AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Gypsy Wildcat
Director: Roy William Neill (Dir)
Release Date:   1 Sep 1944
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles opening: 8 Aug 1944
Production Date:   early Oct--mid-Dec 1943
Duration (in mins):   73 or 77
Duration (in feet):   6,715
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Maria Montez (Carla)  
    Jon Hall (Michael)  
    Peter Coe (Tonio)  
    Nigel Bruce (High Sheriff)  
    Leo Carrillo (Anube)  
    Gale Sondergaard (Rhoda)  
    Douglass Dumbrille (Baron Tovar)  
    Curt Bois (Valdi)  
    Harry Cording (Captain Marver)  
    Wee Willie Davis (Dota)  
    Robert Stephenson (Guard)  
    Lew Harvey (Guard)  
    Jimmy Aubrey (Guard)  
    Dick Rush (Officer)  
    Jack C. Smith (Soldier)  
    Bill Healy (Liveried servant)  
    Claire Whitney (Maid)  
    Oliver Prickett (Lieutenant)  
    Pat West    
    Esther Michelson    

Summary: At a gypsy fair, tribe leader Anube watches his wife Rhoda tell fortunes and his son Tonio play the violin, while looking for his main attraction, dancer Carla, whom he adopted years before when she was abandoned as a baby. Carla, meanwhile, rests in the woods, where she witnesses Count Orso being killed by an arrow, then sees a handsome stranger, Michael, ride off from the crime scene. Carla returns to the fair and dances, and when Michael rides by, he is enraptured by her performance, unaware that Tonio is watching him jealously. Baron Tovar and his troops soon interrupt the performance, accusing the gyspies of having murdered Count Orso. After Michael tells Tovar the gypsies are innocent, Tovar orders him arrested, but Michael flees on horseback. Tovar then commands the gypsy tribe to come to his castle, after which Carla finds Michael hiding in the woods. She informs him about a secret pathway, and he escapes from the pursuing soldiers after kissing her passionately and noting the beauty of her necklace. A few days later, as the gypsy caravan is heading toward the castle, Tonio declares his love for Carla, but she tells him she loves Michael. Moments later, Michael rides by and jumps into Anube's wagon, asking the leader for help in escaping, in return for which Michael will find the real murderer and clear the gypsies' names. Anube agrees, but as soon as Michael climbs into the back of the wagon, Anube knocks him out, intending to hand him over to Tovar in return for his tribe's freedom. When Tovar's troops stop them in order to look for Michael, however, Carla saves Michael by disguising him as a clown. At the castle the next day, a suspicious Tovar demands to see the clown perform, but once again Michael escapes. Tovar threatens to burn Carla with an iron unless she reveals the clown's identity, but stops as soon as he notices her necklace. The next day, after Tovar imprisons the gypsies, Michael approaches him and reveals that he is a court messenger sent by the king to aid Count Orso, and he knows that Tovar is the Count's assassin. Tovar attacks him but Michael flees, and moments later Tonio and Carla escape from the dungeon and find Michael outside, wounded by a guard. They bring him to the woods, where Carla nurses him back to health. Later, when the troops find them, she distracts them and is captured. Meanwhile, Tovar tells his military commander, Captain Marver, that Carla's necklace proves that she is the daughter of the long-lost Countess Orso and is heir to the castle. As he plans to marry Carla and so gain ownership of her property, Tonio races to ask the other gypsy tribes for help. At the same time, Michael sneaks back into the castle to rescue Carla and is caught. Desperate, Carla then agrees to marry Tovar in exchange for the release of Michael and the gypsies. On the wedding day, Michael leads the gypsies in an escape, causing Tovar to grab Carla and flee in a wagon. Michael follows with the gyspies and rescues Carla as Tovar's troops descend upon them. Just then, Tonio and the other gypsies arrive and defeat the troops, but when Tonio saves Michael from Tovar's knife, he is killed. Days later, Michael and Carla take control of the castle while the gypsies continue their journey. 

Production Company: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  
Director: Roy William Neill (Dir)
  Melville Shyer (Asst dir)
Producer: George Waggner (Prod)
  Jack Gross (Exec prod)
Writer: James Hogan (Scr)
  Gene Lewis (Scr)
  James M. Cain (Scr)
  James Hogan (Orig story)
  Ralph Stock (Orig story)
  Joseph Hoffman (Addl dial)
Photography: George Robinson (Dir of photog)
  W. Howard Greene (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: John Goodman (Art dir)
  Martin Obzina (Art dir)
Film Editor: Russell Schoengarth (Film ed)
Set Decoration: R. A. Gausman (Set dec)
  Ira S. Webb (Set dec)
Costumes: Vera West (Cost)
Music: Edward Ward (Mus score and dir)
Sound: Bernard B. Brown (Dir of sd)
  Glenn E. Anderson ([Sd] tech)
Special Effects: John P. Fulton (Spec photog)
Dance: Lester Horton (Dir of choreography)
Make Up: Jack Pierce (Makeup artist)
Production Misc: Vernon Keays (Loc dir)
Color Personnel: Natalie Kalmus (Technicolor dir)
  William Fritzsche (Assoc)
Country: United States

Songs: "Gypsy Song of Freedom," words by George Waggner, music by Edward Ward.
Composer: George Waggner
  Edward Ward

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co., Inc. 28/7/1944 dd/mm/yyyy LP12876

PCA NO: 9910
Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

 
Genre: Romance
Sub-Genre: with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Escapes
  Gypsies
  Imprisonment
  Mistaken identity
  Murder
  Nobility
 
Subjects (Minor): Aristocracy
  Bow and arrow
  Castles
  Clowns
  Dancers
  Dungeons
  Entertainers
  Fairs
  Family relationships
  Forests
  Impersonation and imposture
  Inheritance
  Knives
  Marriage
  Necklaces
  Officers (Military)
  Rescues
  Soldiers
  Torture
  Violinists
  Wagons
  Wounds and injuries

Note: The working title of this film was Gypsy Girl . Although production charts include Patricia Mace in the cast, her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a May 1943 HR news item, writer James Hogan was originally scheduled to also produce and direct the film, but was replaced so that he could seek medical attention. Hogan died of a heart attack soon after. Gypsy Wildcat was the fourth in a series of Maria Montez-Jon Hall adventure films produced by Universal, including 1942's Arabian Nights (see above), 1943's White Savage (see below), and 1944's Cobra Woman (see above). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   12 Aug 1944.   
Daily Variety   22 Sep 1943.   
Daily Variety   3 Aug 44   p. 3.
Film Daily   7 Aug 44   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   11 May 43   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Oct 43   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Dec 43   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Aug 44   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Oct 44   p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   18 Dec 43   p. 1675.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   12 Aug 44   p. 2041.
New York Times   5 Oct 44   p. 18.
Variety   9 Aug 44   p. 12.

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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.
 
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