The Wind and the Lion (1975)

PG | 119 mins | Drama | 22 May 1975

Director:

John Milius

Writer:

John Milius

Producer:

Herb Jaffe

Cinematographer:

Billy Williams

Editor:

Robert L. Wolfe

Production Designer:

Gil Parrando

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
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HISTORY

According to a 7 Jun 1974 HR news item, actress Faye Dunaway was scheduled to play the role of “Eden Perdicaris.” However, as reported in a 2 Aug 1974 LAT news brief, Dunaway was ordered by her doctor to rest after filming The Three Musketeers (1974, see entry), Chinatown (1974, see entry) and The Towering Inferno (1974, see entry).
       The film is very loosely based on a real incident. On 18 May 1904, not in Oct as the film states, Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli, a Berber brigand, kidnapped Ion Hanford Perdicaris and his stepson, Cromwell Varley. In the film, Raisuli kidnaps an American widower, "Eden Pedecaris," and her two children. However, in real life Mrs. Perdicaris, a British citizen whose real name was Ellen, was left behind as her son and husband were taken captive. Upon hearing of the affront, President Theodore Roosevelt ordered four warships that were touring the Mediterranean Sea to reroute to Tangier, Morocco, and put pressure on Sultan Abdelaziz to negotiate the release of Perdicaris and Varley. Unlike the movie, only four Marines went ashore. There was no attack on the Bashaw’s palace, or a battle with German soldiers who had captured Raisuli. In fact, the Sultan paid Raisuli the ransom and both men were returned to Tangiers unharmed. Raisuli became the Pasha of Tangier and Governor of Jibala province. He died after being taken prisoner during a revolt against colonial powers in 1925. Also, Ion Pedecaris was no longer an American citizen. Pedecaris’s father, Gregory Pedecaris, had emigrated from Athens, Greece, in ... More Less

According to a 7 Jun 1974 HR news item, actress Faye Dunaway was scheduled to play the role of “Eden Perdicaris.” However, as reported in a 2 Aug 1974 LAT news brief, Dunaway was ordered by her doctor to rest after filming The Three Musketeers (1974, see entry), Chinatown (1974, see entry) and The Towering Inferno (1974, see entry).
       The film is very loosely based on a real incident. On 18 May 1904, not in Oct as the film states, Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli, a Berber brigand, kidnapped Ion Hanford Perdicaris and his stepson, Cromwell Varley. In the film, Raisuli kidnaps an American widower, "Eden Pedecaris," and her two children. However, in real life Mrs. Perdicaris, a British citizen whose real name was Ellen, was left behind as her son and husband were taken captive. Upon hearing of the affront, President Theodore Roosevelt ordered four warships that were touring the Mediterranean Sea to reroute to Tangier, Morocco, and put pressure on Sultan Abdelaziz to negotiate the release of Perdicaris and Varley. Unlike the movie, only four Marines went ashore. There was no attack on the Bashaw’s palace, or a battle with German soldiers who had captured Raisuli. In fact, the Sultan paid Raisuli the ransom and both men were returned to Tangiers unharmed. Raisuli became the Pasha of Tangier and Governor of Jibala province. He died after being taken prisoner during a revolt against colonial powers in 1925. Also, Ion Pedecaris was no longer an American citizen. Pedecaris’s father, Gregory Pedecaris, had emigrated from Athens, Greece, in 1846 and married into a wealth South Carolina family before moving to New Jersey. In 1862, he feared the family’s lands in South Carolina were about to be confiscated by the Confederate States of America and sent his son, Ion, to Greece to renounce his American citizenship, thus protecting the family’s wealth. Neither President Roosevelt, nor Secretary of State John Hays, were aware of Pedecaris’s legal status, before declaring that America wanted “Pedecaris alive or Raisuli Dead!” By the time the truth was known, Roosevelt’s handling of the “Pedecaris Crisis” had earned him 994 delegate votes in his bid for election as the Republican candidate for the president. It was not until 1933 that Pedecaris’ citizenship was publicly revealed.
       According to production notes found in AMPAS library files, writer John Milius first read about the Pedecaris incident in American Heritage magazine. He then read Rosita Forbes 1924 non-fiction book, “El Raisuni : the Sultan of the Mountains,” which convinced him to write a movie showing the relationship between President Theodore Roosevelt and Sharif Raisuni. For seven years, Milius could not interest anyone in his idea until he was pitching another story to producer Herb Jaffe and quoted a line from Forbes’ book.
       As reported in a 19 Jun 1975 DV article, Jaffe, who was then vice-president in charge of worldwide production for United Artists (UA), advanced seed money for Milius to finish the script. At that time UA agreed to finance the movie if it would star actor Sean Connery and be made for $2 million. Jaffee left his job at UA and shopped the film to Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, 20th Century-Fox, and Paramont Pictures, but was turned down by all of them. Finally, an agreement was reached between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Columbia Pictures to split the budget and distribution rights. MGM received North American rights while Columbia took international distribution rights.
       Various contemporary sources put the budget between $4 and $5 million.
       A 5 Aug 1974 Box news item reported principal photography was scheduled to begin 19 Aug 1974 in Spain.
^Production notes in AMPAS Library files state that Almeria, Spain, was used for the bulk of the location shooting due to its classical Moorish architecture. Seville, Spain was also employed as a backdrop for the Sultan’s palace and a hall, card room and salon in the Madrid, Spain, Palace Hotel were transformed into Theodore Roosevelt’s White House of 1904. For the desert locations, a twenty-five mile stretch of beach in Matalascanas, Portugal was used.
       The U.S. Marines were portrayed by real U.S. marines stationed in Rota, Spain and by members of the Spanish army. One difficulty that arose from mixing the two forces was that the U.S. forces always start marching on their left foot while the Spaniards start on their right.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Aug 1974.
---
Daily Variety
15 Nov 1974.
---
Daily Variety
19 Jun 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 May 1975.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 Aug 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
22 May 1975
Section IV, p. 1.
New York Times
23 May 1975
p. 22.
New York Times
15 Jun 1975
p. 15.
Variety
21 May 1975
p. 19.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Herb Jaffe Production of John Milius'
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Assoc film ed
SET DECORATOR
Prop master
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Ward supv
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd eff supv
Sd eff supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Spanish prod mgr
Spanish unit prod mgr
Asst to the prod
Prod coord
Spanish action scene coord
Spanish action scene coord
Scr supv
STAND INS
Stunt seq supv by
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 May 1975
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 22 May 1975
Los Angeles opening: 23 May 1975
Production Date:
began 19 August 1974 in Spain
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldyn-Mayer, Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 May 1975
Copyright Number:
LP44410
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Metrocolor
Widescreen/ratio
Filmed in Panavision
Duration(in mins):
119
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
Spain, United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

