Run for the Sun

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Run for the Sun
Runforthesun poster.JPG
theatrical poster
Directed by Roy Boulting
Produced by Robert Waterfield
Harry Tatelman
Written by Dudley Nichols
Roy Boulting
Starring Richard Widmark
Trevor Howard
Jane Greer
Peter Van Eyck
Music by Fred Steiner
Cinematography Joseph La Shelle
Edited by Frederic Knudtson
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s) August 1956 (US)
Running time 99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1.25 million (US)[1]

Run for the Sun is a 1956 film released by United Artists, the third film to officially be based on Richard Connell's classic suspense story, "The Most Dangerous Game", after both RKO's The Most Dangerous Game (1932), and their remake, A Game of Death (1945). This version stars Richard Widmark, Trevor Howard, and Jane Greer, and was directed by Ray Boulting from a script written by Boulting and Dudley Nichols. Connell was credited for his short story.

Howard is the wealthy reclusive man who enjoys hunting down human beings like wild game. In this adaptation, the expatriate Russian general is transformed into a British traitor hiding in the Mexican jungle with a fellow Nazi war criminal played by Peter van Eyck. Their prey are Widmark, portraying a Hemingway-like but reclusive novelist, and Greer, playing a journalist for a periodical resembling Life Magazine who has tracked down the novelist's whereabouts.


Plot[edit]

Katie Connors, on the editorial staff of Sight magazine, journeys to San Marcos, a remote Mexican fishing village, seeking novelist and adventurer Mike Latimer, who has abandoned writing "at the peak of his fame" and dropped from sight. She soon learns that he is indeed there, indulging in drinking, fishing, hunting, and flying his Piper Cub. Katie contrives to meet him, pretending not to know his identity, but Latimer easily sees through her clumsy denials and is immediately attracted to her. Over the next several days they enjoy each other's company, but Katie may be falling in love with him and conceals the real reason she is there. After Latimer explains that his wife was the muse behind his literary success, and that he quit writing because she left him to be with his best friend, Katie decides to go back to New York. Latimer offers to fly her to Mexico City and asks Katie to write down her address to keep in touch. During the flight the magnetized notebook in Katie's purse affects the plane's magnetic compass and they find themselves lost over jungle. The plane runs out of fuel and Latimer crash-lands in a small clearing. Knocked unconscious, he wakes up to find himself in a bed in the main house of a hacienda.

Katie introduces him to their rescuers, an Englishman named Browne and the Dutch archaeologist Anders, who live on the estate with a third European, Jan. Latimer feels that he once met the cordial Browne, a big game hunter himself, but cannot place it. The more suspicious and secretive Anders asks about a rifle bullet that Latimer always carries with him, which Latimer relates is a souvenir and good luck charm from the D-Day invasion, a time when his courage failed him. Almost immediately the couple senses that things are not as they appear. Browne keeps a pack of savage dogs to prowl the estate and control the local populace; when Latimer goes to examine the condition of his plane, it has disappeared; Browne claims he has no contact to the outside world and Katie doubts that Anders is really an archaeologist. However friction develops between them when a newscast on the radio announcing their disappearance reveals Katie's identity and original purpose. Katie tries to persuade Latimer that she no longer intends to write the story but he rebuffs her.

That night Latimer finds a storeroom containing military gear with Nazi markings, items from his missing plane supposedly stolen by the local Indians, and a cabinet of hunting rifles. The barking of the prowling dogs awakens Browne and Anders, and Latimer overhears them talking in German. He tells Katie what he found and warns her that they need to work together to try to escape. They discover that Browne has been concealing from them a flyable Piper Cub of his own. Latimer finally realizes it is Browne's voice he recognizes, and that he is an infamous turncoat who during the war broadcast Nazi propaganda from Berlin to Britain after he had married a German girl. The Englishman admits the truth and adds that his wife was Anders' sister, killed in a British air raid. Latimer tries to bargain for Katie's release but to no avail. Latimer realizes Anders is a German war criminal who massacred an entire village and intends to kill them. He and Katie try to steal the plane, but when Jan, posted to guard the plane, shoots at them, they flee into the jungle.

Browne, leading Anders, Jan and the dogs, follows their trail, failing to catch them the first day when a group of wild pigs attack the dogs. The next day, the wilderness-wise Latimer rigs a crude booby trap that kills Jan. With Katie nearing exhaustion, Latimer contrives to double back, and when they find Jan's dead body, realizes that the plane has been left unguarded. Stopping for the night, Latimer starts to cover Katie with his jacket and finds that she wrote down the office address of Sight magazine as her own, proving that she had been truthful about her feelings. They reach the hacienda just ahead of their pursuers and barricade themselves in the chapel. Anders pretends to negotiate with Latimer and shoots through the door. Latimer ridicules him and when Anders goes to bring workers to break down the door, he is forced to lock up the dogs to get their cooperation. Browne fears the fanatical Nazi and offers to shoot Anders if Latimer flies him to South America. Latimer refuses and uses the bullethole in the door as a makeshift gun barrel for his lucky bullet, striking the primer with a chisel and fatally shooting Browne. Latimer and Katie take off in Browne's plane, killing Anders with the propeller when he tries to block their path, and escape.

Cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]

Leo Genn was meant to play the head villain but he had script approval. The script was rewritten and Genn did not like the result when he arrived in Mexico to start filming. He pulled out; Trevor Howard was cast instead, and producer Bob Waterfield had to pay Genn his complete salary.[2]

The jungle sequences were shot about fifty miles from Acapulco, Mexico. The location used for Browne and Van Anders' base was a vast, ruined, 16th century hacienda and sugar plantation/refinery built by Hernán Cortés at Atlacomulco, southeast of Cuernavaca. In the 1980s, the principal house and several other buildings were restored and turned into a hotel. The interior and patio of the house used in the film, as well as the interior of the small hotel where Katie Connors and Mike Latimer meet, were sets built at Estudios Churubusco in Mexico City. The house interior was reputed to be the largest set yet built in a Mexican studio.

In the movie the supporting villain is a German "von Andre" who passes as a Dutchman "Van Anders." In actuality, the actor playing him, Peter van Eyck - a Dutch name - was born Götz von Eick and changed his name to avoid stigma associated with being German.[citation needed]

Run for the Sun was one of four films produced for United Artists release by a company owned by actress Jane Russell and her then-husband, Robert Waterfield.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957
  2. ^ Drama: Lollobrigida to Star in 'Solomon and Sheba' Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 04 Nov 1955: B10.

External links[edit]