Cast & Crew
In 1898, at the Arizona Territorial Prison in Yuma, convict John McBain saves several prisoners, including Peter Van Hoek, from drowning. Peter, also known as "the Dutchman," then prevents an enraged McBain from attacking a sadistic guard and is awarded an early release for this act. As he prepares to leave, Peter again asserts what he has claimed from the beginning: that he was framed for the gold robbery that landed him in prison. McBain, having served a ten-year sentence for the slaughter of Bascom, a man who swindled him out of his gold-rich land, is released on the same day, but while Peter seems outwardly amiable, McBain is consumed by an angry bitterness. After arriving in nearby Prescott, the marshal, the very man who Peter believes framed him, orders the Dutchman to leave town. Peter promises to go the following evening, and as he ascends to his room, he meets the lovely Ada Winton, whose "gentleman friend," the wealthy Cyril Lounsberry, has locked her in her suite. Later, Peter sneaks into an abandoned section of the Lisbon mine, his former property, and chips off a small chunk of gold. Meanwhile, McBain risks his life to defend a Mexican-American woman named Anita when she is attacked by roughnecks on the street. He then helps her to deliver the baby of a woman who, like every Mexican-American in town, is too poor to afford medical care. By the end of the day, McBain and Anita have fallen deeply in love. After flirting with Ada, Peter, meanwhile, visits the current owner of the Lisbon mine, who turns out to be Lounsberry, a Bostonian who acquired the mine by marrying Bascom's sister. Peter explains his proposal: having been cheated and framed by the manager of a mine he prospected, Peter, with the aid of Lounsberry's money and supplies, wants to remove a hidden but very rich deposit of gold from that mine and then sell the gold to Lounsberry. Although worth $200,000, the gold would cost Lounsberry only $100,000. Unaware that the mine in question is the Lisbon, the mine owner agrees to the plan. Sample, Lounsberry's henchman, warns Peter to avoid using Mexicans for the job, but Peter states that he trusts Mexicans. "I've even forgotten the Alamo," he remarks. Because the mine is on land once owned by McBain, Peter hires him to assist with the job and offers to share the money with him. Also hired is Vincente, a skilled "powder monkey," who worked with Peter years before. On the following afternoon, Peter, Vincente and McBain enter the deserted mine shaft and begin setting caps of explosive powder near Peter's secret gold deposit. The explosion, timed to coincide with the daily blasting of the Lisbon, yields several huge bags of ore-rich rock, which the men quickly haul outside. Vincente is injured during a sudden cave-in, and it is only with great difficulty that the three escape to a waiting wagon. They then deliver the gold to Lounsberry, who has ordered the crooked deputy to seize the gold at gunpoint and return the men to prison. The deputy shoots McBain in the shoulder, but the three manage to escape to Anita's shack with the gold. Peter bids farewell to Anita and McBain and rides away, but Lounsberry and his thugs begin shooting at him just as an annual Mexican fiesta gets underway in the center of town. McBain rushes out to help his friend, but Lounsberry's men surround them. Anita quickly rallies the celebrants to their aid, and soon fireworks fill the plaza with smoke and confusion. The thugs are disarmed and captured by the mob, thereby enabling Anita to flee with McBain and Peter. After promising to meet them in Texas for his share of the money, Peter steps aboard the departing stagecoach, where he is greeted by the beautiful Ada.
Robert E. Griffin
Daniel B. Cathcart
Charles K. Hagedon
William A. Horning
Dr. Wesley C. Miller
William H. Webb
The narrative opens at a prison camp in Yuma in 1898, where the authorities have just discharged Peter "Dutchman" Van Hoek (Alan Ladd) and John McBain (Ernest Borgnine) from their respective stretches. The Dutchman wants to recruit the roughneck McBain to aid in a vengeful sting. Their stage lets them off in the town of Prescott, home to a mine owned by Cyril Lounsbery (Kent Smith). The shady Lounsbery has some history with Van Hoek; the Dutchman went to jail after being railroaded on false charges once he asserted his own stake in the mine.
After sneaking into the mine to steal an ore sample, the Dutchman arranges a meeting with Lounsbery, contending that he has discovered a new gold vein and promising his old foe a $100,000 return on a $10,000 investment to finance the dig. Lounsbery agrees, presumably unsuspecting that Van Hoek intends to take his resources to plunder his own mine. As he lays out his scheme, the Dutchman also insinuates himself into the life of Lounsbery's mistress Ada Winton (Claire Kelly). McBain finally buys into the plan, hoping that his cut will finance a retired life alongside Anita (Katy Jurado), the Mexican woman he rescued from a gang of roughnecks.
Instrumental in the planned heist is the Dutchman's old amigo Vincente (Nehemiah Persoff), the "powder monkey" whose expertise with explosives is critical for the scheme to work; Van Hoek's intent is to coordinate their blasts with those set off in the course of the mine's normal operations.
