Tycoon


2h 8m 1947
Tycoon

Brief Synopsis

While building a tunnel through the Andes, an engineer falls in love with his possessive boss's daughter.

Film Details

Also Known As
In the Darkness of the Sun
Genre
Romance
Drama
Adventure
Release Date
Dec 27, 1947
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Lone Pine, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Tycoon by C. E. Scoggins (New York, 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 8m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11,692ft

Synopsis

After a rough week of railroad tunnel construction in the remote Andes Mountains, hard-working American engineer Johnny Munroe heads for Tenango, the nearest city, to unwind. While brash Johnny enjoys himself into the morning hours, his older partner, Pop Mathews, discusses the tunnel's progress with Frederick Alexander, the American tycoon who is bankrolling the railroad, and Ricky Vegas, Alexander's engineer nephew. Later, after he has been criticized by the austere Alexander, a half-drunk Johnny follows a beautiful young woman into a church, where Sunday Mass is being celebrated. Although gently rebuffed at the church, Johnny later pursues the woman to her home, and there learns that she is Maura Alexander, his employer's beloved daughter and Ricky's cousin. Following the strict local customs of courtship, Maura, who is equally taken with Johnny, invites him in for a ten-minute chat. When Alexander sees Johnny innocently touching Maura, he throws the engineer out of his home and chastises Maura for associating with a "drunken lout." Maura rejects her father's opinion of Johnny and warns him that she is no longer a child he can control. The next day, Pop informs Johnny that Alexander has turned down their request to add a concrete lining to the tunnel as a safety precaution, and a furious Johnny rushes to Tenango and accuses Alexander of putting his men in jeopardy. Alexander is unmoved by Johnny's tirade and further inflames the situation by making most of the local timber and dynamite unavailable to him. Alexander then sequesters Maura at his country estate and makes plans to take her to Europe. In defiance of her father, Maura follows the advice of her sympathetic tutor, Miss Ellen Braithwaite, and rides her horse toward Tenango, where Johnny is waiting to meet her. Before she arrives, however, Johnny learns that she has been sent to the country and starts to drive there. Johnny and Maura meet along the road, but while Johnny heads back to town, his jeep runs out of gas. As the day ends, Maura and Johnny try to find their way on foot but become stranded among some Incan ruins. During the night, Alexander and a group of men who have been searching for Maura spot their fire and come upon the couple as they huddle together. Caught in this seemingly compromising situation, Maura and Johnny marry quickly, and Maura moves into Johnny's construction camp home. Johnny is immediately called to the site of a tunnel accident, in which Pop and Ricky are nearly killed. Although Johnny reassures Maura that the tunnel will be finished in three months, Ricky insists that the project will take at least a year. Three months later, the tunnel is still incomplete, and Maura's faith in Johnny begins to crumble. Then, after yet another devastating tunnel collapse, the neglected Maura decides to leave Johnny and return to her father. Devastated by Maura's departure, Johnny becomes obsessed with completing the railroad, but demands that the mountain tunnel be replaced by a river bridge. Alexander reluctantly agrees to Johnny's ambitious plan, in which he promises to finish the bridge with the remainder of the tunnel budget. Johnny's determination to meet his self-imposed deadline soon drives his best crew members to quit and Pop to end their partnership. When confronted by a remorseful Maura, Johnny coldly tells her that he is working only for money now and will continue until he earns enough to "buy" her back from her father. As Alexander had earlier predicted, however, the bridge's future is threatened by the arrival of the rainy season. Before the middle section of the bridge has been inserted, an intense rain storm hits, causing the river water to rise upstream and gather force as it rolls toward the bridge. With the rain waters only hours away, Johnny tries to complete the bridge, but finally gives up when the section becomes stuck and his disgruntled crew quits. Johnny's defeat is soon reversed after Maura and Pop return to camp, and the crew agrees to finish the job. As the wall of water approaches the bridge, Johnny risks his life to drive some train cars onto the still unfinished section to provide ballast. Although the middle section collapses and tumbles into the raging river along with the train, the bridge's foundations remain secure. Later, Alexander admits to a change of heart concerning Johnny and, after giving him and Maura his blessing, leaves for Connecticut with Miss Braithwaite. Maura then insists that Johnny abandon his bridge until they have returned from their long-awaited honeymoon.

