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"The Pride and the Passion"

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"The Pride and the Passion"

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Character's Name: Anthony
Release Date:  July 10, 1957
Director: Stanley Kramer
Studio:  United Artists
Running Time: 132 minutes

Cast: Cary Grant (Capt. Anthony Trumbull), Frank Sinatra (Miguel), Sophia Loren (Juana), Theodore Bikel (General Jouvet), John Wengraf (Germaine), Jay Novello (Ballinger), Jose Nieto (Carlos), Carlos Larranaga (Jose), Phillip Van Zandt (Vidal), Paco el Laberinto (Manolo)

- by Zoë Shaw
Anthony, a British officer, is in Spain to prevent the largest cannon in the world falling into French hands. Anthony wants to get the cannon out of Spain, but Miguel wants to take the gun to the French headquarters and blast them out of the city of Avila and Spain itself. The two men, who both like Juana, work together to win a military victory.

- by Zoë Shaw
Anthony (Cary Grant) is a British naval officer who landed in Spain during the Napoleonic wars to make contact with Spanish forces. His mission is to prevent a Spanish cannon, the largest in the world, from falling into the hands of the French. Anthony wants to take it out of Spain, but the leader of the guerrilla forces, Miguel (played by Frank Sinatra) wants to take the gun to Avila and blast the French out of that city and out of Spain. They are able to work together and achieve this, in spite of a battling between themselves for the love of Juana (Sophia Loren).

The best things about this film are the Spanish scenery and the effects (especially the run-away cannon). In my opinion, the film is long, drawn out and boring. Grant plays his part skillfully, but once more (as in The Howards of Virginia) the period costume and setting get in the way of his talents. Fortunately, he kept out of period dramas after this. Going on this film, Frank Sinatra should have stuck to crooning. The battle over Juana seems real enough though.....perhaps because it was happening for real between Sinatra and Grant. Stanley Kramer's direction is sound, but the plot and players let him down. Oh....and look out for A-Team style credits at the beginning and end - they're the best bit of the film.

VARIETY Film Review - June 26, 1957
- by "Gene"
- submitted by Barry Martin
A big one, this is Stanley Kramer's powerful production of C. S. Forester's sweeping novel about the Spanish "citizen's army" that goes to battle against the conquering legions of the French in 1810. The scope is immense, the impact forceful, the boxoffice socko.

"Pride and the Passion" has been highly touted. The publicity (statistical and otherwise) came out of Spain without letup during the year and a half the picture was in preparation and production in that country. All leading to great expectations, it now can be state, with justification, that this one is an epic that figures to be among the industry's top grossers.

"Passion" is heavyweight with those cinematic elements that stir audiences. In addition to the size and importance of the physical production, it has a story that moves with excitement and suspense, and a provocative, highly attractive cast headed by Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra and Sophia Loren.

The Forester book, titled "The Gun," has been skillfully put into script form by Edna and Edward Anhalt. A few plot angles are projected with some vagueness but the basic points and motivations are gotten across with full clarity. It is the story of the band of guerillas who come upon an oversized cannon that is abandoned by the retreating Spanish army. All things revolve around the huge weapon; it becomes symbolic of the spirit and courage of these Spanish patriots and their leader, Sinatra.

From this point on "Passion" focuses on this unlikely army seeking to make its way to the French stronghold at Avila against incredibly tall odds. Their movements must be along remote, unbeaten paths, so as not to encounter the French in the fields.

Their ally is Grant, a British naval officer assigned to retrieve the gun for use against Napoleon's forces. His knowledge of ordinance makes him a valuable asset to Sinatra and they work together although the two men are worlds apart in makeup and temperament.

Sinatra is the "Passion" vis-à-vis Grant's "Pride." One is the emotional, zealous, inarticulate Spaniard, driven by blind passion to destruction of the French bastion at Avila. The other is stiff, organized, disciplined - all Government Issue, British style.

Miss Loren is Sinatra's sultry and inflammable mistress with beaucoup accent on the décolleté. At first hostile toward Grant, she comes to recognize his pro-Spanish motives and veers to him romantically.

They make an engaging trio, imparting depth to the characters they portray. Grant is a strong figure. He reflects authority all the way through, in accepting Sinatra's crude ways of war, in taking command of the guerilla forces in the back-breaking salvage of the gun, and finally in firing against the French.

Sinatra is more colorful, as per script. He looks and behaves like a Spanish rebel leader, earthy and cruel and skilled in handling his men in the primitive warfare. His is a splendid performance.

Top credit must go to the production. Kramer, doubling as producer and director, amasses vivid pictorial values in Technicolor and the VistaVision process. The panoramic, long range views of the marching and terribly burdened army, the painful fight to keep the gun mobile through ravine and over waterway - these are major plusses And within the framework of the massive expedition are the good story values.

"Passion" is not overlong at two hours and 12 minutes. But the pace does tend to slow down in the final reels as the guerillas move toward the approaches of Avila after the numerous near-tragedies and escapes from the French. The climax is rousing and stimulating, this being the fall of the French fortress under the cannon barrage and the attack of the frenzied peasants.

Theodore Bikel as the French general and in less prominent assignments, John Wengraf, Jay Novello, Jose Nieto, Carlos Larrange, Phillip Van Zendt and Paco el Laberinto, all are likely and convincing participants.

