Man in the Saddle (1951)

87-88 mins | Western | December 1951

Director:

Andre DeToth

Writer:

Kenneth Gamet

Producer:

Harry Joe Brown

Cinematographer:

Charles "Bud" Lawton

Editor:

Charles Nelson

Production Designer:

George Brooks

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

In the preface to director Andre De Toth's autobiography, French director Bertrand Tavernier mentions a controversial ending to Man in the Saddle , in which the character played by Randolph Scott, "Owen Merritt," repeatedly shoots Alexander Knox's character, "Will Isham." Tavernier stated that Scott was reluctant to do the scene. However, there is no indication in the film's production file, or the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, that a second ending was filmed. It is likely that Tavernier confused the ending with the scene in which "Isham" kills "Hugh Clagg." The film marked the debut of singer "Tennessee" Ernie Ford, who makes a brief appearance singing the title song around a camp fire. ... More Less

In the preface to director Andre De Toth's autobiography, French director Bertrand Tavernier mentions a controversial ending to Man in the Saddle , in which the character played by Randolph Scott, "Owen Merritt," repeatedly shoots Alexander Knox's character, "Will Isham." Tavernier stated that Scott was reluctant to do the scene. However, there is no indication in the film's production file, or the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, that a second ending was filmed. It is likely that Tavernier confused the ending with the scene in which "Isham" kills "Hugh Clagg." The film marked the debut of singer "Tennessee" Ernie Ford, who makes a brief appearance singing the title song around a camp fire. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
8 Dec 1951.
---
Daily Variety
18 Nov 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
14 Nov 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Mar 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Apr 1951
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
16 May 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 1951.
---
Los Angeles Examiner
19 Jan 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Nov 51
p. 1109.
Variety
14 Nov 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Scott-Brown Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
SOUND
Sd eng
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to prod
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Man in the Saddle by Ernest Haycox (Boston, 1938).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Man in the Saddle," music by Harold Lewis, lyrics by Ralph Murphy, sung by Tennessee Ernie.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
December 1951
Production Date:
17 April--15 May 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Producers Actors Corp.
Copyright Date:
7 December 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1400
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
87-88
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15298
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At Skull Ranch, wealthy cattleman Will Isham prepares for his wedding to ambitious Laure Bidwell. In the town saloon, Isham's new foreman, Fay Dutcher, offers to treat everyone, but many of the local men, including Laure's former beau, rancher Owen Merritt, refuse because of their resentment of Isham's ruthless domination of the territory. Owen leaves to find Laure and when he asks if she is sure about her decision to marry Isham, she assures him she is, having grown tired of waiting for Owen. Meanwhile, Dutcher hires Hugh Clagg as a side gun, to help protect Isham. At the wedding party that evening, Clagg forces his attentions on schoolteacher Nan Melotte, who reluctantly agrees to accompany him to a dance that weekend. Meanwhile, Isham meets privately with Pay Lankershim and forces him to sell his ranch, which separates Skull Ranch from Owen's Christmas Creek Ranch. The next day, Nan brings her small herd of cattle to Owen's ranch to join his drive to market and warns him that Lankershim's sell-out may prove dangerous. That night, Dutcher and his men purposely stampede Owen's cattle and although Owen and his men manage to halt the steers, ranch hand Juke Virk is found trampled to death. Upon examination, however, it is discovered Juke was shot. Outraged over his brother's death, George Virk rides into town, and finding Dutcher at the saloon, accuses him of murder. In the ensuing shootout, Skull hand Ned Bale is killed. Later that day, Laure rides out to warn Owen not to oppose Isham and tells him to leave the country. Owen refuses, until Laure offers to go with him. That evening ... +


At Skull Ranch, wealthy cattleman Will Isham prepares for his wedding to ambitious Laure Bidwell. In the town saloon, Isham's new foreman, Fay Dutcher, offers to treat everyone, but many of the local men, including Laure's former beau, rancher Owen Merritt, refuse because of their resentment of Isham's ruthless domination of the territory. Owen leaves to find Laure and when he asks if she is sure about her decision to marry Isham, she assures him she is, having grown tired of waiting for Owen. Meanwhile, Dutcher hires Hugh Clagg as a side gun, to help protect Isham. At the wedding party that evening, Clagg forces his attentions on schoolteacher Nan Melotte, who reluctantly agrees to accompany him to a dance that weekend. Meanwhile, Isham meets privately with Pay Lankershim and forces him to sell his ranch, which separates Skull Ranch from Owen's Christmas Creek Ranch. The next day, Nan brings her small herd of cattle to Owen's ranch to join his drive to market and warns him that Lankershim's sell-out may prove dangerous. That night, Dutcher and his men purposely stampede Owen's cattle and although Owen and his men manage to halt the steers, ranch hand Juke Virk is found trampled to death. Upon examination, however, it is discovered Juke was shot. Outraged over his brother's death, George Virk rides into town, and finding Dutcher at the saloon, accuses him of murder. In the ensuing shootout, Skull hand Ned Bale is killed. Later that day, Laure rides out to warn Owen not to oppose Isham and tells him to leave the country. Owen refuses, until Laure offers to go with him. That evening Owen's ranch is abruptly attacked and George is found dying on the porch. Owen retaliates with an assault on the Skull bunkhouse, but is forced to retreat with Dutcher's arrival. The next night Owen sneaks back onto Skull, but is discovered by Dutcher and Clagg, who wound him. Hearing the shooting from her small ranch nearby, Nan goes to help and brings Owen to her home. The next day, Clagg arrives at Nan's to escort her to the dance and becomes incensed to discover she has helped Owen. Knowing Clagg will bring Dutcher and his men, Nan takes Owen to an abandoned family cabin high in the mountains. At Skull, Laure becomes disturbed by Isham's use of violence and when the men depart, she disobeys her husband and sneaks off the ranch in search of Owen. Meanwhile, Clagg tracks Nan's buckboard trail into the mountains and discovers the hideout, where he jealously accuses Nan of carrying on romantically with Owen. The men engage in a brutal fistfight, and before Clagg finally flees when Nan shoots at him. He returns to Skull Ranch, where Isham stews over Laure's absence. When Isham overhears Clagg telling Dutcher that Owen is in the mountains with a woman, he believes her to be Laure. In a rage, he shoots Clagg repeatedly, even as the dying man insists the woman is not Laure. Owen, meanwhile, has returned to Christmas Creek, where Bourke has captured Skull hand Lee Repp, who confesses that Isham hired Dutcher to kill Owen and ordered the murder of the Virks. He also details Clagg's slaying. In town, Nan runs into Laure, who anxiously inquires about Owen, then seeks out Isham. As a wind storm begins, Owen brings Repp to the sheriff to sign a statement regarding Isham. Owen learns Isham and Laure are at the hotel and goes to tell them that if they give up Skull and leave the country they might survive. Realizing she has lost Owen, Laure vows to remain faithfully with Isham and he agrees to Owen's proposal. As Isham, Owen and Laure descend to the lobby, Dutcher bursts in and despite Isham's order to halt, shoots at Owen. Isham intercedes and is shot. As he dies and Owen and Dutcher shoot it out, Isham tells Laure never to sell Skull. Hearing the shots, Nan rushes into the hotel and Dutcher briefly uses her as a shield to escape. Owen chases him into the windy street and shoots and kills him. Nan then rushes out to Owen and they embrace. +

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

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