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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Katie Called Katje . A written statement on the opening onscreen credits reads, “African sequences photographed at Zululand by courtesy of The Natal Parks Board.” Voice-over narration by Susan Hayward, as her character “Katie O’Neill Kildare,” is heard intermittently throughout the picture. According to studio publicity, South African Helga Moray loosely based her best-selling novel on the life of one of her female ancestors. (Contemporary sources are divided as to whether the story was based on Moray’s grandmother or great-grandmother.) Moray originally wrote an outline of the story, sold its screen rights to producer William A. Bacher, then expanded the story into a full-length novel. The film is set before the actual Boer War (1899--1902), during which the Afrikaners, as the descendents of the Dutch settlers in South Africa were known, rebelled against Great Britain, the colonial government of the country at the time.
       In Apr 1953, according to LAT , Bacher sold the rights to Bert E. Friedlob, who intended to produce the film independently and release it through Twentieth Century-Fox. In Sep 1953, Friedlob and Bacher, who had decided to produce the film together, sold the property to Fox and agreed to produce it directly for the studio, according to HR news items. In Dec 1953, NYT reported that Bacher had tried to interest Fox production chief Darryl F. Zanuck in Moray’s work when it was first published, but Zanuck rejected it as too expensive to film. Bacher then attempted to sell the rights to M-G-M and Paramount, which also rejected the project for similar reasons. M-G-M did briefly consider the project and submitted ... More Less

The working title of this film was Katie Called Katje . A written statement on the opening onscreen credits reads, “African sequences photographed at Zululand by courtesy of The Natal Parks Board.” Voice-over narration by Susan Hayward, as her character “Katie O’Neill Kildare,” is heard intermittently throughout the picture. According to studio publicity, South African Helga Moray loosely based her best-selling novel on the life of one of her female ancestors. (Contemporary sources are divided as to whether the story was based on Moray’s grandmother or great-grandmother.) Moray originally wrote an outline of the story, sold its screen rights to producer William A. Bacher, then expanded the story into a full-length novel. The film is set before the actual Boer War (1899--1902), during which the Afrikaners, as the descendents of the Dutch settlers in South Africa were known, rebelled against Great Britain, the colonial government of the country at the time.
       In Apr 1953, according to LAT , Bacher sold the rights to Bert E. Friedlob, who intended to produce the film independently and release it through Twentieth Century-Fox. In Sep 1953, Friedlob and Bacher, who had decided to produce the film together, sold the property to Fox and agreed to produce it directly for the studio, according to HR news items. In Dec 1953, NYT reported that Bacher had tried to interest Fox production chief Darryl F. Zanuck in Moray’s work when it was first published, but Zanuck rejected it as too expensive to film. Bacher then attempted to sell the rights to M-G-M and Paramount, which also rejected the project for similar reasons. M-G-M did briefly consider the project and submitted the novel for approval to the PCA, but it was rejected, as noted below.
       A 15 Apr 1954 item in HR ’s “Rambling Reporter” column speculated that Robert Mitchum would be cast opposite Susan Hayward in the picture. As noted in a Jun 1954 HR news item, Tyrone Power’s casting in Untamed marked his final film under contract to the studio, for which he had worked for eighteen years. A 4 Aug 1954 HR news item announced that Victor Mature had originally been cast as “Kurt Hout” but was put on suspension for refusing the part and was replaced by Richard Egan. Clay Randolph tested for a part, according to HR , but his appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. Although Aug and Sep 1954 HR news items include the following actors in the cast: Art LaForest, Don Blackman, Peggy Brooks, Robert Koppany, William Koppany and Elizabeth Audrey, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Untamed marked the screen debut of Brian Corcoran and popular child actor Kevin Corcoran, a cast member of The Mickey Mouse Club television program.
       HR also reported that extensive background sequences were filmed on location in Ireland and various sites in South Africa, including Cape Town, Durban and the Valley of the Thousand Hills section of Natal province, which at the time was a “Zulu preserve,” according to studio publicity. Contemporary sources indicate that director Henry King had hoped to shoot the entire picture on location, but according to modern sources, Hayward, who had recently undergone a contentious divorce from husband Jess Barker, would be unable to retain custody of the couple’s twin sons if she left the country. As noted in a 26 May 1954 DV article, “about 2,500 Zulus” were used as extras, although “none of the pic’s regular players made the trip.” According to Sep HR news items, additional exteriors were shot on location at Fox's Century Ranch in Southern California’s Santa Monica Mountains.
