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The Proud Rebel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Proud Rebel
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Curtiz
Written byJoseph Petracca
Lillie Hayward
Based onJournal of Linnett Moore
1947 story in The Country Gentleman
by James Edward Grant
Produced bySamuel Goldwyn Jr
CinematographyTed D. McCord
Edited byAaron Stell
Music byJerome Moross
Formosa Productions[1]
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution (USA)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (International)
Release date
  • May 28, 1958 (1958-05-28)
Running time
103 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.5 million[4]

The Proud Rebel is a 1958 American Technicolor Western film directed by Michael Curtiz, with a screenplay by Joseph Petracca and Lillie Hayward that was based on a story by James Edward Grant.[1][2] It is the story of a widowed Confederate veteran and his mute son who struggle to make a new life among sometimes hostile neighbors in the Midwest. Despite the implications of the title, the main character in "The Proud Rebel" does not dwell much on his Southern past, but finds his life complicated by sectional prejudice.

The film stars Alan Ladd, Olivia de Havilland, Dean Jagger, David Ladd[1][2] and Cecil Kellaway and features Harry Dean Stanton (credited as Dean Stanton) in an early film appearance.

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  • Western Movie | The Proud Rebel (1958) | Alan Ladd, Olivia de Havilland, Dean Jagger
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  • The Proud Rebel - Full Movie | Alan Ladd, Olivia de Havilland, Dean Jagger, David Ladd
  • The Proud Rebel (1959) Alan Ladd, Dean Jagger, Cecil Kellaway.
  • Le Fier Rebelle (Western Américain) Film complet en français



A former Confederate soldier, John Chandler has come to an Illinois town with his 10-year-old son David to see Dr. Enos Davis. The boy was struck mute after witnessing his mother's death in a fire, and hasn't spoken a word since. Dr. Davis recommends an operation by a doctor he knows in Minnesota.

In the street outside Dr. Davis' office, John has his and David's expertly trained dog, Lance, clear the road of a flock of sheep being herded through town. The sheep belong to rancher Harry Burleigh and his sons, Jeb and Tom; trained dogs are extremely valuable and they try to steal it. John fights them while a passing stranger, Linnett Moore, keeps David safe and out of the way. Harry knocks out John, pours whiskey on him, then tells the sheriff about being attacked by a drunk.

John must pay $30 or serve 30 days in jail. Linnett intervenes, suggesting to the sheriff that Chandler can work off the debt on her farm. In exchange she offers to cover the fine, so that he will be released. John disagrees at first, but is won over by her decency. Over the course of time, he discovers that Linnett is being pressured by the overbearing Burleigh to sell her land. It transpires that her land is blocking the easy passage of his sheep to pasture and the railroad. Gradually, John and Linnett grow closer, despite John being determined to remain aloof, knowing he and his son will leave soon.

A trip to Minnesota for treatment is expensive but John won't accept offers for the valuable dog as David loves the animal. But John decides to sell Lance after all, for a high price, to finance the trip and operation. He asks Linnett to accompany the boy up north while he harvests her crops and rebuilds the barn burned down by the Burleighs' men in an attempt to pressure Linnett to sell.

The operation doesn't work and David's impairment remains. After returning home David is devastated to find their dog Lance is gone. The dog will not herd for his new owner and the Burleighs manage to acquire it to use to pressure John and Linnett. When John goes to their farm to try to buy the dog back, Harry tells John he can have the dog as a gift, but has already told his two sons to help murder him, as an apparent thief, as he leaves their property. David arrives at the farm just when gunshots start and it is clear that the Burleighs didn't intend to let his father leave. Seeing one of the sons preparing to shoot from a new hiding spot, David shouts out a warning to his father. Hearing the warning, John is able to turn and shoot that son first, then he shoots Burleigh, and then the other son puts down his rifle instead of shooting. John walks with David and Lance, while leading his horse, back to Linnett's farm, with David beginning to re-learn how to speak.




The film was based on a 1947 short story by James Edward Grant. Film rights were bought by Sam Goldwyn who gave them to his son in 1950. Goldwyn Jr. said the film would be about his favourite kind of story, "the theme of the undefeated man."[5] He announced the project would be filmed in 1955 based on a script by Joseph Petracca.[6] However it ended up taking him a few years to source financing.

