Cast & Crew
Edward G. Robinson
Late in the 19th century a disillusioned preacher, a grizzled prospector, and a cynical con man meet by chance at a southwestern railway station. The first two relate events in the recent trial of Juan Carrasco, the territory's most notorious outlaw, who has been sentenced to death for murdering a southern gentleman and raping his wife. The trial was confusing because three witnesses each told conflicting versions of what had occurred: Carrasco claimed that he bound the husband, forced him to watch the rape, and then killed the husband in a duel; the wife claimed that after Carrasco raped her and fled, she killed her husband in a fit of rage when he accused her of having encouraged the bandit; and an old Indian testified that the husband killed himself because of the humiliation he had suffered. After this last account a cry is heard, and the three men discover an abandoned baby. The con man attempts to steal some gold that has been left for the child, and an ensuing argument reveals that the prospector was also involved in the incident: he had witnessed the crime but did not testify because he had stolen the jeweled dagger from the dying man's chest. The prospector claims that the bandit showed remorse after the rape and begged his victim to come away with him, but fancying herself as a prize to be won, she shamed the two unwilling men into a fight over her, and her husband accidentally fell on the dagger. When the prospector offers to raise the child, even though he has five others at home, the preacher's faith in humanity is somewhat restored, and he is able to return to his congregation and the Lord's work.
Edward G. Robinson
Howard Da Silva
Robert R. Benton
George W. Davis
Robert R. Hoag
James Wong Howe
J. Mcmillan Johnson
A. Ronald Lubin
Daniel J. Mccauley
The Outrage (1964) is a remake of an early film by the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon (1950), which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Motion Picture. Writers Michael and Fay Kanin (he was the brother of writer-director Garson Kanin) adapted the story into a stage play, keeping the title and the medieval samurai setting. During its theatrical run in 1959, Rod Steiger played the accused killer-rapist and his then wife Claire Bloom played the wronged woman. Adapting it for the screen, Michael Kanin and director Martin Ritt shifted the setting to the Old West and changed the samurai character into a south-of-the-border outlaw, handing the role to top box office star Paul Newman, and casting as the husband Laurence Harvey, a British actor also enjoying considerable success after acclaimed work in such films as Room at the Top (1959), Butterfield 8 (1960) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Bloom, who had effectively divided her time between stage and screen after a tremendous career boost, courtesy of Charles Chaplin, in Limelight (1952), was retained from the stage cast.
For good measure, producers also secured the talents of veteran star Edward G. Robinson and up-and-coming actor William Shatner, who later achieved television stardom as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek series. Despite such high-octane names attached to the project, the film was not compared favorably to the original and was almost universally panned by critics.
Oddly enough, The Outrage remains one of Newman's favorite films. He certainly put a lot into the role, seeing it as an opportunity to expand his range beyond the contemporary urban American types for which he was known. The actor traveled to Mexico and spent considerable time among the local people in order to research the role and to learn the accent. Most reviewers found his acting to be overdone and his dialect so thick that (in the words of the New York Times critic, "He sounds like a parody of the Mexican villains in old movies." Despite the critical drubbing, however, Newman continued to defend it as one of his best performances, probably because of his attraction to the bravura nature of the role, which had him replaying the rape-murder scene from different points of view.
It's also quite likely the star's high regard for The Outrage is due to its being another in a string of challenging and mostly successful collaborations with Martin Ritt. A former stage and screen actor who after World War II began directing for the stage and then television, Ritt's small-screen career had been cut short by the Hollywood blacklist (a theme he returned to later in The Front, 1976). Barred from directing for several years, Ritt made his living teaching at the famed Actors Studio, where his students included Newman, Steiger and Newman's later wife Joanne Woodward. His direction of Arthur Miller's acclaimed stage play, A View from the Bridge, in 1956 grabbed the attention of Hollywood, and he made his feature debut with the gritty waterfront drama Edge of the City (1957), starring John Cassavetes and Sidney Poitier. Famous for inspiring outstanding performances from ensemble casts in often controversial, socially relevant dramas, Ritt is not usually associated with the Western. He did, however, make a few successful forays into the genre, notably in Hombre (1967) and the modern-day western Hud (1963), which earned him an Oscar® nomination as Best Director.
These last two films starred Paul Newman, one of six pictures he and Ritt made together, including The Long, Hot Summer (1958) and Paris Blues (1961). Ritt also worked frequently with cinematographer James Wong Howe, including all three of the above-noted westerns and on The Molly Maguires (1970).
Howe recalled the making of The Outrage in Hollywood Cameramen: Sources of Light by Charles Higham: "..The opening scene on the railroad station should have been on location. The studio had a backing done that was very artificial, very bad. I did a bad job too; I'm ashamed of it, but I just couldn't figure out what to do with that badly painted backing. The moment I put the light on it you could see what it was. Rain is the hardest thing in the world to light. It doesn't show up unless you backlight it. The camera moved 360 degrees at one stage; and that made it very hard to backlight. Sometimes I could only light half the rain, and it would blur away at the bottom of the frame. It was very uneven visually. And the results were no good. We should have used a dust-storm and done it on location."
One other notable curiosity about The Outrage: it was the first appearance of the beard that Edward G. Robinson wore for most of the rest of his life. "I grew it for the part," he later told writer Leonard Spigelglass, "but I decided to keep it because it was a new man up there with the old Little Caesar peeping through. A beard would enable me to be rid of him forever." Robinson was referring, of course, to one of his earliest roles - the gangster drama Little Caesar (1931) that catapulted him to stardom. Although he took on a wide range of roles over his many years in films, the pint-sized villain with the grating voice had shadowed the gentle, refined Robinson (who was also a notable painter) throughout his career, and with the beard he took on for The Outrage, he was obviously glad to be rid of him.
Director: Martin Ritt
Producer: A. Ronald Lubin
Screenplay: Michael Kanin, based on stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, the Akira Kurosawa film Rashomon and the play of the same name by Michael and Fay Kanin
Cinematography: James Wong Howe
Editing: Frank Santillo
Art Direction: George W. Davis, Tambi Larsen
Original Music: Alex North
Cast: Paul Newman (Juan Carrasco), Laurence Harvey (Husband), Claire Bloom (Wife), Edward G. Robinson (Con Man), William Shatner (Preacher), Howard Da Silva (Prospector).
BW-96m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.
by Rob Nixon
'Claire Bloom' previously played her role in the U.S. stage version of "Rashomon".
The working title of this film is Judgment in the Sun.
Restoration of Rashomon by The Academy Film Archive, The National Film Center of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and Kadokawa Pictures, Inc. with funding provided by Kadokawa Culture Promotion Foundation and The Film Foundation.
Winner of the Golden Lion Award at the 1951 Venice Film Festival.
Released in United States 1964
Shown in New York City (Cinema Village as part of Janus Films 40th Anniversary Film Festival December 13, 1996 - January 2, 1997.
Formerly distributed by Nelson Entertainment and Orion Home Video.
This film is a remake of Akira Kurosawa's "Rashomon."
Later titles produced by Masaichi Nagata.
Re-released in Paris May 16, 1990.
Released in United States 1964