       Information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals that the first studio to submit a synopsis of Moray’s novel to the PCA for approval was M-G-M, on 6 Feb 1950. In response, the PCA pronounced the story unacceptable and called it a “glorification of illicit love.” On 17 Feb 1953, Fox submitted a first draft of its Untamed screenplay and was also informed that the script could not be approved because it was “a story of illicit sex and bastardy, told without the compensating moral values required by the Production Code.” After numerous meetings between Fox and the Breen office, the PCA decided that if the film had “an element of tragedy in the ending,” such as the death or near-death of “young Paul,” as well as a definite “self-marriage” between “Paul” and “Katie,” the story could be approved.
       The studio and Breen office continued to have conflicts over the story, until finally, on 23 Nov 1954, a code seal was issued to Fox “on the understanding that the pic released will be as re-reviewed and approved by us on 2 Nov 1954.” On 24 Nov 1954, however, Fox sent the PCA a letter stating that “in an effort to strengthen the ending of Untamed , we have re-shot the last two scenes.” Although the studio stated that the “meaning is the same in both cases and the dialogue is similar,” it has not been determined what the exact differences were, or which ending was used in the finished film. The viewed print contained no indication of a "self-marriage" between Paul and Katie. On 20 May 1956, a NYT article announced that Untamed had been banned in India for “presenting ‘disparaging’ impressions of life in Africa.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
12 Mar 1955.
---
Daily Variety
26 May 1954.
---
Daily Variety
2 Mar 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Mar 55
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Apr 1953
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 1953.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 1953
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 1954
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 1954
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 1954
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Mar 1954
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 1954
pp. 2-3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Apr 1954
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 1954
p. 3, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 1954
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 1954
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 1954
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Aug 1954
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 1954
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 1954
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 1954
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Sep 1954
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 1954
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Sep 1954
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Sep 1954
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 1954
p. 6, 12.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 1954
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Sep 1954
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 1954
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 1954
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 1954
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 1955
p. 2, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 55
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
11 Apr 1953.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Mar 1955.
---
Motion Picture Daily
2 Mar 1955.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 Mar 55
p. 345.
New York Times
20 Dec 1953.
---
New York Times
12 Mar 55
p. 11.
New York Times
20 May 1956.
---
Variety
2 Mar 55
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec eff
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hair styling
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
STAND INS
Stunt rider
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Untamed by Helga Moray (New York, 1950).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Katie Called Katje
Release Date:
March 1955
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Miami, FL: 1 March 1955
New York opening: 11 March 1955
Production Date:
9 August--1 October 1954
addl seq mid October--late October 1954 and mid November--late November 1954
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 March 1955
Copyright Number:
LP4784
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
111-112
Length(in feet):
9,959
Length(in reels):
14
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17228
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1847, South African Paul Van Riebeck travels to County Limerick, Ireland to buy horses from Squire O’Neill for his commando group that is fighting to establish a Dutch Free State in land controlled by the fierce Zulus. Paul is immediately attracted to O’Neill’s fiery daughter Katie, who returns his affections, despite the fact that both are stubborn and proud. Katie is annoyed, however, that Paul, who calls her by the South African diminutive Katje, talks only about his duties toward his country. After a ball hosted by the O’Neills, Paul embraces Katie, and his passionate kisses make her believe that he will stay. The next day, Paul announces his intention to return to South Africa alone, and although Katie pleads with him to take her along, Paul maintains that she is too refined to survive the rough life he endures in the untamed environment of South Africa. After Paul departs, O’Neill dies and the potato blight sweeps through the country, impoverishing everyone. Katie marries her good-hearted neighbor, Shawn Kildare, and, remembering Paul’s advice to find “a more merciful land,” convinces Shawn to start a new life in South Africa. Their son Terrance is born during the long sea voyage to Cape Town, and upon their arrival, they learn that the other settlers are making an 800-mile trek to the Hoffen Valley, a burgeoning farming community. Katie is especially pleased to hear that Paul’s commandos are to escort the travelers through the dangerous Zulu country, and persuades Shawn to join the trek. The leaders of the group, Oom Simon Hout and his son Kurt, are wary of Shawn’s inexperience, but Kurt, who desires Katie, helps them. Upon arriving ... +


