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The Black Rose

The Black Rose(1950)

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According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department and the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, the studio bought the rights to Thomas B. Costain's novel in October 1945 for $87,500. Writer Richard Tregaskis submitted a draft of the screenplay in April 1946. Credited screenwriter Talbot Jennings was then given the assignment, and the extent of Tregaskis' contribution to the released film has not been determined.
       A June 1947 New York Times news item reported that production of The Black Rose, which was scheduled to start the following month, had been canceled. Producer Louis D. Lighton revealed that production costs had increased 33 percent in little more than a year, while box office returns had slightly decreased. The minimum estimate for production of The Black Rose was $3,200,000, with the possibility that the cost might be greater. At that time, the studio's investment in the film stood at $200,000. It had been decided to delay the project until costs and prospective revenues were in better synchronization. In March 1949, a Daily Variety news item reported that The Black Rose would start filming in Morocco on April 18, 1949, with a budget of $3,000,000, which was one of the studio's highest budgets in recent years. The budget included use of studio funds frozen in post-war Europe.
       The production was based in Casablanca but filmed at locations throughout Morocco, including Meknes, Ouarzazate and Marrakesh. The 110 member crew was almost entirely British and all the technical equipment, construction materials, costumes and props were shipped by air and sea from England. Upon completion of the Moroccan sequences, the company returned to England to film at Warwick and Allington castles and at Shepperton Film Studios. A scene featuring "Walter" (Tyrone Power) and the "Empress of China" (Madame Phang), is in the film's post-production cutting continuity but was removed just prior to, or subsequent to, the film's release, and Madame Phang does not appear in the finished picture. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design (Color). In a modern interview, actress Leslie Caron stated that she was originally offered the role played by Cecile Aubrey, which would have been her first film role, but turned it down because her mother did not approve of the script.