Run for the Sun
Cast & Crew
Peter Van Eyck
Katy Connors, a reporter for Sight magazine, travels to a remote fishing village in Mexico in search of the Hemingwayesque novelist and adventurer Mike Latimer, who has abandoned writing and chosen to disappear. Katy discovers that Mike is living in the small hotel she is staying at and tells him that she is waiting for friends to arrive on a yacht. Mike invites her to go marlin fishing with him and, over several days, they enjoy each other's company, although Katy does not reveal the true reason for her presence there. Katy realizes that she may be falling in love with Mike and, when her editor phones from New York, tells him that she may not be the best person to write about Mike. One night, Mike explains that he fell apart after his wife had an affair with his best friend while they were all on safari in Africa and that he has been unable to write since then. Confused by her emotions, Katy decides to leave, but Mike refuses to let her journey to Acapulco in the village's dangerous, old taxi and offers to fly her directly to Mexico City in his own small plane. During the flight, however, a magnetized notebook in Katy's purse affects the compass readings and when Mike descends through the clouds expecting to see Mexico City below, they instead find themselves over a jungle. The plane runs out of fuel forcing Mike to crash-land near a clearing. Mike is knocked out by the impact and, when he wakes up, discovers he is in the main house of a vast, ancient hacienda. Katy introduces him to the current residents, an Englishman named Browne and Dutch archaeologist Van Anders, who welcome him. Although Mike feels that he has met Browne before, he cannot remember where. Anders asks about the single rifle bullet Mike always carries with him and Mike explains that it is a souvenir of the time he covered the Normandy landings as a reporter. Mike and Katy are surprised to learn that Anders keeps a pack of savage dogs on the property to control the local Indians working on his dig. As there is no method of communicating with the outside world, Mike hopes to be able to repair his plane, but it has disappeared. Later, they all hear a commercial radio broadcast announcing that Mike's flight is missing and that a reporter from Sight magazine was accompanying him. As Katy had not revealed her true occupation to him, Mike becomes very angry with her for invading his private life, although she declares that she had decided not to complete her assignment. That night, when all are asleep, Mike prowls around the large house and finds a storage area filled with hunting rifles. When Mike attempts to go outside the dogs start barking, wakening Browne and Anders, and Mike overhears them talking in German. The next morning, Mike tells Katy that they should work together to try to escape as he feels that Browne and Anders are not what they appear to be. During a walk, Mike and Katy discover that Browne and Anders have a small plane nearby, of which they had made no mention. Later, while listening to Browne speaking, Mike suddenly realizes that he had heard him before when he was in Britain during World War II and Browne, an infamous traitor, was broadcasting Nazi propaganda from Berlin to Britain. When Mike accuses Browne of being a Nazi, the Englishman admits who he is and adds that he was once married to Anders' sister. Mike tries to bargain for Katy's release but to no avail. That night, after Mike establishes that Anders is also a fugitive Nazi war criminal, Katy and he try to take over the plane, but are shot at by guard Jan, forcing them into the jungle. Alerted by the shots, Browne, Anders and the dogs join Jan in chasing after the couple. A friendly Indian gives Mike a machete, which he uses to hack their way through the jungle. After a long, exhausting chase, during which Jan is killed in a trap set by Mike, Katy and Mike double back toward the plane. Meanwhile, in his pocket, Mike has found an unread slip of paper on which Katy wrote her address at Sight magazine during the plane ride, and realizes that she had tried to tell him about herself. Mike and Katy reach the hacienda and barricade themselves in the chapel. After Browne and Anders discover them there, Anders leaves to bring some Indians to help break down the heavy door. Once Anders has gone, Browne calls to Mike through the door offering to kill Anders if Mike will help him escape to South America. In reply, Mike stuffs his lucky bullet into a small hole in the door and detonates it by hitting it with a rock. The bullet then enters Browne's stomach, killing him. As Mike and Katy run to the plane, Anders returns but is killed when he is hit by the plane as it takes off, carrying Mike and Katy back to civilization.
Peter Van Eyck
José Antonio Carbajal
José Chavez Trowe
Guillermo Bravo Sosa
Enedina Díaz De León
James H. Garlock
Joseph La Shelle
Harry A. Maret Jr.
Alfred C. Ybarra
Run For the Sun
It was inevitable that Connell's story would be adapted to the screen and in 1932 Joel McCrea, Leslie Banks and Fay Wray starred in a version for RKO produced by Merian C. Cooper and co-directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack and Irving Pichel on some of the same sets as Cooper and Schoedsack's King Kong (1933). Though it is still widely regarded as the best and most faithful version of Connell's story, that didn't stop filmmakers from remaking it or stealing plot elements from it over the past century. One of the most curious versions of "The Most Dangerous Game," which was shot in black and white and budgeted as a B-film, is Run for the Sun (1956) which, unlike the RKO original, was filmed in color, featured an A-list cast including Richard Widmark, Jane Greer, Trevor Howard and Peter van Eyck, and was directed by Roy Boulting, who with his twin brother John, enjoyed international acclaim for their collaborations on such award-winning British films as Thunder Rock , Seven Days to Noon , and The Magic Box .
In what was once a terse and economic narrative, Run for the Sun embellishes Connell's original story with a romantic subplot, protracted back-stories on the main characters and even allows for the inclusion of two songs, "Taco" and "Triste Ranchero", as background music in two scenes. Count Zaroff is now the mysterious Mr. Browne (Trevor Howard), a traitor to his native England during World War II, who is living in seclusion with his brother-in-law, Van Anders (Peter van Eyck), a wanted Nazi war criminal. Rainsford, the story's original hero, is now Mike Latimer (Richard Widmark), a Hemingwayesque writer suffering from writers' block and a failed marriage. Jane Greer plays Katy Connors, a Confidential magazine-like reporter, who pretends to be an adventurous tourist while she secretly prepares a tabloid expose on the reclusive and once-famous writer. Like the Fay Wray character in the 1932 film version, Katy didn't exist in the original Connell story; in fact, there were no female characters.
