His Kind of Woman (1951)

120 mins | Film noir | 25 August 1951

Director:

John Farrow

Producer:

Robert Sparks

Cinematographer:

Harry Wild

Production Designer:

J. McMillan Johnson

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Smiler with a Gun and Killer with a Smile. The title of Frank Fenton and Jack Leonard's screen story was "The Big Bullet." Onscreen credits note that Jane Russell sang the Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson song "You'll Know" in the picture. A third song by McHugh and Adamson, titled "Kiss and Run," was written for the film but not used, according to an Apr 1950 HR news item. Opening scenes include brief voice-over narration and inserts of maps. Although an early 1949 HR news items reported that RKO owned the rights to a Gerald Drayson Adams' screenplay titled Star Sapphire, which was re-titled His Kind of Woman in late 1949, and that Robert Mitchum and Russell were to star in that project, it does not appear that Adams' script is related to this picture. According to a Feb 1949 HR item, Star Sapphire is the story of a doctor who becomes an amateur sleuth in order to clear his name.
       In Oct 1949, HR announced that John Cromwell was being considered as director for His Kind of Woman. RKO borrowed Leslye Banning from Universal-International for the production. According to the Newsweek review, RKO producers Jerry Wald and Norman Krasna "doctored" the picture, which RKO head Howard Hughes ordered shelved for fifteen months. The exact nature of Wald and Krasna's contribution to the final film, if any, has not been determined. Many reviewers commented on the film's two-hour running time, noting that the studio planned to cut approximately thirty minutes of footage before the picture's general release, but these cuts ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Smiler with a Gun and Killer with a Smile. The title of Frank Fenton and Jack Leonard's screen story was "The Big Bullet." Onscreen credits note that Jane Russell sang the Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson song "You'll Know" in the picture. A third song by McHugh and Adamson, titled "Kiss and Run," was written for the film but not used, according to an Apr 1950 HR news item. Opening scenes include brief voice-over narration and inserts of maps. Although an early 1949 HR news items reported that RKO owned the rights to a Gerald Drayson Adams' screenplay titled Star Sapphire, which was re-titled His Kind of Woman in late 1949, and that Robert Mitchum and Russell were to star in that project, it does not appear that Adams' script is related to this picture. According to a Feb 1949 HR item, Star Sapphire is the story of a doctor who becomes an amateur sleuth in order to clear his name.
       In Oct 1949, HR announced that John Cromwell was being considered as director for His Kind of Woman. RKO borrowed Leslye Banning from Universal-International for the production. According to the Newsweek review, RKO producers Jerry Wald and Norman Krasna "doctored" the picture, which RKO head Howard Hughes ordered shelved for fifteen months. The exact nature of Wald and Krasna's contribution to the final film, if any, has not been determined. Many reviewers commented on the film's two-hour running time, noting that the studio planned to cut approximately thirty minutes of footage before the picture's general release, but these cuts apparently were never made. Various news items reported that the film ran afoul of London censors because a billboard painted by Mario Zamparelli advertising the picture showed too much of Russell's cleavage. Modern sources note that the London censors also objected to the billboard's "tag line"--"the hottest combination ever." To appease the censors, the line, written by Hedda Hopper to describe the teaming of Russell and Mitchum, was changed to "the greatest combination ever." Just prior to the picture's Sep 1951 Los Angeles release, a thirty-ton, gilt-framed reproduction of Zamparelli's oil painting was erected on the corner of Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard, according to news items. It has been claimed by modern sources that Raymond Burr actually knocked out Mitchum during a take of their fight scene.








More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Jul 1951.
---
Daily Variety
21 Dec 1949.
---
Daily Variety
11 Jul 51
p. 3.
Daily Variety
29 Aug 51
p. 3, 11.
Film Daily
13 Jul 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 1949.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 49
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Oct 49
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Dec 49
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Apr 50
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 50
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Apr 50
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 50
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
19 May 50
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 50
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 50
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jan 51
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 51
p. 3.
Interior Design and Decoration
Jul 1950.
---
LA Mirror
13 Sep 51
p. 26.
Los Angeles Examiner
1 Sep 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
21 Jul 51
p. 938.
New York Times
30 Aug 51
p. 20.
Newsweek
10 Sep 1951.
---
Variety
18 Jul 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A John Farrow Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Paintings
COSTUMES
Miss Russell's gowns by
MUSIC
Mus dir
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
SOURCES
SONGS
"Five Little Miles from San Berdoo," words and music by Sam Coslow
"You'll Know," words and music by Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Killer with a Smile
Smiler with a Gun
Release Date:
25 August 1951
Premiere Information:
Philadelphia, PA opening: 15 August 1951
Production Date:
10 April--23 May 1950
addl scenes began 30 January 1951
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
19 August 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1177
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
120
Length(in feet):
10,792
Length(in reels):
13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14533
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Gangster Nick Ferraro, who has been living in Naples since his deportation from the United States, is anxious to return to the States to put his lucrative enterprises in order. To accomplish this, he and his cohorts in the States and Mexico--Corle, Thompson and Martin Krafft--select an unwitting gambler named Dan Milner, whose weight and height match Ferraro's, to provide Ferraro with a new identity. Corle offers Dan $50,000 to go to Mexico for a year, without revealing who is paying him or why. Broke, Dan accepts the initial $20,000 payment and travels to Nogales, Mexico, to receive further instructions. While waiting for a plane to take him to his final destination, Dan meets Lenore Brent, a beautiful heiress and polished singer. To his surprise, he and Lenore board the same charter plane, which Dan finally learns is headed for Morro's Lodge in Baja California. At the remote, exclusive resort, owner José Morro questions Dan about his background, while guest Myron Winton, an investment banker, fills him in on some of the lodge's more mysterious guests, including Krafft, who is posing as a chess-playing writer. Dan then meets Hollywood actor Mark Cardigan, who is also an avid hunter. Dan soon becomes suspicious of Krafft and Thompson after he discovers they have bungalows next to his. Anxious to know what is going on, Dan confronts Krafft and the gun-wielding Thompson, who give him another $10,000 and assure him that he will find out more from a man who is en route to the lodge. The next day, after noticing Myron flirting with Jennie Stone, an unhappy newlywed, Dan deduces that Lenore is having ... +