On 15 October 1904 in Tangiers, Morocco, a horde of Berber tribesmen led by Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli, attacks a mansion, kills the staff and kidnaps Eden Pedecaris, a widow, and her two children, William and Jennifer. After the men sack the house, Raisuli attempts to ride a stolen horse, but is thrown off. Eden laughs, causing Raisuli to strike her and warn that she is never to laugh at him again. In the United States, President Theodore Roosevelt is informed of the kidnapping and realizes this is an issue that could help him win the upcoming Republican nomination. He orders the Atlantic fleet to sail to Morocco with the words, “Either Pedecaris alive or Raisuli dead.” Back in Morocco, Eden warns Raisuli that if he or any of his men attempt to touch her, she will try her best to kill them. Raisuli responds by asking her to play chess. Meanwhile, Ambassador Samuel Gummere begs the Bashaw to send troops to rescue Pedecaris, but is told only the Sultan can approve military action and advises Gummere to give the Sultan a pair of lions to attain his co-operation. Gummere orders his assistant, Vice Council Richard Dreighton to capture two lions and bring them to the Sultan’s palace. Days later, Raisuli leads his band into his desert lands that border the Mediterranean Sea. Finding four fishermen drinking from his well without permission, he orders two of their heads cut off. Raisuli explains to Eden that he is not a barbarian, as a barbarian would have killed all four men. While his men burn the fishing boats and ... +