With high production values and so much talent in front of and behind the camera, Run for the Sun had the potential to be a first-rate adventure thriller but the film, though it does manage to generate some tension and suspense during the climactic hunt sequences, is a disappointing attempt to capture the excitement of the original. Part of the blame can be put on the extraneous romantic subplot (Widmark and Greer lack the necessary screen chemistry together to pull this off) but director Roy Boulting also seems to sabotage his own pacing with unnecessary exposition scenes involving the secret identities of Browne and Van Anders. The most interesting aspects of Run for the Sun have little to do with the finished film and revolve around the pre- and post-production details.
Filmed on location in Mexico, Run for the Sun marked a return to the screen for Jane Greer who had retired from movies in 1953 to have children and be a housewife. It was Roy Boulting's first American picture and an opportunity for a breakout commercial success on his own without his brother's involvement. For Trevor Howard, who was experiencing a mid-career slump after enjoying such early acclaim for his performances in Brief Encounter  and The Third Man , it was the chance to distinguish himself in a memorable part (even though he was not the first choice for the role - it was Leo Genn).
Greer was surprised when she arrived on the set and realized that only she and Richard Widmark had dressing rooms but not Trevor Howard. Appalled at the lack of respect being shown an actor of Howard's reputation, she convinced producer Harry Tatelman to give Howard his own dressing room which led to a lifelong friendship between Greer and Howard. Greer's stand-in, Marge Guterman, also became close friends with Howard during production which led to rumors of an affair between them. It wasn't true and the gossip ended after Marge meet Howard's wife Helen and was warmly welcomed into their inner social circle.
The real problems that developed during the filming of Run for the Sun had little to do with actors' egos and everything to do with the difficult location and the action sequences. In the latter half of the movie, "...Greer and Widmark - running, jumping, climbing - make like foxes fleeing bloodhounds. Jane threw herself into the fray, eager to prove she hadn't gone soft. Dragged through the rapids by Widmark, she smashed her tailbone on a rock beneath the surface. Skin broke, and a bad bruise rose, but Jane soldiered on, next day wading through take after take in fetid swamp water. Four days later her back was horribly swollen. She was flown to Mexico City, where doctors debated over diagnoses while a five-headed growth erupted on her spine." (from Dark City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir by Eddie Muller).
Greer temporarily recovered from her illness in time to make her next feature opposite James Cagney, Man of a Thousand Faces (1957), but her medical condition soon proved to be more insidious and life-threatening to the actress than originally diagnosed. "Jane's Run for the Sun swamp scene, it turned out, had indeed exposed her to a rare virus known as Coxsaci B - only recently isolated and identified. The virus had lain dormant for five years, slowly, insidiously marshaling its attack. Coxsaci's singular purpose is to erode the pericardium, the heart's protective membrane."
Greer was soon sent to Houston where Dr. Michael DeBakey, a renowned heart transplant pioneer, monitored her condition over a three-month period prior to the necessary surgery. "Her chest was laid open, a sternum saw cutting through the breastbone. DeBakey delicately endeavored, over four hours, to remove all remnants of the infected membrane without stopping her heart." Fortunately, the operation was completely successful and Greer recovered though she wouldn't make another film until 1964 (Where Love Has Gone). Greer, of course, was lucky to be alive but her career never recovered from the hiatus caused by Run for the Sun. To almost die for your art is one thing but to almost die from appearing in a mediocre film is enough to give any actor pause about a career in the movies.
Producer: Harry Tatelman, Robert Waterfield, Jane Russell
Director: Roy Boulting
Screenplay: Roy Boulting, Dudley Nichols, Richard Connell (story)
Cinematography: Joseph LaShelle
Film Editing: Frederic Knudtson
Art Direction: Alfred Ybarra
Music: Frederick Steiner
Cast: Richard Widmark (Michael Latimer), Trevor Howard (Browne), Jane Greer (Katherine Connors), Peter van Eyck (Dr. Van Anders), Juan Garcia (Fernandez), Jose Antonio Carbajal (Paco).
by Jeff Stafford
Run For the Sun
Was she very pretty?- Katie
Your wife.- Katie
I don't know Katie, I forgot.- Latimore
Run for the Sun was one of four films produced for United Artists release by a company owned by actress Jane Russell and her then-husband, Robert Waterfield. Pre-production Hollywood Reporter news items of March and June 1955 reported that the screenplay was being written by Robert Wilder, but he is not credited on the released film.
According to publicity materials, the jungle sequences were shot about fifty miles from Acapulco, Mexico. The location used for "Browne" and "Van Anders'" base was a vast, ruined, 16th century hacienda and sugar plantation/refinery built by Hernán Cortes at Atlacomulco, southeast of Cuernavaca. In the 1980s the principal house and several other buildings were restored and turned into a hotel. For Run for the Sun, the interior and patio of the house, as well as the interior of the small hotel where "Katy Connors" and "Mike Latimer" meet, were built at Estudios Churubusco in Mexico City. The house interior was reputed to be the largest set yet built in a Mexican studio.
Richard Edward Connell's short story served as the basis for several films including, most notably, the 1932 RKO Radio Pictures production The Most Dangerous Game, directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack and Irving Pichel and starring Joel McCrea and Fay Wray (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ) and the 1945 RKO film A Game of Death, directed by Robert Wise and starring John Loder and Audrey Long (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50).
Released in United States Summer August 1956
Released in United States Summer August 1956