- by Zoë
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
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.
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
"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
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,
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.
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
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
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
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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