Goldwyn Jr. had budgeted the project at $1.6 million but had trouble securing financing over $1 million. He decided not to compromise and go for the larger budget without having sold it to a distributor. Goldwyn Jr.:

I really had no other choice. To me it was very important that this story be filmed as I thought it should be done or not at all. I suddenly realised that if I couldn't do it the way I saw it, I wouldn't be an independent producer. I was able to borrow $1,200,000 from the Bank of America – my father signed the loan with me – and I put up the rest of the money.[3]

Alan Ladd signed to co-star with his son David under the direction of Michael Curtiz.[7] Goldwyn Jr said "Michael Curtiz has drawn fine performances from both of them. The boy, when I first spoke to him, was stiff and frightened, but when I started talking to him about his father, his face lighted up and I knew he was right for the part."[5]

Adolphe Menjou was meant to play a supporting role[8] but pulled out.

The movie was shot in Cedar City, Utah.[9] Parts of the film were shot in Cedar Mountain, Rush Valley, and Johnson Canyon in Utah.[10] Its external scenes depicting the U.S.Midwest—a flat and well-vegetated landscape, are a bit jarring to compare to Utah's arid, hilly and mountainous backdrop.

Once the movie was completed, Goldwyn Jr. showed it to distributors and succeeded in securing deals with Buena Vista for the U.S. and Loews internationally.[3]

Critical reception

A contemporary review in Variety described the film as a "suspenseful and fast-action post-Civil War yarn" with "characterizations that hold forth most strongly, topped perhaps by the very appealing performance of David Ladd."[11] Critic A.H. Weiler wrote in The New York Times that the film was "a genuinely sentimental but often moving drama" and an "honestly heartwarming drama" that "is more concerned with exposing character than mayhem." While praising the performances, the review also notes that "A viewer might justifiably observe that the tale is spun somewhat unevenly, that it slows down on a few occasions and that the 'happy ending' is telegraphed. But these [...] are minor matters."[12] A review in TV Guide described the film as a "warm-hearted story" with "[b]rilliant performances (especially David Ladd's) and the unusual characterization of de Havilland's hardened, loner widow" and "fine color photography of the Utah landscape."[13]


The Proud Rebel influenced Indian actor Kishore Kumar, to remake it as Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein in 1964, with his real-life son Amit Kumar playing the role of the mute son.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "The Proud Rebel". AFI. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "THE PROUD REBEL(1958)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c THOMAS M. PRYOR HOLLYWOOD. (May 18, 1958). "HOLLYWOOD AIMS: Frank Capra' Set for Return to Films -- Sam Goldwyn c. Plays for Keeps". New York Times. p. X5.
  4. ^ "Top Grossers of 1958". Variety. January 7, 1959. p. 48. Please note figures are for US and Canada only and are domestic rentals accruing to distributors as opposed to theatre gross
  5. ^ a b Richard Dyer MacCann (December 17, 1957). "Young Goldwyn at Work: Hollywood Letter". The Christian Science Monitor. p. 5.
  6. ^ "'THE PROUD REBEL' PLANNED AS FILM: Samuel Goldwyn Jr. Will Do Story of Boy and Father as His Next Production". New York Times. September 9, 1955. p. 19.
  7. ^ Schallert, Edwin (July 6, 1957). "Wayne Options Script of Cowriter Middleton; Curtiz Directs Ladd". Los Angeles Times. p. B3.
  8. ^ Schallert, Edwin (August 13, 1957). "Bright 'Forever' Break Beckoning Sandra Dee; Menjou in 'Proud Rebel'". Los Angeles Times. p. B7.
  9. ^ GRADY JOHNSON (October 13, 1957). "GOLDWYN'S 'REBELS' TAKE TO THE HIGH GROUND: Round-Up From the Past". New York Times. p. 127.
  10. ^ James V. D'Arc (2010). When Hollywood Came to Town: A History of Moviemaking in Utah (1st ed.). Layton: Gibbs Smith. p. 289. ISBN 978-1-4236-0587-4. Wikidata Q123575108.
  11. ^ "The Proud Rebel". Variety. Variety Media LLC. January 1958. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  12. ^ Weiler, A.H. (July 2, 1958). "Moving Sentiment". The New York Times. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  13. ^ "The Proud Rebel Reviews". TV Guide. Retrieved January 10, 2023.

External links

This page was last edited on 28 November 2023, at 20:55
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