AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Badlanders
Director: Delmer Daves (Dir)
Release Date:   Aug 1958
Production Date:   3 Feb--19 Mar 1958
Duration (in mins):   83 or 85
Duration (in feet):   8,090
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Cast:   Alan Ladd (Peter Van Hoek)  
    Ernest Borgnine (John McBain)  
    Katy Jurado (Anita)  
    Claire Kelly (Ada Winton)  
    Kent Smith (Cyril Lounsberry)  
    Nehemiah Persoff (Vincente)  
    Robert Emhardt (Sample)  
    Anthony Caruso (Comanche)  
    Adam Williams (Leslie)  
    Ford Rainey (Warden)  
    John Day (Lee)  
    Karl Swenson (Marshal)  
    Roberto Contreras (Pepe)  
    Anna Navarro (Raquel)  
    Richard Devon (Guard)  
    Tex Terry (Yard guard)  
    Sam Edwards (Crazy)  
    Pat Lawless (Irish guard)  
    Robert E. Griffin (Bartender)  
    Dick Bartell (Bartender)  
    Ann Doran (Mother)  
    Almira Sessions (Mother)  
    Carol Nugent (Girl)  
    Helen Jay (Girl)  
    James McCallion (Hotel clerk)  
    Jorge Moreno (Pancho)  
    Vinnie DeCarlo (Driver)  
    Gregg Barton (Foreman)  
    Erwin Neal (Powder man)  
    Joe Haworth (Miner)  
    Robert Totten (Young miner)  
    Joe Dominguez (Mexican miner)  
    Annette Claudier    
    Paul Baxley    

Summary: In 1898, at the Arizona Territorial Prison in Yuma, convict John McBain saves several prisoners, including Peter Van Hoek, from drowning. Peter, also known as "the Dutchman," then prevents an enraged McBain from attacking a sadistic guard and is awarded an early release for this act. As he prepares to leave, Peter again asserts what he has claimed from the beginning: that he was framed for the gold robbery that landed him in prison. McBain, having served a ten-year sentence for the slaughter of Bascom, a man who swindled him out of his gold-rich land, is released on the same day, but while Peter seems outwardly amiable, McBain is consumed by an angry bitterness. After arriving in nearby Prescott, the marshal, the very man who Peter believes framed him, orders the Dutchman to leave town. Peter promises to go the following evening, and as he ascends to his room, he meets the lovely Ada Winton, whose "gentleman friend," the wealthy Cyril Lounsberry, has locked her in her suite. Later, Peter sneaks into an abandoned section of the Lisbon mine, his former property, and chips off a small chunk of gold. Meanwhile, McBain risks his life to defend a Mexican-American woman named Anita when she is attacked by roughnecks on the street. He then helps her to deliver the baby of a woman who, like every Mexican-American in town, is too poor to afford medical care. By the end of the day, McBain and Anita have fallen deeply in love. After flirting with Ada, Peter, meanwhile, visits the current owner of the Lisbon mine, who turns out to be Lounsberry, a Bostonian who acquired the mine by marrying Bascom's sister. Peter explains his proposal: having been cheated and framed by the manager of a mine he prospected, Peter, with the aid of Lounsberry's money and supplies, wants to remove a hidden but very rich deposit of gold from that mine and then sell the gold to Lounsberry. Although worth $200,000, the gold would cost Lounsberry only $100,000. Unaware that the mine in question is the Lisbon, the mine owner agrees to the plan. Sample, Lounsberry's henchman, warns Peter to avoid using Mexicans for the job, but Peter states that he trusts Mexicans. "I've even forgotten the Alamo," he remarks. Because the mine is on land once owned by McBain, Peter hires him to assist with the job and offers to share the money with him. Also hired is Vincente, a skilled "powder monkey," who worked with Peter years before. On the following afternoon, Peter, Vincente and McBain enter the deserted mine shaft and begin setting caps of explosive powder near Peter's secret gold deposit. The explosion, timed to coincide with the daily blasting of the Lisbon, yields several huge bags of ore-rich rock, which the men quickly haul outside. Vincente is injured during a sudden cave-in, and it is only with great difficulty that the three escape to a waiting wagon. They then deliver the gold to Lounsberry, who has ordered the crooked deputy to seize the gold at gunpoint and return the men to prison. The deputy shoots McBain in the shoulder, but the three manage to escape to Anita's shack with the gold. Peter bids farewell to Anita and McBain and rides away, but Lounsberry and his thugs begin shooting at him just as an annual Mexican fiesta gets underway in the center of town. McBain rushes out to help his friend, but Lounsberry's men surround them. Anita quickly rallies the celebrants to their aid, and soon fireworks fill the plaza with smoke and confusion. The thugs are disarmed and captured by the mob, thereby enabling Anita to flee with McBain and Peter. After promising to meet them in Texas for his share of the money, Peter steps aboard the departing stagecoach, where he is greeted by the beautiful Ada. 

