The Sons of Katie Elder / Part 4
Henry Hathaway / Director
Next, Hathaway was Assistant Director under another Fleming film The Rough Riders (1927) – Widipedia says: ” A fictional account of Theodore Roosevelt’s military unit in Cuba – a worthy Western setting, but the film was evidently not very good.
3 out of 10 from IMDB
Wikipedia: “Incomplete or fragment prints of this movie are extant at the Museum of Modern Art and the Library of Congress.” In other words, this is essentially a lost film.
On the poster Noah Beery Sr. gets top Bill – but no image?
It seems his role was mainly comic relief.
Charles Farrell and Mary Astor
Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor
You may recall Mary from her role in the Maltese Falcon (1941)
Just for fun:
Father of Noah Beery Jr.
Brother of actor Noah Beery Sr.
Possibly most well known for his role in the Rockford Files TV show.
The Sons of Katie Elder / Part 3
Henry Hathaway / Director
“To be a good director you’ve got to be a bastard.
I’m a bastard and I know it.”
– Henry Hathaway
Thought I’d do a little profile on Henry Hathaway, the Director of Sons of Katie Elder. Initially John Sturges ( Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Great Escape (1963) ) was supposed to Direct and Alan Ladd was to Star. Ladd bought out his contract with Paramount and left. Film rights were picked up by Producer Hal Wallis and it was announced Dean Martin would Star. But somewhere along the line John Wayne and Hathaway stepped in.
Hathaway directed about 24 Westerns in his career – 67 movies in total between 1929 to 1974 – including John Wayne’s: North to Alaska (1960) and True Grit (1969) – for which John Wayne (1969) won an Oscar. Quite a career. Yet Hathaway’s Directing style seems to have been purely business like – straight forward, bread and butter, and no frills – and he received little recognition and no awards for his work. Not that he seemed to care.
“There’s lots of nice guys walking around Hollywood but they’re not eating.” – Henry Hathaway
John Wayne, Henry Hathaway, Dean Martin
According to one source, Hathaway was an assistant Director under a guy called Victor Fleming on a movie called The Wolf Song(1929). Fleming went on to Direct The Wizard of OZ (1939)and Gone with the Wind (1939) – among several other classics. If your going to understudy with somebody, it might as well be a Master.
Victor Fleming with Gary Cooper
Wolf Song has a number of rather wonderful and incredible images.
Lupe Velez and Gary Cooper
My first impression when I looked at these images was that
popular modern cinema has lost something.
And I’d say that something is Art.
John Wayne was 55 years old in 1965 and not feeling good about himself.
Years of excessive smoking (6 packs a day) and drinking were calling in their dues.
Wikipedia says: “Filming was due to begin in September 1964, but had to be delayed until January 1965, after Wayne was diagnosed with lung cancer. Following Wayne’s surgery to remove a cancerous lung and two ribs, the star insisted on doing his own stunts, and nearly contracted pneumonia after being dragged into a river.”
John still insisted upon doing stunts. It must have been a hell of a shoot.
Despite all, John’s incredible and enduring Star Power still makes this a favorite among fans.
12 worthy Posters
John’s international popularity guaranteed Box office success.
Johnny Cash sings “The Sons of Katie Elder“;
a rather awful song written by Elmer Bernstein and Ernie Sheldon.
The film’s background music was also composed by Elmer Bernstein.
The Sons of Katie Elder / 1965
Dean’s second Western with John Wayne.
A follow-up to immensely popular Rio Bravo (1959)
Katie Elder was a real person and the events surrounding the Sons is also loosely based on historical events.
More on that later.
John, Dean, Earl Holliman, Michael Anderson Jr.
From the Four Winds they came.
the four brothers. their eyes smoking
and their fingers itching…
A Review or two.
100%!!??? Definitely not.
I really gotta say that I’m mystified by the high ratings? To me this is nothing more that a second level John WayneWestern – almost a formula flick.
These ratings would make it almost a Classic – which it is not.
But obviously a lot of people like it.
When I’m researching a movie I love to read the Trivia on IMDB
(Internet Movie DataBase) It can tell you a lot:
Opening credits say: “The characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or events is purely coincidental.”
MFW: I’m mystified why this would need to be posted? Maybe somebody will confuse some politicians for the 3 Stooges.
“Oh, a wise guy, eh?”
Director Robert Aldrich intensely disliked Frank Sinatra’s non-professional attitude and tried unsuccessfully to have him dismissed from the film.
MFW: Not very hard to believe.
Nobody boots King Rat
Before Frank Sinatra was in the picture, James Stewart and Robert Mitchum were pursued for the lead. MFW: Always interesting to see who else MIGHT have been in a film – but this just doesn’t make sense? I thought it was a Rat Pack movie?
Sophia Loren turned down a paycheck of $1m for four weeks work.
MFW: Sofia was smart. She had previously worked with Sinatra in The Pride and the Passion(1957)
She was also an anomaly – a beauty who turned out to be a good Actress.
Ka Booom ! Sometimes size is impressive.
Anita Ekberg and Ursula Andress both did nude screen tests, Hollywood’s first. However, the censors removed all nudity from the finished film.
MFW: Wonder if the Europeans got a uncut version?
Bashful Ursula (censored by MFW). This didn’t get into the movie either.
The role of Maxine Richter (Ursula Andress) was originally intended for Gina Lollobrigida.
MFW: I probably would have gone with Gina. But they never asked me.
The riverboat “Sultana” shares the same name with an overloaded Mississippi riverboat side-wheeler that exploded and sank on April 27, 1865, whilst transporting Union troops returning from Confederate prison camps during the closing days of the Civil War.
MFW: Overloading Riverboats was possibly a common practice in those days, and was likely deemed a necessity during the American Civil War.
Wikipedia: “On April 27, 1865, the boat exploded in the worst maritime disaster in United States history. Although designed with a capacity for only 376 passengers, she was carrying 2,427 when three of the boat’s four boilers exploded and she burned to the waterline and sank near Memphis, Tennessee, killing an estimated 1,700 passengers. This disaster was overshadowed in the contemporary press by other events, most particularly the killing on the previous day of President Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth.
Riverboat used in 4 for Texas
The Universal Studios prop steamboat was called the ENTERPRISE, since it was most remembered for its role by that name in the RIVERBOAT television series (1959-1961). Universal built the replica boat for the MISSISSIPPI GAMBLER (1953) staring Tyrone Power. It sat on a lake on the back lots of Universal Studios. Ultimately the ENTERPRISE was lost to fire on the Universal lot.
Bette Davis declined a role in this film to do Dead Ringer (1964).
MFW: Bette was 55 at the time. I’m unsure what role that might have been?
But Hell! we’re talking about Bette Davis.