Pillars of the Sky
|Pillars of the Sky|
|Directed by||George Marshall|
|Produced by||Robert Arthur|
|Written by||Heck Allen
(as Will Henry)
|Screenplay by||Sam Rolfe|
|Edited by||Milton Carruth|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$1.5 million (US)|
Pillars of the Sky is a 1956 American CinemaScope Technicolor Western film directed by George Marshall starring Jeff Chandler and Dorothy Malone, with co-stars Ward Bond, Keith Andes, Lee Marvin and Sydney Chaplin.
Oregon Country 1868: Indians of many tribes trust Sgt. Emmett Bell, who rides into Dr. Joseph Holden's mission with his Indian scouts. However, troop and weapon movements by new U.S. Cavalry commanding officer Col. Steadlow has endangered the peace and angered the chiefs, in particular one called Kamiakin. An outraged Bell tries to appeal to Steadlow as well as Capt. Tom Gaxton, whose wife Calla was once in love with him. Calla and another woman are taken captive but are rescued by Bell, rekindling his and Calla's romance.
The Indians ambush a large cavalry patrol and, after a fierce fight, the soldiers break through the Indians and manage to escape to Holden's mission, using it as a fortification against an expected attack. Appeals for a truce go in vain. However, a particularly bloodthirsty act by Kamiakin results in his being killed by one of his own, whereupon Bell and the chiefs agree to do whatever is necessary to restore the peace.
- Jeff Chandler as First Sergeant Emmett Bell
- Dorothy Malone as Calla Gaxton
- Ward Bond as Doctor Joseph Holden
- Keith Andes as Captain Tom Gaxton
- Lee Marvin as Sergeant Lloyd Carracart
- Sydney Chaplin as Timothy
- Willis Bouchey as Colonel Edson Stedlow
- Michael Ansara as Kamiakin
- Olive Carey as Mrs. Anne Avery
- Charles Horvath as Sergeant Dutch Williams
- Orlando Rodriguez as Malachi
- Glen Kramer as Lieutenant Winston
- Floyd Simmons as Lieutenant Hammond
- Pat Hogan as Jacob
- Felix Noriego as Lucas
- Paul Smith as Morgan
- Martin Milner as Waco
- Robert Ellis as Albie
- Ralph Votrian as Music (as Ralph J Votrian)
- Walter Coy as Major Donahue
- Alberto Morin as Sgt. Major Frenchy Desmonde
- Richard Hale as Isaiah
- Frank Kova as Zachariah (as Frank de Kova)
- Terry Wilson as Captain Fanning
- Philip Kieffer as Major Randall
- Gilbert Conner as Elijah
Filming started August 1955.
Evaluation in film guides
Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide gives Pillars of the Sky 2½ stars (out of 4) in a one-sentence write-up which states that "Chandler is apt as swaggering army officer...", with Steven H. Scheuer's Movies on TV also arriving at the 2½ stars (out of 4) rating, deciding that "Western fans will buy this tale of a no-account, hard-drinking, woman-chasing Sgt. who finally sees the error of his ways..."
The Motion Picture Guide makes it unanimous (among the three cited sources), with its 2½-star (out of 5) description of the production as "a relatively satisfying cowboys and Indians film starring Chandler as a cavalry scout who is literally a voice in the wilderness..." and, in conclusion, adds, "[G]ood cast. The outdoor location shooting was done in Oregon".
- 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957
- Thompson, Howard [under byline: H.H.T.] (October 13, 1956). "Screen: Pillars of the Sky; Western at the Globe Stars Jeff Chandler". New York Times. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- Passafiume, Andrea. "Pillars of the Sky", Turner Classic Movies accessed 11 November 2012
- Baja California Wagon Trip Inspires Unique Film; Cummings Deal On Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 13 Aug 1955: 13.