Film Details

Also Known As
In the Darkness of the Sun
Genre
Romance
Drama
Adventure
Release Date
Dec 27, 1947
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Lone Pine, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Tycoon by C. E. Scoggins (New York, 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 8m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11,692ft

Articles

Tycoon


In Tycoon (1947), John Wayne plays an engineer hired by Cedric Hardwicke to build a railroad in the Andes. The two clash over the railroad's route, however, with Wayne favoring a bridge and Hardwicke demanding a tunnel through a mountain, which would be shorter but much more dangerous to construct. The friction is only exacerbated when Wayne falls for lovely Laraine Day - Hardwicke's daughter.

There was plenty of friction off-camera as well. Day had recently married Leo "the Lip" Durocher, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers (and soon the New York Giants) and one of the most colorful baseball personalities ever. According to Maurice Zolotow's biography of John Wayne, Shooting Star, Wayne later said that Durocher was the most openly jealous husband he had ever met. "The Lip" hovered on the set each day, making rude comments or glaring at Wayne whenever he and Day were filming romantic scenes. Ultimately, Wayne got so fed up he ordered the set closed, the only time in his career he ever did so.

Day's and Durocher's marriage lasted 13 years. Day took such a huge interest in baseball that she became known as the "First Lady of Baseball." A radio show in which she interviewed baseball players led to a 1951 variety program on ABC television called The Laraine Day Show as well as an evening TV series which revolved around sports figures. In 1953 she and Durocher hosted a sports series called Double Play with Durocher and Day. Meanwhile, her big-screen appearances waned, though she did make an impression in The High and the Mighty (1954). Day was the first to admit her new professional emphasis: "My life is Mrs. Leo Durocher and baseball comes first," she declared. She also said, "Let someone else be the world's greatest actress. I'll be the world's greatest baseball fan." In 1960 Day and Durocher divorced, and Day was re-married to television producer Michael Grilikhes. That marriage has lasted to this day (as of 2006).

Laraine Day's role in Tycoon was originally meant for Maureen O'Hara, who had to be replaced due to a scheduling conflict. It would have marked the first pairing of O'Hara and Wayne. The two finally appeared together in Rio Grande (1950) and would pair up for five pictures in all.

Up and coming actor Anthony Quinn is also featured in Tycoon as Hardwicke's engineer nephew who is almost killed in a tunnel accident in one scene. Quinn, who had already appeared in almost 50 pictures, took four years off from the big screen after Tycoon in order to start his Broadway stage career. His next feature would be The Brave Bulls (1951).

RKO plunked $3.2 million into Tycoon, the most it had ever invested in a single movie. It wound up taking an enormous loss of just over $1 million. Critics, too, were unimpressed. Variety admitted that "Miss Day is beautiful in Technicolor" and noted the "spectacular action in the final reel," but also stressed that "trimming as much as 30 minutes off the picture wouldn't have hurt." In the end Tycoon was an "off" picture for all involved but certainly not a career killer. John Wayne would follow up with three bona fide classics, Fort Apache (1948), Red River (1948) and 3 Godfathers (1948), and writer Borden Chase would go on to the likes of Red River, Winchester '73 (1950) and Bend of the River (1952).

Producer: Stephen Ames
Director: Richard Wallace
Screenplay: Borden Chase, John Twist, C.E. Scoggins (novel)
Cinematography: W. Howard Greene, Harry J. Wild
Film Editing: Frank Doyle
Art Direction: Carroll Clark, Albert S. D'Agostino
Music: Leigh Harline
Cast: John Wayne (Johnny Munroe), Laraine Day (Maura Alexander Munroe), Cedric Hardwicke (Frederick Alexander), Judith Anderson (Miss Braithwaite), James Gleason (Pop Mathews), Anthony Quinn (Ricky Vegas).
C-129m. Closed captioning.

