Cast & Crew
Betta St. John
In 1857, Joel Shore returns to New Bedford, Massachusetts, after three years at sea, and learns that his brother Mark, captain of the whaling vessel Nathan Ross , was reported missing from his ship months earlier. Ship owner Asa Worthen offers the Nathan Ross to Joel, and although he and Mark were not close, Joel accepts and vows to learn more about his brother's fate. That afternoon, Joel hears a drunken sailor in a pub claim that Mark jumped ship and abandoned his men, and when the sailor's companion confirms the story, Joel strikes him. Later, Joel calls on his captain, Holt, and proposes to Holt's granddaughter Priscilla. Joel and Priscilla marry and immediately depart for the South Seas on the Nathan Ross . One day, Joel questions mate Aaron Burnham about his brother's disappearance, and Aaron replies that Mark had been drinking heavily and fighting a severe fever when he left the ship. After six months at sea, the ship approaches the island of Tubuai. While they are anchored offshore, Joel comes up from below deck and discovers Mark on board. The two brothers establish an uneasy rapport, and that evening, Priscilla overhears Mark tell Joel about the night he left the ship: Drunk and ravaged by fever, Mark dives overboard and swims to shore, lured by the sound of the native drums. After Mark collapses, he is nursed back to health by a beautiful native woman, whom he marries in an island ceremony. One night, Mark awakens to the sound of gunfire, and discovers that his wife has been kidnapped by several white men. Mark swims to the sloop and kills the man who is trying to rape his wife, but then collapses. Mark and his wife remain barricaded in the ship's cabin while the other two men, Quint and Fetcher, bide their time on deck. When Mark recovers his strength, he confronts Quint and Fetcher at gunpoint, and agrees to join them in their next pearling expedition. One day, while examining their haul, Quint comes across a valuable black pearl, and Fetcher murders him for it. Several weeks later, they stop at a small island to pick fruit, and Fetcher murders their two native divers, then tries to kill Mark. Mark chokes Fetcher to death, but as he and his wife are leaving the island, they are attacked by natives. Mark's wife is killed by a native's spear, and Mark accidentally drops the bag containing a fortune in pearls into the lagoon. Back aboard the Nathan Ross , Mark tells Joel he intends to go back for the pearls. Fearing the hostile natives, Joel refuses to join him, and instructs Mark not to mention the pearls to the men. Mark nonetheless tells one of the mates, and word of the sunken treasure soon spreads throughout the crew. Later, Mark tells Joel that he might have married Priscilla himself, and intimates that he can take her away. Mark then plants doubts in Priscilla's mind about Joel's courage. One night, Mark and some of the mates announce that they will go after the pearls, and Mark demands that Joel turn over his guns. Interpreting Joel's lack of resistance as a sign of cowardice, Priscilla is ashamed of her husband, and as Mark comforts her, they kiss. Joel assembles the men and tells them they will not search for the pearls, proposing instead that he and Mark return to Tubuai and fight a duel. Mark then seizes control of the ship and has Joel taken prisoner. Joel escapes and, after ordering Mark to end the mutiny, throws all their firearms overboard. The angry crew attacks and Mark, determined not to have his brother's blood on his hands, is forced to fight on Joel's side. Mark is killed during the brawl. Later, Joel writes in his captain's log that although Mark instigated the mutiny, he later regretted his actions and defended the ship. With their troubles behind them, Joel and Priscilla kiss.
Betta St. John
Pandro S. Berman
A. Arnold Gillespie
Edwin B. Willis
All the Brothers Were Valiant
Williams' story was first filmed in 1923, by Metro Pictures (before it merged into MGM), starring Lon Chaney as Mark and Billie Dove as Priscilla. In 1928, MGM remade it as Across to Singapore, starring Ramon Novarro as the good brother, Ernest Torrence as the bad one, and Joan Crawford as the girl. In 1953, MGM revived the story again as a vehicle for two of its popular male stars, Taylor and Granger. The studio spared no expense, and gave it a handsome Technicolor production that earned cinematographer George Folsey an Oscar® nomination.
