The Last Command (1955 film)

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The Last Command
Poster of the movie The Last Command.jpg
Original Australian film poster
Directed by Frank Lloyd
Produced by Frank Lloyd
Screenplay by Warren Duff
Allen Rivkin
Story by Sy Bartlett
Starring Sterling Hayden
Anna Maria Alberghetti
Richard Carlson
Arthur Hunnicutt
Ernest Borgnine
J. Carrol Naish
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Jack A. Marta
Edited by Tony Martinelli
Production
company
Republic Pictures
Distributed by Republic Pictures
Release date
  • August 3, 1955 (1955-08-03) (United States)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Last Command is a 1955 Trucolor Western film directed by Frank Lloyd starring Sterling Hayden, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Richard Carlson, Arthur Hunnicutt, Ernest Borgnine and J. Carrol Naish.

Plot summary[edit]

In 1835, Jim Bowie realizes that there were uneasy disputes between the Mexican government and the American immigrants who've settled in Texas. Dozens of American men, including Stephen Austin have been arrested for supposedly igniting rebellions against the Mexican governor Juan Almonte and the Mexican garrisons throughout Texas.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

John Wayne[edit]

The project first emerged at Republic Films in 1948 as The Alamo, written by Patrick Ford, John Ford's as a vehicle for the studio's biggest star, John Wayne.[1] In 1950 it was announced Wayne would produce, direct and star in the film.[2][3]. The project was going to be filmed after Wayne did The Quiet Man for Republic; Paul Fix and James Edward Grant had reworked the script.[4]

"I've always wanted to direct ever since I came into pictures," said Wayne, who had just begun producing with The Bullfighter and the Lady.[5] He planned to make the film in Tuacana, Mexico.[6] Robert Clarke was announced for a key role.[7]

However Republic Pictures head Herbert Yates and Wayne clashed. Wayne wanted to film the project in Mexico but Yates wanted to shoot it in Texas. Wayne was also unhappy that Yates wanted the actor to make the film for Republic, instead of making it for Wayne's company and distribute through Republic. It resulted in Wayne leaving Republic, an association that had existed since 1935, despite the fact that Wayne had a contract to make three more films for the studio.[8][9]

"Yates will have to make me a darned good offer to make another picture with him," said Wayne. "I'm fed up with him."[8]

Five years later Wayne would play Davy Crockett in, as well as direct, the three-hour-plus Todd-AO production The Alamo, released by United Artists, that featured many elements of The Last Command in its screenplay.

Shooting[edit]

Yates decided to rework the Alamo project with other actors. Republic were not making many films in 1954 but the Alamo project was key to the year.[10] The movie was also known as The Unconquered Territory, The Texian, The Alamo and San Antonio Bexar. Frank Lloyd became attached to direct.[11]

Filming started February 1955.[12]

Max Steiner's theme song for The Last Command, "Jim Bowie," is sung by musical star Gordon MacRae, who that year was starring in the smash hit film Oklahoma!, adapted from the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

Reception[edit]

The Los Angeles Times called it "an exciting, vigorous attraction."[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ METRO ACQUIRES NEW RAINE STORY New York Times 17 Mar 1948: 31.
  2. ^ ROLE IN WAR PATH' TO EDMOND O'BRIEN New York Times 5 Aug 1950: 9.
  3. ^ Thompson, Frank Alamo Movies 1994 Republic of Texas Press
  4. ^ Drama: John Wayne to Direct 'Alamo' in Fall Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 21 Feb 1951: B11.
  5. ^ Actor or Not, Wayne Hits Screen Jackpot: Style All His Own Works Miracles for Strong, Silent Man of Outdoors Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 4 Mar 1951: D1.
  6. ^ COAST'S STARS SUCCUMB TO THE DIRECTING URGE By HELEN GOULD HOLLYWOOD New York Times 15 July 1951: X3.
  7. ^ Drama: Ford, Darnell Hailed for Costarring; Steve McNally 'Courier' Lead Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 27 Sep 1951: A7.
  8. ^ a b Actor Wayne Finally Splits With Republic By Bob Thomas. The Washington Post 17 Nov 1952: 2.
  9. ^ Richard Carlson Gets Lead in Epic of Texas Life Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 14 Jan 1955: a8
  10. ^ NEW 5-YEAR PACT FOR VAN JOHNSON New York Times 4 May 1954: 36.
  11. ^ Drama: Frank Lloyd Readying 'Texian;' Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 15 Apr 1954: A13.
  12. ^ Louella Parrsons: Starlet and Studio Both Get Excited The Washington Post and Times Herald 30 Dec 1954: 35.
  13. ^ Hayden Heads Vigorous Cast in "Last Command" Scott, John L. Los Angeles Times 13 Oct 1955: B15.

External links[edit]