Valerie


1h 24m 1957

Brief Synopsis

A rancher has to prove that he didn't kill his wife's parents.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Western
Release Date
Aug 1957
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Hal R. Makelim Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Chatsworth--Iverson's Ranch, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 24m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Synopsis

John Garth, prominent rancher and Civil War hero, rides with ranchhands Lundy and Jim Mingo to the home of Louis and Lili Horvat, the parents of his estranged wife Valerie, who has resumed living with them. After Garth and Lundy enter the house, gunshots are heard. Later, Garth is arrested for the murder of Louis and Lili and the attempted murder of Valerie, who survived but is too weak to testify in court. Mingo is also charged as an accomplice. Before the trial, at which Garth intends to plead that he shot in self-defense, county attorney Dave Carlin informs Reverend Steven Blake, a confidant of Valerie, that he will be required to testify. In the courtroom, Carlin asks Blake to explain his involvement with Valerie: Blake remembers first meeting the Garths at a church service shortly after he arrived in the town of Limerock. Mingo later delivers a note from Valerie asking Blake for help. The next day, Blake rides his horse and buggy out to the ranch where Garth tells him that Valerie has not been well and is obviously disturbed about something, but Valerie then declines to talk with Blake and he returns to town. When Valerie's parents, European immigrants, visit Blake's church, they inform him that they have not seen their daughter in some time and feel that he is the only one who can help her. Blake returns to the ranch, but when Garth discovers Valerie talking with him, Garth asks the minister to leave. After Blake receives another note from Valerie, begging him to take her away from the ranch, he returns there and finds her unconscious. Blake then places her in his buggy and heads back to town, only to be stopped by Garth, who accuses him, at gunpoint, of absconding with his wife. Blake then knocks the gun out of Garth's hand with a switch and, believing Valerie to be pregnant, takes her to Dr. Jackson's clinic. Jackson is away so Blake drives Valerie to her parents' home. Back in the courtroom, Jonathan Griggs, Garth's attorney, asks Blake to produce Valerie's notes. Garth is then called to the witness stand and relates: After his father's death, he and his brother, Herb, continue to run the family ranch. He courts and marries Valerie and receives a dowry from her parents. Garth tells Valerie that he needs the dowry to repay debts his father had incurred by providing cash to improve the town's facilities. Angered, Valerie locks Garth out of their bedroom. Later, Garth observes Valerie and Herb kissing and Herb decides to leave the ranch. Continuing his testimony, Garth states that Valerie and he met Blake after a church service and that soon Blake was a regular visitor to the ranch. One night, Mingo informs his employer that Valerie has left with Blake. When Garth encounters the couple on the road back to town, he states that he found them kissing and that Blake pointed a shotgun at him although Garth did not draw his gun. In court, Carlin cross-examines Garth and asks what happened the next day. Garth explains that he and Lundy went to the Horvat ranch to take Valerie home, but the moment they entered the house, Valerie's father started shooting at them and they shot back in self-defense. Garth then states that he had not known Valerie was pregnant and shocks the court by saying that he could not be the father, as their marriage was never consummated. At that point, the judge receives word that Valerie is well enough to testify and adjourns the court to Dr. Jackson's clinic. Herb, who has been attending the trial, advises Valerie to tell the truth--all of it. Valerie then relates the events surrounding her marriage: her parents, impressed by Garth's apparent wealth, arrange her marriage to him although they know that she is not in love with him and favors Herb instead. On their wedding night, Garth reveals that Valerie's parents paid him a dowry of fifteen thousand dollars, insults her, forces alcohol on her and then carries her to the bedroom. Later, Garth accuses Herb of desiring Valerie and warns them both that he will kill them if he catches them together. Herb tells Valerie that his brother, an interrogation officer during the war, tortured his prisoners to obtain information and that their father went bankrupt paying for Garth's gambling and drinking debts and not because of the philanthropic gifts Garth claimed his father made. Valerie continues her testimony: When she is pregnant and wants to leave, Garth fears that her parents might sue him for return of the dowry. Garth intends to divorce her on the grounds that she has a lover, beats her and forces her to write a note to Blake. Valerie becomes ill and Garth forces more alcohol upon her and she passes out. The next thing she remembers is waking up in her parents' home. Later, Garth enters the house, gun drawn, ostensibly looking for her "lover," Blake. Valerie's father attempts to reach for his gun and is shot by Garth, but manages to shoot Lundy. Garth then shoots Valerie and her mother. Upon the completion of Valerie's statement, Dr. Jackson reveals several cigar burn marks on Valerie's back, the results of the torture the sadistic Garth inflicted upon her to force her to write the notes to Blake. Suddenly, Mingo grabs two guns and hands one to Garth, who then uses Valerie and Blake as hostages in an escape attempt. Herb draws his gun and kills both his brother and Mingo. Although Herb is shot, he will recover. Blake then carries Valerie back to the clinic.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Western
Release Date
Aug 1957
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Hal R. Makelim Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Chatsworth--Iverson's Ranch, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 24m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Although actor John Dierkes was included in the onscreen cast list, he was not seen in the complete print viewed, nor was the credited song heard. A Hollywood Reporter production chart listed Robert Fellows as co-producer, but his contribution to the completed film has not been determined. A modern source adds Brian O'Hara to the cast and lists Lindsley Parsons, Jr as second assistant director. Location filming took place at Iverson's Ranch in Chatsworth, CA. Actors Anthony Steel and Anita Ekberg were married a few months before production began. Several reviews commented on the structure of the screenplay, developed in the Japanese film Rashomon, whereby an incident is recounted from the perspective of each of the principal participants.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer August 1957

Released in United States Summer August 1957