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Wild Is the Wind

Wild Is the Wind(1958)

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The working titles of this film were Furia, The Obsessed, Obsession and A Woman Obsessed. According to a February 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item, producer Raymond Strauss purchased the rights to remake the 1946 film Furia, based on an original story by Vittorio Nino Novarese. Strauss intended to star Ann Sheridan in the project, but it was never made. According to a October 30, 1957 Daily Variety news story, producer Hal Wallis signed Anna Magnani to star in a film on her condition that it would be a remake of Furia, which starred Isa Pola and Rossano Brazzi, and was directed by Magnani's then-husband, Goffredo Alessandrini. Wallis showed the film to a number of screenwriters, including Arnold Schulman, who wrote the final screenplay, but none of the resulting scripts were acceptable to Wallis. According to a May 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item, Eugene Frenke, who owned a screenplay by Philip Yordan based on Furia, signed a deal with Wallis to produce the film starring Magnani. It is not known if Frenke was involved with the final film, however.
       Schulman, in the October 1957 Daily Variety news story, stated that he later presented an original idea to Wallis, which bore no similarity to Furia in "line of dialogue, incident or character," and that the original idea became the basis for Wild Is the Wind. Although Schulman's subsequent contract stated that he would adapt Furia, Wallis, in January 1957, publicly stated that Magnani would not appear in Furia, and that Schulman's work was an original screenplay. Following production, Wallis submitted credits for the film to Paramount, the distributor, listing Schulman with original screenplay; however, Paramount's legal department, recalling Wallis' original contract with Magnani, required that one of the writers of Furia be given credit to protect themselves.
       Wallis then encouraged Schulman to ask the Screen Writers Guild (SWG) to arbitrate. Information in the film's file at the AMPAS Library states that the SWG decided that because there had been source material, a credit reading "Based on a story by Vittorio Nino Novarese" should be given to the Italian writer of the original story, and that Schulman should be credited with screen story and screenplay. The AMPAS Library information also states that Novarese's name was dropped from the advertising. A summary of the Italian film reveals that the plot of the earlier film does bear some resemblance to that of Wild Is the Wind, in that the Italian film deals with an extra-marital affair between the wife of a horse breeder and her husband's groom.
       John Sturges was originally hired to direct Wild Is the Wind; however, on March 25, 1957, a week before shooting was scheduled to begin, he withdrew from the project due to illness, according to contemporary news items. George Cukor, who took over direction, stated in a modern interview that Sturges left the project to replace Fred Zinnemann on The Old Man and the Sea. A biography on Cukor states that Sturges left when it became apparent that the film would be more of a love story than an action picture. According to contemporary sources, most of the exteriors were shot on a sheep ranch in Gardnerville and Carson City, NV, and some shooting was done at the Reno airport in Nevada. The film's Los Angeles premiere was a charity benefit for City of Hope.
       Daily Variety reported in January 1958 that Paramount protested the "adults only" ruling of the Chicago censor, which ordered the designation because of the scenes showing the birth of a lamb, and of "Gioia" walking into "Bene's" bedroom. According to a February 1958 item in Hollywood Reporter's "Rambling Reporter" column, Wallis cut the bedroom scene so that the Chicago censor would withdraw the ruling, and on March 20, 1958, Hollywood Reporter noted that the adults only restriction had been lifted.
       In his autobiography, Wallis stated that Bill Gray was the production manager. Wild Is the Wind marked the feature film debut of European stage actress Lili Valenty (1900-1987). The popular title song, sung by Johnny Mathis, was nominated for an Academy Award. According to February and March 1958 Hollywood Reporter news items, Mathis was to sing the song during the Oscar ceremony, and it was to be the first time that all of the singers who "made the songs Oscar contenders [would] actually perform them on the show." According to AMPAS records, however, not all of the singers who performed the nominated songs for the films appeared during the ceremony. Magnani and Anthony Quinn received Academy Award nominations for their performances. Magnani also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama, and the film received a nomination for Best Hollywood-produced Picture-Drama.