by Jeremy Arnold
Tycoon

Tycoon

In Tycoon (1947), John Wayne plays an engineer hired by Cedric Hardwicke to build a railroad in the Andes. The two clash over the railroad's route, however, with Wayne favoring a bridge and Hardwicke demanding a tunnel through a mountain, which would be shorter but much more dangerous to construct. The friction is only exacerbated when Wayne falls for lovely Laraine Day - Hardwicke's daughter. There was plenty of friction off-camera as well. Day had recently married Leo "the Lip" Durocher, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers (and soon the New York Giants) and one of the most colorful baseball personalities ever. According to Maurice Zolotow's biography of John Wayne, Shooting Star, Wayne later said that Durocher was the most openly jealous husband he had ever met. "The Lip" hovered on the set each day, making rude comments or glaring at Wayne whenever he and Day were filming romantic scenes. Ultimately, Wayne got so fed up he ordered the set closed, the only time in his career he ever did so. Day's and Durocher's marriage lasted 13 years. Day took such a huge interest in baseball that she became known as the "First Lady of Baseball." A radio show in which she interviewed baseball players led to a 1951 variety program on ABC television called The Laraine Day Show as well as an evening TV series which revolved around sports figures. In 1953 she and Durocher hosted a sports series called Double Play with Durocher and Day. Meanwhile, her big-screen appearances waned, though she did make an impression in The High and the Mighty (1954). Day was the first to admit her new professional emphasis: "My life is Mrs. Leo Durocher and baseball comes first," she declared. She also said, "Let someone else be the world's greatest actress. I'll be the world's greatest baseball fan." In 1960 Day and Durocher divorced, and Day was re-married to television producer Michael Grilikhes. That marriage has lasted to this day (as of 2006). Laraine Day's role in Tycoon was originally meant for Maureen O'Hara, who had to be replaced due to a scheduling conflict. It would have marked the first pairing of O'Hara and Wayne. The two finally appeared together in Rio Grande (1950) and would pair up for five pictures in all. Up and coming actor Anthony Quinn is also featured in Tycoon as Hardwicke's engineer nephew who is almost killed in a tunnel accident in one scene. Quinn, who had already appeared in almost 50 pictures, took four years off from the big screen after Tycoon in order to start his Broadway stage career. His next feature would be The Brave Bulls (1951). RKO plunked $3.2 million into Tycoon, the most it had ever invested in a single movie. It wound up taking an enormous loss of just over $1 million. Critics, too, were unimpressed. Variety admitted that "Miss Day is beautiful in Technicolor" and noted the "spectacular action in the final reel," but also stressed that "trimming as much as 30 minutes off the picture wouldn't have hurt." In the end Tycoon was an "off" picture for all involved but certainly not a career killer. John Wayne would follow up with three bona fide classics, Fort Apache (1948), Red River (1948) and 3 Godfathers (1948), and writer Borden Chase would go on to the likes of Red River, Winchester '73 (1950) and Bend of the River (1952). Producer: Stephen Ames Director: Richard Wallace Screenplay: Borden Chase, John Twist, C.E. Scoggins (novel) Cinematography: W. Howard Greene, Harry J. Wild Film Editing: Frank Doyle Art Direction: Carroll Clark, Albert S. D'Agostino Music: Leigh Harline Cast: John Wayne (Johnny Munroe), Laraine Day (Maura Alexander Munroe), Cedric Hardwicke (Frederick Alexander), Judith Anderson (Miss Braithwaite), James Gleason (Pop Mathews), Anthony Quinn (Ricky Vegas). C-129m. Closed captioning. by Jeremy Arnold

Quotes

I've got a railroad to build.
- Johnny Munroe

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was In the Darkness of the Sun. Contemporary news items and production charts add the following information about the production: RKO borrowed John Wayne from Republic Pictures and clothes designer Michael Woulfe from William Cagney's company for the picture. Maureen O'Hara was the film's original female lead, but was replaced by Laraine Day because of a scheduling conflict. Earle S. Dewey is listed as a cast member, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Although RKO announced in Hollywood Reporter that the entire production was to be shot by cameraman George Barnes in RKO's Churubusco Studios near Mexico City, other news items indicate that location shooting was done in Lone Pine and five other points in California's Owens Valley. Barnes was not credited onscreen or in production charts and probably did not participate in the final film. Location filming reportedly broke expenditure records for RKO, with $65,000 being spent for a mock road strip and train tunnel. In addition, a fake mountain was built in Lone Pine, with Mt. Whitney as the backdrop. In mid-April 1947, Day "collapsed" during filming in Lone Pine, forcing director Richard Wallace to shoot around her. Modern sources note that the total production cost was $3,209,000, an RKO record, and the film lost $1,035,000 at the box office.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video May 31, 1989

Released in United States Winter December 27, 1947

Released in United States on Video May 31, 1989

Released in United States Winter December 27, 1947