Production Company: Arcola Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.  
Director: Delmer Daves (Dir)
  Ridgeway Callow (Asst dir)
Producer: Aaron Rosenberg (Prod)
Writer: Richard Collins (Scr)
Photography: John Seitz (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: William A. Horning (Art dir)
  Daniel B. Cathcart (Art dir)
Film Editor: William H. Webb (Film ed)
  James Baiotto (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Henry Grace (Set dec)
  Jack Mills (Set dec)
Sound: Dr. Wesley C. Miller (Rec supv)
Make Up: Sydney Guilaroff (Hair styles)
  William Tuttle (Makeup)
Production Misc: Ruby Rosenberg (Unit mgr)
  Wilfred Babcock (Tech adv on gold mine scenes)
Stand In: Willard Willingham (Stunts)
  Henry Wills (Stunts)
Color Personnel: Charles K. Hagedon (Col consultant)
Country: United States
Language: English

Source Text: Based on the novel The Asphalt Jungle by W. R. Burnett (New York, 1949).
Authors: W. R. Burnett

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Loew's Inc. & Arcola Pictures Corp. 14/7/1958 dd/mm/yyyy LP11545 Yes

PCA NO: 19001
Physical Properties: Sd: Westrex Recording System
  col: Metrocolor
  Widescreen/ratio: CinemaScope

Genre: Western
Subjects (Major): Duplicity
  Gold miners
  Mexican Americans
  Mine owners
Subjects (Minor): Arizona
  Gold mines
  Mine accidents
  Prescott (AZ)
  Yuma (AZ)

Note: According to information in the MPAA/PCA collection at the AMPAS Library, in Nov 1957, the PCA rejected the first draft of this film because it portrayed criminals in a sympathetic manner. In Feb 1958, a revised script was deemed acceptable, on condition that certain changes were made, including the elimination of any suggestion of prostitution. Despite these conditions, the finished film, which included identifiable prostitutes, received a PCA certificate. (The Var reviewer commented that "Katy Jurado and Claire Kelly...are ladies who are plainly of easy and saleable virtue, and there is none of the usual subterfuge about dance hall girls.")
       Although Fred Gerstle is credited in the role of the "hotel clerk" in the studio cast list, the CBCS list, which is dated eight months later than the studio's, credits James McCallion in the part. Gerstle was not in the released film. The studio cast list also indicates that Barbara Baxley and Zina Provendie were cut from the final film. The Badlanders marked Alan Ladd's only appearance in an M-G-M film. According to contemporary information in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, exteriors were filmed on location at the Tennessee Mine in Kingman, AZ, the Elk Hart and Schulhill Mines near Kingman, the Yuma Prison, and a Mexican settlement in Tucson.
       W. R. Burnett's novel was first adapted in 1950 as The Asphalt Jungle . John Huston directed Sterling Hayden and Louis Calhern in the M-G-M production. In 1963, Wolf Rilla directed George Sanders in another M-G-M version, titled Cairo (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ). In 1972, Barry Pollack directed a fourth version, M-G-M's Cool Breeze , starring Thalmus Rasulala and Judy Pace. A television series inspired by the book was broadcast on the ABC network during the 1961 season. Jack Warden and Arch Johnson starred in series, also titled The Asphalt Jungle . The Badlanders was the only adaptation of the novel that had a Western setting. Ernest Borgnine and Katy Jurado were married from 1959 to 1964. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   21 Jul 1958.   
Daily Variety   16 Jul 58   p. 3.
The Exhibitor   23 Jul 58   p. 4493.
Film Daily   18 Jul 58   p. 6.
Harrison's Reports   19 Jul 58   pp. 114-15.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Mar 1958.   
Hollywood Reporter   16 Jul 58   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   19 Jul 58   p. 911.
New York Times   4 Sep 58   p. 33.
Variety   16 Jul 58   p. 6.

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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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