Gangster Nick Ferraro, who has been living in Naples since his deportation from the United States, is anxious to return to the States to put his lucrative enterprises in order. To accomplish this, he and his cohorts in the States and Mexico--Corle, Thompson and Martin Krafft--select an unwitting gambler named Dan Milner, whose weight and height match Ferraro's, to provide Ferraro with a new identity. Corle offers Dan $50,000 to go to Mexico for a year, without revealing who is paying him or why. Broke, Dan accepts the initial $20,000 payment and travels to Nogales, Mexico, to receive further instructions. While waiting for a plane to take him to his final destination, Dan meets Lenore Brent, a beautiful heiress and polished singer. To his surprise, he and Lenore board the same charter plane, which Dan finally learns is headed for Morro's Lodge in Baja California. At the remote, exclusive resort, owner José Morro questions Dan about his background, while guest Myron Winton, an investment banker, fills him in on some of the lodge's more mysterious guests, including Krafft, who is posing as a chess-playing writer. Dan then meets Hollywood actor Mark Cardigan, who is also an avid hunter. Dan soon becomes suspicious of Krafft and Thompson after he discovers they have bungalows next to his. Anxious to know what is going on, Dan confronts Krafft and the gun-wielding Thompson, who give him another $10,000 and assure him that he will find out more from a man who is en route to the lodge. The next day, after noticing Myron flirting with Jennie Stone, an unhappy newlywed, Dan deduces that Lenore is having an affair with Mark. Unknown to Dan, Lenore is actually Liz Brady, a former singer who is posing as an heiress in order to marry Mark, who is estranged from his wife Helen. After the soft-hearted Dan helps Jennie's husband Milton beat Myron at poker and thereby eliminate his debt to the banker, he asks Morro about the man he is to meet. Morro claims ignorance, then tries to discourage a drunk pilot, Bill Lusk, from landing at the resort, as a serious storm is approaching. Dan and Lenore watch Bill crash-land near the lodge, and in the moonlight, Dan impulsively kisses Lenore. The next day, Mark's personal manager, Gerald Hobson, arrives at the lodge with Helen, who has halted her divorce proceedings and wants to rejoin her husband. Mark rejects the idea, even though Gerald warns him that his publicized affair with Lenore could cost him his career. Dan then corners Bill and accuses him of faking his drunkenness. Bill confesses that he is an undercover Immigration Department agent and reveals that Dan has sold his identity to a notorious gangster, who has hired Krafft, an ex-Nazi plastic surgeon, to alter his face to resemble Dan's. Despite Bill's warnings, Dan refuses to cooperate with the agent, and later, while searching Morro's office, Bill is caught by Thompson and murdered. After Dan and Lenore come across Bill's body on the beach, Dan orders Lenore to leave the lodge out of concern for her safety. In his bungalow, Dan then is accosted by Thompson and two thugs and announces he is backing out of the deal. The thugs outdraw Dan, but Dan is able to alert Lenore to his predicament before he is forced into the boat that is to take him to Ferraro's yacht. Lenore entreats Mark to come to Dan's rescue, and Mark, anxious to prove he is a genuine hero, eagerly accepts the challenge. Dan, meanwhile, manages to escape from Thompson and swim to shore, but as soon as he tells Mark that the man on the boat is Ferraro, he sneaks back onto the yacht. Dan is soon being chased by the ship's crew and, despite shooting holes in the ship's steam pipes, is captured and brought to Ferraro. The gangster condemns Dan as a "welcher" and orders his men to beat him, then forces him to repair the steam pipes. Meanwhile, on the beach, Mark uses his hunting skills to pick off Thompson and his cohorts and leads the Mexican police and some volunteer fighters to Ferraro's yacht. Realizing that his scheme is doomed, Ferraro prepares to shoot Dan, but is stopped by the arrival of Mark and the police. While they and the ship's crew engage in a gunfight on the deck, Krafft suggests to Ferraro that he can inject Dan with some anesthesia, which will render him helpless and cause him to develop amnesia and die within a year. Desperate, Ferraro orders that Dan be injected, but Dan struggles and prevents the needle from pricking his skin. Ferraro and his men are finally routed, and later, while the Shakespeare-quoting Mark is hailed as a real hero by the press, Lenore, who has confessed her impersonation, gives up her gold-digging ways and pledges herself to Dan. +

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

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