Moonfleet (1955 film)

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Moonfleet poster.jpg
Directed by Fritz Lang
Produced by John Houseman
Written by Jan Lustig (de)
Margaret Fitts
Based on Moonfleet
1898 novel
by J. Meade Falkner
Starring Stewart Granger
George Sanders
Joan Greenwood
Viveca Lindfors
Music by Vicente Gómez
Miklós Rózsa
Cinematography Robert H. Planck
Edited by Albert Akst
Distributed by MGM
Release date
  • June 24, 1955 (1955-06-24) (U.S.)

1960 (France)
Running time
87 minutes
Language English
Budget $1,955,000[1]
Box office $1,574,000[1]

Moonfleet is a 1955 Eastman Color film filmed in CinemaScope directed by Fritz Lang which was inspired by the novel Moonfleet by J. Meade Falkner,[2] although significant alterations were made in the characters and plot.

Plot summary[edit]

A gothic melodrama set in England during the eighteenth century, the film is about John Mohune, a young orphan, played by Jon Whiteley, who is sent to the Dorset village of Moonfleet to stay with his mother's former lover, Jeremy Fox. Fox, played by Stewart Granger, is a morally ambiguous character, an elegant gentleman intimately involved with smugglers.[3] On the run from the law, Mohune and Fox must decipher a coded message in their pursuit of a fabulous diamond hidden long ago.



MGM bought the film rights to the novel in 1951 and announced Stewart Granger as the star immediately.[4] Jan Lustig (de) wrote the first script and John Houseman produced.[5]

Director Fritz Lang said the story "calls for mood, for atmosphere. The smugglers work in the dark, on hazy days. I plan to light my principals just as you would in a play, dropping shadows on the sides of the stage to concentrate on the main action and the players involved in it."[6]

The movie was shot almost entirely on the MGM backlot, augmented by a few shots of the California coast. During filming, James Dean visited the set; Stewart Granger said his manner was rude and dismissive.[7]

Granger later said "I hated working with Fritz Lang - he was a Kraut and it was a bloody awful film. I wanted to produce and act it in Cornwall and made them buy the book. MGM turned it into a big colour film. Moonfleet was not Lang's type of film - it is a romantic child's film. It wasn't a bad part."[8]


The film was a critical and financial failure on release. According to MGM records the movie earned $567,000 in the US and Canada and $1,007,000 overseas. It made a loss of $1,203,000.[1]

The film was released in France in 1960 and had 917,219 admissions.[9]

The prestigious French film publication Cahiers du Cinéma named Moonfleet as one of the 100 most essential films ever made, listing it at #32.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c 'The Eddie Mannix Ledger’, Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study, Los Angeles
  2. ^ Moonfleet at IMDB
  3. ^ Halliwell's Film Guide, 6th edition, 1987, p. 703
  4. ^ Hopper, H. (1951, Oct 20). Best seller story, 'moonfleet,' to be produced by metro in '52. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  5. ^ Schallert, E. (1954, May 06). Drama. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  6. ^ By, M. A. S. (1954, Sep 05). VIEWS ON THE SCREEN DIRECTED BY FRITZ LANG. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  7. ^ Bret Wood, 'Moonfleet' at Turner Classic Movies
  8. ^ Brian MacFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Methuen 1997 p 231
  9. ^ Box office information for Stewart Granger films in France at Box Office Story

External links[edit]