety
6 May 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
6 Jun 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
10 Jun 1966
p. 4.
Daily Variety
22 Jun 1966
p. 4.
Daily Variety
24 Jun 1966
p. 1.
Daily Variety
24 Jun 1966
p. 10.
Daily Variety
29 Jun 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
1 Jul 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
12 Jul 1966
p. 4.
Daily Variety
15 Jul 1966
p. 8.
Daily Variety
21 Jul 1966
p. 4.
Daily Variety
26 Jul 1966
p. 10.
Daily Variety
4 Aug 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Aug 1966
p. 7.
Daily Variety
10 Jun 1968
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
11 Jun 1965
Section C, p. 23.
Los Angeles Times
10 Jun 1966
Section D, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
28 Jul 1966
Section C, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
30 Sep 1968
Section C, p. 21.
Variety
25 Nov 1964
p. 7.
Variety
16 Jun 1965
p. 20.
Variety
23 Feb 1966
p. 25.
Variety
13 Sep 1967
p. 20.
Variety
21 Feb 1968
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus comp & cond
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Asst to prod
Scr supv
Filmed through the courtesy of
Filmed through the coutesty of
Filmed through the courtesy of
Gaffer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Southern Blade by Nelson Wolford, Shirley Wolford (New York, 1961).
SONGS
"The Long Ride Home," music and lyrics by Ned Washington and Van Alexander, sung by Eddy Arnold.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Long Ride Home
The Southern Blade
Rio Diablo
Release Date:
November 1967
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 2 October 1968
Production Date:
7 June--early August 1966
Copyright Claimant:
Sage Western Pictures
Copyright Date:
1 May 1967
Copyright Number:
LP35094
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Pathé
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
88
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Near the end of the Civil War, a Confederate prisoner is sentenced to death for killing a Union guard while attempting to escape from Fort Hawkes, Utah. When he insults the fort's commanding officer, the military execution squad is replaced by black orderlies. Enraged by this humiliation, the Rebels' ranking officer, Captain Dorrit Bentley, effects a mass escape by blowing up the fort. While on the run, he and his men kill a detail of Union soldiers and take as hostage Emily Biddle, a missionary engaged to the fort's second-in-command, Major Charles Wolcott. Wolcott is ordered to lead a pursuit party, and Bentley's men make their way to a small town in the Arizona badlands, where they plan to ambush their pursuers. Bentley allows one of his men to kill a Union dispatch rider in a saloon and learns from the victim's papers that Lee has surrendered at Appomattox. Although he conceals the news from his men, Bentley divulges the information to Emily, then rapes and beats her into unconsciousness before heading toward the Mexican border with his troops. Wolcott and his men enter town, and Emily, just as Bentley intended, withholds the news about the war and demands that he track down and kill the captain. The two men finally clash in a deserted mission at the Arizona-Mexico border; Bentley is mortally wounded but has his moment of triumph by telling Wolcott both of the war's end and of Emily's knowledge of the fact. Dazed, Wolcott and the remaining survivors of the senseless conflict begin the long trek home, with Emily following behind ... +


Near the end of the Civil War, a Confederate prisoner is sentenced to death for killing a Union guard while attempting to escape from Fort Hawkes, Utah. When he insults the fort's commanding officer, the military execution squad is replaced by black orderlies. Enraged by this humiliation, the Rebels' ranking officer, Captain Dorrit Bentley, effects a mass escape by blowing up the fort. While on the run, he and his men kill a detail of Union soldiers and take as hostage Emily Biddle, a missionary engaged to the fort's second-in-command, Major Charles Wolcott. Wolcott is ordered to lead a pursuit party, and Bentley's men make their way to a small town in the Arizona badlands, where they plan to ambush their pursuers. Bentley allows one of his men to kill a Union dispatch rider in a saloon and learns from the victim's papers that Lee has surrendered at Appomattox. Although he conceals the news from his men, Bentley divulges the information to Emily, then rapes and beats her into unconsciousness before heading toward the Mexican border with his troops. Wolcott and his men enter town, and Emily, just as Bentley intended, withholds the news about the war and demands that he track down and kill the captain. The two men finally clash in a deserted mission at the Arizona-Mexico border; Bentley is mortally wounded but has his moment of triumph by telling Wolcott both of the war's end and of Emily's knowledge of the fact. Dazed, Wolcott and the remaining survivors of the senseless conflict begin the long trek home, with Emily following behind them. +

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

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