In 1847, South African Paul Van Riebeck travels to County Limerick, Ireland to buy horses from Squire O’Neill for his commando group that is fighting to establish a Dutch Free State in land controlled by the fierce Zulus. Paul is immediately attracted to O’Neill’s fiery daughter Katie, who returns his affections, despite the fact that both are stubborn and proud. Katie is annoyed, however, that Paul, who calls her by the South African diminutive Katje, talks only about his duties toward his country. After a ball hosted by the O’Neills, Paul embraces Katie, and his passionate kisses make her believe that he will stay. The next day, Paul announces his intention to return to South Africa alone, and although Katie pleads with him to take her along, Paul maintains that she is too refined to survive the rough life he endures in the untamed environment of South Africa. After Paul departs, O’Neill dies and the potato blight sweeps through the country, impoverishing everyone. Katie marries her good-hearted neighbor, Shawn Kildare, and, remembering Paul’s advice to find “a more merciful land,” convinces Shawn to start a new life in South Africa. Their son Terrance is born during the long sea voyage to Cape Town, and upon their arrival, they learn that the other settlers are making an 800-mile trek to the Hoffen Valley, a burgeoning farming community. Katie is especially pleased to hear that Paul’s commandos are to escort the travelers through the dangerous Zulu country, and persuades Shawn to join the trek. The leaders of the group, Oom Simon Hout and his son Kurt, are wary of Shawn’s inexperience, but Kurt, who desires Katie, helps them. Upon arriving at the river where they are to meet Paul, Kurt is puzzled by Paul’s absence, and grows concerned when every Zulu village they pass is inhabited only by women and children. Soon after, one of the scouts reports the nearby presence of a massive Zulu war party, and the settlers prepare for battle. Although they are equipped only with spears, the warriors greatly outnumber the settlers and claim many lives, including Shawn. Just when it appears that they are doomed, the group is rescued by the arrival of Paul and his commandos, whose ferocious fighting overwhelms the Zulus. Paul is surprised to see Katie, but over the next few weeks, as the wagon train continues its journey, keeps his distance because he believes that Kurt is courting her. Katie ignores Kurt’s overtures, however, and one evening, plainly tells Paul that she has always loved him. Kurt grimly keeps watch, waiting for the couple to emerge from the forest, and the next morning, accuses them both of lying to him. Paul tries to reason with his friend but is forced to fight him in a duel with bullwhips. Paul wins and soon settles with Katie in the Hoffen Valley, where they blissfully build a house and begin farming. After three months, however, Christian, Paul’s lieutenant, tells him that his men need him, and Paul leaves, infuriating and wounding Katie. Knowing that she cannot manage alone, Katie flirts with Kurt, inducing him to help her work the farm with promises that someday they will be together. Kurt labors diligently, although he knows that Katie still loves Paul, and one stormy evening, attempts to rape her when she refuses to allow him to cut down a tree that symbolizes her union with Paul. Lightning splits the tree in two, pinning Kurt to the ground and crushing his leg, which then must be amputated. Despite the destruction of her farm, Katie continues and soon bears Paul’s child, a son she names Paul. Katie begins selling her furnishings to local natives in exchange for gold nuggets, and strikes it rich when one brings her a fist-sized diamond. Moving to Cape Town, Katie and her sons buy Abend Bloem, Paul’s grand, ancestral home, although her wealth does not prevent Katie from being lonely. It does buy her influence, however, and two years later, when the Dutch are finally granted their free state by the British government, Paul comes to Cape Town to petition the governor to allow them representation on the national assembly. The governor refuses to see Paul until they “accidentally” meet at a ball hosted by Katie, and the cunning Irishwoman persuades the governor to agree to meet with Paul the next day. Following the meeting, Paul visits Katie at Abend Bloem, and after spending an idyllic day with her, learns that young Paul is his son. Upset that Katie did not tell him sooner, Paul lashes out at her and, after the couple quarrel, storms away. Katie gradually loses her fortune and is forced to pack up her sons and join the search for gold in the rough towns of the frontier. She heads for Kolesburg, despite warnings that it has been taken over by outlaws, and is distraught to find that Kurt has become the outlaws’ leader and is ruthlessly destroying town after town. Kurt taunts Katie, telling her that he at least would have married her and kept her “decent” if she had been truthful with him, then locks her and the children in a house while he awaits the arrival of soldiers coming to avenge the mayor’s death. The men are led by Paul, and Kurt looks forward to killing his rival. Paul’s commandos outwit and outfight the outlaws, however, and soon Kurt is reduced to taking young Paul hostage. Unable to harm Katie’s child, Kurt returns the boy to her, and is about to shoot the now-unarmed Paul when Paul’s faithful servant, Tschaka, kills him with a spear. Paul then tells Katie that he had come to Cape Town not only to see the governor but to marry her, and after he slips a wedding band on her finger, the couple vows to start a new life in the Hoffen Valley. +

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.