The Proud and Profane (1956)

111 mins | Melodrama | August 1956

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were A Breed Apart , The Magnificent Bastards and The Magnificent Devils . The film was also reviewed under the title The Proud and the Profane . The film opens with the following written foreword: "1943: Noumea, on the Free French Island of New Caledonia, was the crossroads of the South Pacific. Eighty thousand men of the Army, Marines and Navy trained here and waited for the day to begin the long push northward. Eighty thousand men--and a handful of women." The onscreen credits note the association of technical advisors Margaret Hagan, Louise A. Wood and Mary Lousie Dowling of The American National Red Cross.
       According to the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the PCA expressed great concern over the sexual conduct between the film's lead characters, "Lee Ashley" and "Lt. Col. Colin Black." In an 11 Jul 1955 letter to the producers, the PCA called for a more "sufficient 'voice of morality' within the film," noting that it must be made clear that Lee becomes pregnant from an illicit affair, as it was not acceptable to have sex before marriage, even if she thought she was engaged.
       According to Hedda Hopper's column, published by LAT on 13 Apr 1954, Paramount was trying to persuade Clark Gable to appear as "Black" in The Proud and Profane. Lucy Herndon Crockett, whose novel Magnificent Bastards was the basis of the film, informed Hopper that she had suggested Burt Lancaster for the same role. That same month, HR reported that writer Edmund ... More Less

The working titles of this film were A Breed Apart , The Magnificent Bastards and The Magnificent Devils . The film was also reviewed under the title The Proud and the Profane . The film opens with the following written foreword: "1943: Noumea, on the Free French Island of New Caledonia, was the crossroads of the South Pacific. Eighty thousand men of the Army, Marines and Navy trained here and waited for the day to begin the long push northward. Eighty thousand men--and a handful of women." The onscreen credits note the association of technical advisors Margaret Hagan, Louise A. Wood and Mary Lousie Dowling of The American National Red Cross.
       According to the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the PCA expressed great concern over the sexual conduct between the film's lead characters, "Lee Ashley" and "Lt. Col. Colin Black." In an 11 Jul 1955 letter to the producers, the PCA called for a more "sufficient 'voice of morality' within the film," noting that it must be made clear that Lee becomes pregnant from an illicit affair, as it was not acceptable to have sex before marriage, even if she thought she was engaged.
       According to Hedda Hopper's column, published by LAT on 13 Apr 1954, Paramount was trying to persuade Clark Gable to appear as "Black" in The Proud and Profane. Lucy Herndon Crockett, whose novel Magnificent Bastards was the basis of the film, informed Hopper that she had suggested Burt Lancaster for the same role. That same month, HR reported that writer Edmund Hartmann had begun working on script to The Magnificent Bastards , though no producer had been assigned to the project, nor was there a start date. It has not been determined what, if any, of Hartmann's work was used in the final script.
       According to HR , portions of the film were shot on location in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico. BHC reported that location filming in the Virgin Islands was initially delayed, as the film crew arrived in St. Thomas at same time as hurricanes "Connie" and "Diane." Due to the emergency, the production agreed to temporarily turn over its equipment trucks to the local authorities in order to help with the evacuation of the island's remote population.
       HR news items include Keith Stafford in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. HR production charts also include Nancy Sinatra in the cast, but her appearance in the film is highly doubtful; it is more likely that her name was confused with that of actress Nancy Stevens, who appeared in the film as Red Cross worker "Evvie." The picture marked the feature film debut of Broadway actor Robert Morse. The Proud and Profane received two Academy Award nominations: Edith Head was nominated for her costume design and Hal Pereira, Earl Hedrick, Sam Comer and Frank McKelvy were nominated in the category of art direction/set decoration (black and white). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
BHC
5 Oct 1955.
---
Box Office
9 Jun 1956.
---
Daily Variety
28 Apr 1954.
---
Daily Variety
19 May 1955.
---
Daily Variety
1 Jun 1955.
---
Daily Variety
31 May 56
p. 3.
Film Daily
31 May 56
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 1955.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 55
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 55
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 55
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
31 May 56
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 56
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
13 Apr 1954.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
2 Jun 56
p. 921.
New York Times
14 Jun 56
p. 41.
Variety
30 May 56
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCER
WRITER
Wrt for the screen by, Wrt for the scr by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus score
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Tech adv
Asst to the prod
Unit mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Magnificent Bastards by Lucy Herndon Crockett (New York, 1953).
SONGS
"The First Noel," traditional.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
A Breed Apart
The Magnificent Bastards
The Magnificent Devils
Release Date:
August 1956
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 13 June 1956
Production Date:
16 July--late September 1955
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
13 June 1956
Copyright Number:
LP6809
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
VistaVision Motion Picture High-Fidelity
Duration(in mins):
111
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17839
SYNOPSIS

