War Paint (1953)

84-86 or 89 mins | Western | 28 August 1953

Director:

Lesley Selander

Producer:

Howard W. Koch

Cinematographer:

Gordon Avil

Production Designer:

Wiard B. Ihnen

Production Company:

K-B Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The closing credits include the following written acknowledgment: " War Paint was photographed in its entirety in beautiful Death Valley National Monument, California, with the cooperation of the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. Without their help, this picture would not have been possible." HR production charts include Neville Brand in the cast, but he did not appear in the released film.
       The pressbook for the film erroneously boasts that it was the first feature-length picture ever to be filmed in Death Valley, CA. According to news items, War Paint was the first production of Howard Koch's company, K-B Productions, Inc. According to correspondence in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, an early draft of the screenplay contained a mercy killing scene to which PCA Director Joseph I. Breen ... More Less

The closing credits include the following written acknowledgment: " War Paint was photographed in its entirety in beautiful Death Valley National Monument, California, with the cooperation of the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. Without their help, this picture would not have been possible." HR production charts include Neville Brand in the cast, but he did not appear in the released film.
       The pressbook for the film erroneously boasts that it was the first feature-length picture ever to be filmed in Death Valley, CA. According to news items, War Paint was the first production of Howard Koch's company, K-B Productions, Inc. According to correspondence in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, an early draft of the screenplay contained a mercy killing scene to which PCA Director Joseph I. Breen objected. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 Jul 1953.
---
Daily Variety
29 Jun 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
14 Jul 53
p. 6.
Harrison's Reports
4 Jul 53
p. 107.
Hollywood Citizen-News
26 Sep 1953.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 1953.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Feb 1953
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 53
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
25 May 1953.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 53
p. 3.
International Photographer
1 Jun 53
pp. 8-9.
Los Angeles Examiner
26 Sep 1953.
---
Los Angeles Times
26 Sep 1953.
---
Motion Picture Daily
7 Jul 1953.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Jul 53
p. 1903.
The Exhibitor
15 Jul 53
p. 3560.
Variety
8 Jul 53
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Based on a story by
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Lighting tech
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Photog eff
Photog eff
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
SOURCES
SONGS
"Elaine," words and music by Johnny Lehmann and Emil Newman.
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 August 1953
Production Date:
24 February--mid March 1953 at Motion Picture Center Studios
Copyright Claimant:
K-B Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 July 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2993
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Pathé Color
Duration(in mins):
84-86 or 89
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16482
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On their way back to Fort Kirk from patrol duty, Lt. Billings and Sgt. Clarke are informed that they must deliver a treaty to the nearby trading post, where it will be picked up by a waiting lieutenant named Kirby. The treaty, which contains terms of peace that are satisfactory to both the Indians and the U.S. government, must be delivered to Chief Gray Cloud within nine days, or there will be war. The men, particularly Trooper Perkins, whose wife has just had a baby, are unhappy, and when they reach the trading post, they are dismayed to learn that Kirby has not arrived. Unknown to Billings and his men, Kirby and his men have been killed by Gray Cloud's son Taslik, an embittered warrior who believes the treaty will further weaken his people. When Taslik arrives at the post, Billings asks him to guide the troop to Gray Cloud's village. That night, as the soldiers listen to Trooper Charnofsky's stories about life in Poland, Taslik applies war paint and glares at them. When one of the men suspiciously inquires about the war paint, Taslik asks, "Do you not wear war clothes?" After a day's ride through desert terrain, heavy boulders destroy all but one of the soldiers' water barrels, and the next day, Billings is horrified to learn that the remaining barrel has sprung a leak. Taslik leads them to a spring, but it is dry. While the men sleep, Taslik steals away and receives water from his sister Wanima, who has been secretly accompanying the party and helping her brother to sabotage the water supply. Several mishaps later, Billings begins to suspect Taslik, and ... +


On their way back to Fort Kirk from patrol duty, Lt. Billings and Sgt. Clarke are informed that they must deliver a treaty to the nearby trading post, where it will be picked up by a waiting lieutenant named Kirby. The treaty, which contains terms of peace that are satisfactory to both the Indians and the U.S. government, must be delivered to Chief Gray Cloud within nine days, or there will be war. The men, particularly Trooper Perkins, whose wife has just had a baby, are unhappy, and when they reach the trading post, they are dismayed to learn that Kirby has not arrived. Unknown to Billings and his men, Kirby and his men have been killed by Gray Cloud's son Taslik, an embittered warrior who believes the treaty will further weaken his people. When Taslik arrives at the post, Billings asks him to guide the troop to Gray Cloud's village. That night, as the soldiers listen to Trooper Charnofsky's stories about life in Poland, Taslik applies war paint and glares at them. When one of the men suspiciously inquires about the war paint, Taslik asks, "Do you not wear war clothes?" After a day's ride through desert terrain, heavy boulders destroy all but one of the soldiers' water barrels, and the next day, Billings is horrified to learn that the remaining barrel has sprung a leak. Taslik leads them to a spring, but it is dry. While the men sleep, Taslik steals away and receives water from his sister Wanima, who has been secretly accompanying the party and helping her brother to sabotage the water supply. Several mishaps later, Billings begins to suspect Taslik, and when all the horses are set loose, he finally confronts the brave. Taslik states that although his father considers white men honorable, he is certain the treaty will be broken. Determined to deliver the treaty, Billings order the men to continue, but it soon becomes apparent that Taslik has been leading them in circles. Exasperated and thirsty, a trooper named Tolson kills Taslik. Because the men are weak from thirst, Billings decides to send one man, Clancy, ahead to the village, but Wanima follows and shoots him. Before Clancy dies, he wounds her, however, and the detachment later stumbles onto the two fallen bodies. The soldiers want to kill Wanima, but Billings opts to take her along as proof that they want peace. Wanima leads the men not to water, but to a deserted gold mine. Grady, one of the soldiers, tries to kill Wanima, and when Billings defends her, Tolson shoots him in the arm. Realizing that Billings is sincere in his desire for peace, Wanima takes the party to a spring, thereby postponing a mutiny. That night, Tolson and two others decide to kill the loyal members of the troop so that they may plunder the gold mine. Clarke sends Billings and Wanima on to the village while he fends off the mutineers, but after the stabbing and shooting are over, only Tolson remains alive. As Billings and Wanima approach Gray Cloud's village, the soldier attacks them. A brutal fight ensues, but in the end, Billings stabs Tolson. Exhausted, Wanima and the lieutenant slowly enter the village together. +

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

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