British actor Stewart Granger had been signed by MGM in 1950, and immediately scored a hit with King Solomon's Mines (1950). He was quickly cast in dashing or swashbuckling roles in films such as Scaramouche (1952) and The Prisoner of Zenda (1952), and by 1953 he was one of the studio's top stars. Producer Sam Zimbalist wanted to make a sequel to King Solomon's Mines with Granger, but in his autobiography, Granger claimed he talked Zimbalist into a remake of Red Dust (1932) instead, to be called Mogambo and set in Africa instead of Indochina. According to Granger, the script was written and production was about to start, when Clark Gable, whose last two films had been flops, decided he wanted to reprise the role he'd played in Red Dust, one of his biggest hits. Gable was given the role in Mogambo (1953), and Granger's consolation prize was All the Brothers Were Valiant, which he called a "crappy melodrama."
Granger did relish the opportunity to play an antihero, however, and he was fond of his co-star. "Bob Taylor was the easiest person to work with but he had been entirely emasculated by the MGM brass who insisted that he was only a pretty face. He was convinced he wasn't really a good actor and his calm acceptance of this stigma infuriated me," Granger wrote in his autobiography. "He was such a nice guy, Bob, but he had even more hang-ups than I had." For his part, Taylor reportedly did not like Granger, and found him stuffy. But if there was antipathy between the two men, it did not show onscreen, or if it did, it worked to show the rivalry between the two brothers.
All the Brothers Were Valiant was the final screen appearance of a longtime MGM stalwart, Lewis Stone, who had been with the studio from its beginning, in 1924. He was one of the first actors to sign with the new studio, and was best known for playing the wise Judge Hardy in the Andy Hardy series. By the early 1950s Stone was working only twelve weeks a year, but MGM head Louis B. Mayer insisted that he be paid for the full forty weeks of the year that was the standard contract. Shortly after he finished playing Ann Blyth's father in All the Brothers Were Valiant, Stone ran out of his home to chase three teenagers who were vandalizing his front lawn. He collapsed in the street and died of a heart attack. He was 73 years old.
Reviews for All the Brothers Were Valiant were lukewarm at best. "There is plenty of high-seas adventure, dished up in Technicolor on a wide screen....But reluctantly, we must inform you that it is brashly artificial at best," grumbled Bosley Crowther in the New York Times. "What it all boils down to, in essence, is a lot of pseudo-salty South Seas whoop-de-do." The Time Magazine critic agreed: "Since this movie has been made so often, it is curious that Hollywood cannot at least make it well....Actor Granger, admirably suited to British drawing-room movies, is badly miscast." But audiences ignored the critics, and thoroughly enjoyed the South Seas whoop-de-do - All the Brothers Were Valiant was a big success at the box office.
Director: Richard Thorpe
Producer: Pandro S. Berman
Screenplay: Harry Brown, based on the novel by Ben Ames Williams
Cinematography: George Folsey
Editor: Ferris Webster
Costume Design: Walter Plunkett
Art Direction: Randall Duell, Cedric Gibbons
Music: Miklos Rozsa
Principal Cast: Robert Taylor (Joel Shore), Stewart Granger (Mark Shore), Ann Blyth (Priscilla Holt), Betta St. John (Native Girl), Keenan Wynn (Silva), James Whitmore (Fetcher), Kurt Kasznar (Quint), Lewis Stone (Capt. Holt).
C-96m. Closed Captioning.
by Margarita Landazuri
All the Brothers Were Valiant
According to pre-production news items, Elizabeth Taylor was originally cast in the role of "Priscilla Holt," but was replaced by Ann Blyth after the film had been in production approximately one month. Modern sources reveal that Taylor, who had recently given birth to her first child, was removed from the film because she had not lost enough of her pregnancy weight. Hollywood Reporter news items report that Tomas Ortega tested for a role, and include Hubie Kerns, Fred Zendar, Regis Parton and Clint Dorrington in the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The same item included Steve Forrest and William Campbell in the cast, but they did not appear in the released film. Portions of the picture were shot on location in the Jamaican villages of Oracabessa and Ocho Rios. All the Brothers Were Valiant received an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography (Color).
This film marked the final screen appearance of actor Lewis Stone, who died September 12, 1953. M-G-M made two earlier film versions of Ben Ames Williams' novel about the seafaring Shore brothers. The 1923 version, All the Brothers Were Valiant, was directed by Irvin V. Willat and starred Malcolm McGregor, Billie Dove and Lon Chaney. The 1928 film Across to Singapore was directed by William Nigh and starred Ramon Novarro, Joan Crawford and Ernest Torrence (please see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30).
Released in United States Fall October 1953
Made previously as a silent in 1923 and as "Across to Singapore" (1928) starring Joan Crawford, Ramon Navarro, and Ernest Torrence.
Released in United States Fall October 1953