The Last Hunt
|The Last Hunt|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Richard Brooks|
|Produced by||Dore Schary|
|Written by||Milton Lott (novel)
|Music by||Daniele Amfitheatrof|
|Edited by||Ben Lewis|
|Running time||108 min.|
The Last Hunt is a 1956 MGM western film directed by Richard Brooks and produced by Dore Schary. The screenplay was by Richard Brooks from the novel The Last Hunt by Milton Lott. The music score was by Daniele Amfitheatrof and the cinematography by Russell Harlan.
Background and production
The film was shot at the Badlands National Park and Custer State Park in South Dakota during the then-annual "thinning" of the buffalo herd. Actual footage of buffalo being shot and killed (by government marksmen) was used for the film. Harvey Lancaster of Custer was the main marksman for the filming. Brooks adapted the Milton Lott novel of the same name for the screenplay. The film was the first of only three westerns directed by Brooks, and was his first film following the critically acclaimed Blackboard Jungle (1955).
Sandy McKenzie (Stewart Granger) sets out on his last hunt with his long-time partner, the obsessive Charles Gilson (Robert Taylor). While McKenzie has grown tired of buffalo hunting, Gilson derives a pleasure from his "stands" – killing an entire herd of buffalo at one time. When Gilson chases down and kills an Indian raiding party, he takes an Indian woman and her child captive. The presence of the native woman causes tension and Gilson becomes increasingly paranoid and deranged, leading to a stand-off between the two former partners.
The story takes place during the winter but was actually filmed during the scorching summer months in Custer State Park. When temperatures reached triple digits Stewart Granger, whose costume consisted of full winter clothing, passed out from heat exhaustion and the crew had to cut away his clothes to revive him.
Granger and director Brooks were reportedly not fond of one another, especially after Brooks married Granger's ex-wife, Jean Simmons.
The film earned $1,750,000 in North American rental during its first year of release.
According to MGM records the film earned $1,604,000 in the US and Canada and $1,379,000 overseas, resulting in a loss of $323,000.
|Robert Taylor||Charles Gilson|
|Stewart Granger||Sandy McKenzie|
|Debra Paget||Indian Girl|
|Joe De Santis||Ed Black|
- 'The Eddie Mannix Ledger’, Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study, Los Angeles
- 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957