George Antheil has contributed an imposing score that backgrounds the screen action with marked effect. Franz Planer's photography is brilliant, the editing by Frederic Knudtson and Ellsworth Hoagland provides expert continuity and other technical credits are top caliber. 

NEW YORK TIMES Film Review - June 29, 1957
- by Bosley Crowther
- submitted by Barry Martin
Some heavy dramatic artillery is mounted spectacularly in Stanley Kramer's "The Pride and the Passion," which came to the Capitol yesterday, and a mighty bombardment of theatrics is showered upon the VistaVision screen.  In his choice of a subject and in its treatment, Mr. Kramer, once a realist, now seems bent upon being a historical romancer in a class with Cecil B. DeMille.

Not since the latter's "The Ten Commandments" (which, of course, is less than a year, but which seems, in these days of careful budgets, to be something close to an age) have we seen such a vast pictorial effort, such a fast flow of big activity, such a casual disregard of plausibility and such an obvious appeal to popular taste.  Mr. Kramer is shooting for the bulls-eye with this huge romance - and he'll probably score.

What his is offering precisely is a turgid adventure yarn, set in the early nineteenth century and in the rolling hills of Spain.  He has shot his film in that country, which assures it a wealth of mass display and scenic grandeur in Technicolor that are, unquestionably, superb.

It is a yarn based upon a novel of C. S. Forester called "The Gun," and it has to do with the moving of a giant cannon halfway across war torn Spain.  Engaged in this tremendous operation is a brave and invincible band of Spanish "resistance" fighters who appear bent upon continuing to wage war against the arrogant armies of Napoleon after the collapse of the armies of Spain.  And the singular operation of the band of fighters here involved is to get this giant cannon to the city of Avila and blast a breach in its great stone walls.  

That is tha main line of progress - the long chase" in the course of which occur an number of harrowing adventures, setbacks and run-ins with the French.  And in the way of human drama, there are professional and temperamental clashes between the Spanish leader and an English naval captain sent to Spain to help salvage and save the gun.  Needless to say, some of their clashes are also over a beautiful peasant girl who appears to be a sort of Molly Pitcher in this huge do-it-yourself enterprise.

Mr. Kramer, who was his own director in the production of this two-hour-plus film, has handled the action episodes with a true romancer's skill.  Such matters as getting the cannon across a river, destroying a French camp with great flaming balls of rubble rolled down a hillside or taking the cannon through a mountain pass guarded by French artillery are staged spectacularly.  There is so much action in this picture, you might be looking at a mammoth Western film.

But the flow of human drama is decidedly perfunctory and slow, with the screen play of Edna and Edward Anhalt giving the characters little of interest to do, save jaw and glower at one another and put their shoulders to the wheel.

Frank Sinatra as the Spanish leader is possessed of an evident inner fire that glows but fitfully on rare occasions, and Cary Grant as the English naval chap behaves with dignity and daring but little sincerity.  Both are stilted heroes in a stiffly heroic show.  And Sophia Loren as the lovely camp-follower who shifts her affections from the first to the second man has mostly to play a sweet peacemaker and string along with the gang.  Theodore Bikel as a brutish French general stands out clumsily.

With the action episodes piled on stoutly and the human encounters running thin, the inevitable effect is to surfeit the viewer and do him in.  Before they get that cannon to Avila and breach the defended walls (an implausible permission, incidentally), one's patience may be close to being spent.  

Mr. Kramer has spread a mighty canvas but it has virtually no human depth.

- by Kathy Fox

This is Cary Grant's 61st film and the only one in which he was directed by Stanley Kramer. This movie is based upon the novel, THE GUN, by C. S. Forester.  It is his first film with Sophia Loren, and her first English-speaking role, the other being HOUSEBOAT a year later.  During the making of PRIDE, Cary fell hopelessly in love with Ms. Loren, which threatened his eight-year marriage to Betsy Drake.  Cary and Betsy tried to reconcile and keep their marriage together, but in the long run, they decided to separate in 1958, since they had no children who needed their attention and their marriage had not brought the fulfillment they had both expected.  I like THE PRIDE AND THE PASSION.  It is based upon history in Spain in 1810, when the French were trying to occupy Spain.  Cary plays the Englishman, Anthony Trumble, who is greatly steeped in tradition and discipline and who speaks Spanish and who is schooled in ordnance, guns.  The music of the film was written by Georges Antheil and is so complimentary to the film.  People have criticized Mr. Grant for his performance in this period piece, which obviously is not the typical Grant role.  I think he looked sexy and great in his English uniform and the only time he could have laughed was when he saw the donkey with the hat on he had lost.  I have to give credit where credit is do.  This film took all the energy from the actors that they had to give.  The mud, rain, hauling that cannon up and down the mountains, took guts.  And again, I feel that Cary did all his stunts because of his agility from acrobatics and also it would be hard to find a stunt man, who looked like him and could emulate his left-handedness.  Cary has a certain aura about him, the way he moves, speaks, and looks.  These are three of the reasons why he means so much to his fans, the War Brides.

Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine

*Regarding your file of quotes from "The Pride and the Passion"

If you wish to include the name of the actor who you have identified as "FIELD OFFICER" (the French guy in the tent who is trimming his moustache), it is Jay Novello  (remember him as the goofy little hysterical Italian guy from "I Love Lucy?"). The soldier he is giving orders to is Philip Van Zandt. --  Information submitted by Larry Rapchak 

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