In 1943, Lee Ashley arrives in Noumea, on the island of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, where she has come to work as a Red Cross volunteer. As the island is home to an Allied military base, the attractive Lee quickly draws the attention of the love-starved soldiers, sailors and Marines stationed there, but she is only interested in finding out the plight of her late husband Howard, a victim of the Battle of Guadalcanal. When the latest group of casualties arrive in Noumea, Lee is hesitant to help with the injured soldiers until Kate Connors, the head of the local Red Cross club, reminds her that it is her duty. Later, Eddie Wodcik, an old friend of Kate, arrives at the military base and quickly falls in love with Lee, as she reminds him of his deceased sister, who died tragically in a tenement house fire. Lee, however, falls prey to the roguish Lt. Col. Colin Black, a battalion leader who pretends to have been a friend of her late husband in hopes of seducing her. Though Lee tells him that she has come to New Caledonia to discover if Howard's death was quick and peaceful, Colin declares that what she really wants to know is whether her husband died a soldier's or coward's death. Though seemingly repulsed by the gruff and domineering Marine, Lee admits to Kate that she has fallen in love with Colin, though he is the polar opposite of her late husband. In turn, Colin confesses to the cultured Kate that he joined the Marines to escape his life as a poverty-stricken half-breed. With Colin's unit about ... +


In 1943, Lee Ashley arrives in Noumea, on the island of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, where she has come to work as a Red Cross volunteer. As the island is home to an Allied military base, the attractive Lee quickly draws the attention of the love-starved soldiers, sailors and Marines stationed there, but she is only interested in finding out the plight of her late husband Howard, a victim of the Battle of Guadalcanal. When the latest group of casualties arrive in Noumea, Lee is hesitant to help with the injured soldiers until Kate Connors, the head of the local Red Cross club, reminds her that it is her duty. Later, Eddie Wodcik, an old friend of Kate, arrives at the military base and quickly falls in love with Lee, as she reminds him of his deceased sister, who died tragically in a tenement house fire. Lee, however, falls prey to the roguish Lt. Col. Colin Black, a battalion leader who pretends to have been a friend of her late husband in hopes of seducing her. Though Lee tells him that she has come to New Caledonia to discover if Howard's death was quick and peaceful, Colin declares that what she really wants to know is whether her husband died a soldier's or coward's death. Though seemingly repulsed by the gruff and domineering Marine, Lee admits to Kate that she has fallen in love with Colin, though he is the polar opposite of her late husband. In turn, Colin confesses to the cultured Kate that he joined the Marines to escape his life as a poverty-stricken half-breed. With Colin's unit about to leave Noumea on military maneuvers, the two lovers finally consummate their relationship after seeking shelter from a rainstorm in a French inn. Months later, Lee is offered her long-awaited transfer to Guadalcanal, but she declines, telling Kate that she wishes to stay in Noumea and wait for Colin, to whom she is secretly engaged and by whom she is now pregnant. Lee soon learns from a wounded Marine, however, that Colin is already married. Confronted with the truth, Colin tells Lee that he cannot get a divorce, as his wife is an institutionalized alcoholic, driven to the bottle by his dedication to the Marines. Angered and humiliated, Lee attempts to hurl herself off a cliff, only to be stopped by Colin. In the ensuing struggle, Lee is knocked to the ground and suffers a miscarriage. Learning of Lee's plight, Eddie tries to murder Colin, but is quickly subdued by the colonel. Realizing his culpability, Colin refuses to press charges against his love-sick subordinate. Soon after, Lee is transferred with Kate to Guadalcanal, where she is finally forced to confront the grave of her husband. At the cemetery, she meets Eustace Press, a battle fatigue patient who served with Howard. Unaware of Lee's identity, Eustace tells her that while Howard had nothing but kind words for his wife, he recognized her as the "blood-sucker type" who dominated her husband completely. Acknowledging her own selfishness in the soldier's words, Lee then dedicates herself to her work. Soon thereafter, Colin arrives at the Red Cross station, the victim of a mortar attack. Lt. J. G. Holmes, the chaplain of his unit, tells Lee that Colin has thought of little more than her the last two months, which is why the shell-shocked Marine can has said nothing but the words "forgive me" since his injury. In the end, she does. +

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

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