On 15 October 1904 in Tangiers, Morocco, a horde of Berber tribesmen led by Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli, attacks a mansion, kills the staff and kidnaps Eden Pedecaris, a widow, and her two children, William and Jennifer. After the men sack the house, Raisuli attempts to ride a stolen horse, but is thrown off. Eden laughs, causing Raisuli to strike her and warn that she is never to laugh at him again. In the United States, President Theodore Roosevelt is informed of the kidnapping and realizes this is an issue that could help him win the upcoming Republican nomination. He orders the Atlantic fleet to sail to Morocco with the words, “Either Pedecaris alive or Raisuli dead.” Back in Morocco, Eden warns Raisuli that if he or any of his men attempt to touch her, she will try her best to kill them. Raisuli responds by asking her to play chess. Meanwhile, Ambassador Samuel Gummere begs the Bashaw to send troops to rescue Pedecaris, but is told only the Sultan can approve military action and advises Gummere to give the Sultan a pair of lions to attain his co-operation. Gummere orders his assistant, Vice Council Richard Dreighton to capture two lions and bring them to the Sultan’s palace. Days later, Raisuli leads his band into his desert lands that border the Mediterranean Sea. Finding four fishermen drinking from his well without permission, he orders two of their heads cut off. Raisuli explains to Eden that he is not a barbarian, as a barbarian would have killed all four men. While his men burn the fishing boats and force the two living fishermen into service, Raisuli claims he is being unjustly treated by the Sultan for making war on Europeans who are robbing his country of its wealth and dignity. That night, Raisuli orders Eden to sleep in his palatial tent, but places his sword between them to assure her there will be no sexual advances. Meanwhile, Roosevelt traverses the United States bragging that he will have Raisuli’s head. The next day, Raisuli informs Eden he has sent his ransom demands, gold, rifles and the Sultan’s head to the Americans. Their chess game is interrupted when the Sherif of Wazan arrives with his men carrying Roosevelt’s demand for Eden’s freedom or the Berber’s head. Eden laughs, as do a few tribesmen. Raisuli draws his sword and all fall silent. He orders the Sherif to cut the finger off a woman and tell the Americans it is Eden’s. Turning on Eden, he demands to know if Roosevelt has any respect for human life. Meanwhile, Dreighton arrives at court with the lions, but the Sultan refuses to go after Raisuli, as the outlaw is his uncle. Dreighton warns him a U.S. fleet is off his shores with a detachment of Marines, but the Sultan is not impressed. Days later, Raisuli brings the Pedecaris family to his fortress stronghold overlooking the sea. There, William and Jennifer learn the ways of the brigands. One day, William is given a knife and made an honorary bodyguard to Raisuli. On 27 October 1904, Admiral French Ensor Chadwick arrives with the U.S. fleet. Ambassador Gummere explains that the Sultan is only a figurehead and the Bashaw is the real power of the land. He is using the Russians and Germans to keep the French from invading Morocco and believes they will protect him from the Americans. Chadwick’s attaché, Captain Jerome, suggests they storm the palace and seize the Bashaw and the government. Gummere warns that this could start a world war, but Chadwick insists that Roosevelt wants a show of strength. That night, William Pedecaris knocks a sleeping guard over the head with a flowerpot and takes his rifle. Eden leads him and Jennifer outside where one of Riasuli’s men, whom Eden has bribed, is waiting with horses. The man betrays them and sells them to a gang of thieves. As William brandishes his dagger in a feeble attempt to protect his mother and sister, Raisuli appears on horseback and opens fire on the thieves. In the ensuing chaos, Eden grabs a pike and spears one of her captures, while William kills another with a rifle shot. Raisuli cuts down the remainder of the thieves with his sword. After he takes Eden and the children back to his fortress, Raisuli informs them that he will return them to their house, stating that he does not make war on women and children. Back in Tangiers, Captain Jerome leads the U.S. Marines and sailors down the sidewalks and through the parks of the capitol. Upon reaching the Bashaw’s palace, he orders his men to gun down the guards and capture the grounds. That night, over a campfire, Raisuli relates that when he was a young man he fought against the old Sultan, until his brother, the Bashaw, betrayed him and had him imprisoned for four years. Due to his piousness, Allah made the guards release him. He rode into the desert and took a Berber tribe after killing the chief in hand-to-hand combat. Now, it is Allah’s will that he drive all foreigners from his land. The next day, the Sherif appears with an offer from the Americans of gold and the release of all Raisuli’s followers from the Sultan’s prison for the Pedecaris family’s safe return. Eden warns Raisuli to take the offer, as the European powers are using the U.S. involvement to send more troops to conquer his country. Despite his anger at Eden’s presumption to council a chieftain, Raisuli gathers his men to take her to rendezvous with the Americans. They ride to a small village on the sea, and fearing it may be a trap, Raisuli orders the Sherif to protect the Pedecaris family at all costs. German soldiers, armed with cannon and machine guns, surround the Berbers. When a German officer demands Raisuli surrender, the Sherif claims he captured Raisuli and demands a reward. Captain Jerome appears with his small squad of Marines and the German officer allows him to escort the Pedecaris family into a hut while Raisuli is tied up. Eden begs Jerome to help Raisuli, but he points out they are outnumbered. The Sherif and his men ride back into the hills, where they meet Raisuli’s men. The Sherif orders the men to surround the village. The next morning, Eden puts a knife to Captain Jerome’s throat and demands his troops drop their weapons. Once Jennifer and William collect their arms, Eden informs the soldiers she intends to keep the deal Roosevelt made by freeing Raisuli. Admiring her spunk, Jerome agrees to help. Leaving the children behind, Jerome and Eden lead the marines to the German camp and demand they be allowed to see Raisuli. When the German officer refuses, Eden walks past him, and he shoves her back. This soon devolves into a gunfight. Hearing gunfire, the Sherif orders his men to attack. As they charge through machine and cannon fire, Eden finds Raisuli hanging upside down from a rafter. She cuts him down and hands him a gun. He prophesies they will meet again when they are like two golden hawks floating on the wind. As he runs to join the battle, Raisuli sees a German attacking William. He shoots the man down, and then his gun jams. As the German officer bears down on him on horseback, Raisuli grabs a sword, and knocks the German from his horse. Instead of killing the officer, Raisuli laughs in his face, steals his horse and rides into the desert, followed by his men. Weeks later, Roosevelt receives a letter from Raisuli who compares himself to a lion and the president to wind. The wind can create a sandstorm that stings and irritates the lion, but cannot kill him. However, the lion cannot stop the wind from blowing wherever it wants. The lion knows his place, but Roosevelt, like the wind, will never know his. Back in the desert, the Sherif reports that Raisuli has lost everything. Raisuli asks the Sherif if there is not one thing in his life worth losing everything for and both men laugh before riding into the sunset.
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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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