Ladd was at the stage of his career when he was in sore need of a box-office hit, and, unfortunately, The Badlanders didn't provide one. "MGM, aware of another spate of Westerns that would be crowding the TV airwaves in the fall and winter of 1958, did not even try for prestigious bookings for The Badlanders," Beverly Linet wrote in Ladd: The Life, the Legend, the Legacy of Alan Ladd. "Instead the film was given a saturation release in neighborhoods before the TV season officially started. For Alan Ladd it was the greatest comedown in sixteen years." Borgnine, for his part, reaped some personal benefit for his involvement with the project, as it led to his five-year marriage to Jurado.
Producer: Aaron Rosenberg
Director: Delmer Daves
Screenplay: W.R. Burnett (novel), Richard Collins
Cinematography: John F. Seitz
Film Editing: James Baiotto, William Webb
Art Direction: Daniel B. Cathcart, William A. Horning
Music: Joseph Cacciola, Louis De Francesco, Harry Philip Green, Alexander Laszlo
Cast: Alan Ladd (Peter Van Hoek), Ernest Borgnine (John McBain), Katy Jurado (Anita), Claire Kelly (Ada Winton), Kent Smith (Cyril Lounsbery).
C-84m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.
by Jay S. Steinberg
TCM Remembers - Katy Jurado
KATY JURADO, 1924 - 2002
Katy Jurado, an Oscar nominee and major actress in Westerns, died July 5th at the age of 78. She was born in Guadalajara, Mexico on January 16th 1924 as Maria Cristina Estella Marcela Jurado Garcia, daughter of a cattle rancher and an opera singer. Jurado started to appear in Mexican films in 1943. After 15 films in her native country, director Budd Boetticher saw Jurado attending a bullfight (Jurado wrote about the subject for Mexican newspapers) and cast her in his Bullfighter and the Lady (1952), her Hollywood debut. For much of her career Jurado alternated between the two film industries. In the US, she was memorable for the sensual energy she brought to roles in High Noon (1952), One-Eyed Jacks (1961) which was directed by Marlon Brando, Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) and John Huston's Under the Volcano (1984). She was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for Broken Lance (1954). Jurado's Mexican films were in a broader range of genres and included Luis Bunuel's El Bruto (1952), Ismael Rodriguez's We the Poor and Miguel Littin's The Widow Montiel (1979). She won three Ariel Awards (Mexican equivalent to the Oscars) and one special award. She was married to Ernest Borgnine from the end of 1959 to summer 1963. One of her final films was The Hi-Lo Country (1998), a contemporary Western directed by Stephen Frears and co-starring Woody Harrelson, Billy Crudup and Penelope Cruz.
by Lang Thompson
DOLORES GRAY, 1924 - 2002
Broadway and nightclub star Dolores Gray died June 26th at the age of 78. Her movie career was brief but consisted of high-profile MGM musicals which guaranteed her a place in film history. Gray was born in Chicago on June 7th, 1924 (and where, according to a common story, she was accidentally shot by a gangster as a child and had a bullet in her lung her entire life). As a teenager she began singing in California until Rudy Vallee featured her on his radio show. Gray moved to Broadway in 1944 and then to the London stage in 1947, solidifying her reputation as a singer/actress while constantly giving the gossip columnists plenty to write about. She had two small singing roles in Lady for a Night (1941) and Mr. Skeffington (1944) but didn't really light up the big screen until It's Always Fair Weather (1955) even though Gray reportedly didn't much care for the role. Her rendition of "Thanks a Lot, But No Thanks," which has her gunning down a slew of male dancers on-stage and kicking them through trap doors, is a genuine showstopper. Three more unforgettable musical roles quickly followed: Kismet (1955), The Opposite Sex (1956, which Gray turned down Funny Face to do) and Designing Women (1957). That was it for Gray's film career. She kept busy with TV appearances (mostly singing though she did one 1988 episode of the cult show Dr. Who) and a busy recording and nightclub schedule. In 1987, she appeared in a British production of Follies at Stephen Sondheim's request.
by Lang Thompson
ROD STEIGER, 1925 - 2002
From the docks of New York to the rural back roads of Mississippi to the war torn Russian steppes, Rod Steiger reveled in creating some of the most overpowering and difficult men on the screen. He could be a total scoundrel, embodying Machiavelli's idiom that "it's better to be feared than loved" in the movies. But as an actor he refused to be typecast and his wide range included characters who were secretly tormented (The Pawnbroker, 1965) or loners (Run of the Arrow, 1965) or eccentrics (The Loved One, 1965).
Along with Marlon Brando, Steiger helped bring the 'Method School' from the Group Theater and Actors Studio in New York to the screens of Hollywood. The Method technique, taught by Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg, insisted on complete immersion into the character's psyche and resulted in intense, dramatic performances and performers. Steiger made his first significant screen appearance as Brando's older brother in On the Waterfront (1954). Their climatic scene together in a taxicab is one of the great moments in American cinema.
It was a short leap from playing a crooked lawyer in On the Waterfront to playing the shady boxing promoter in The Harder They Fall (1956). Based on the tragic tale of true-life fighter Primo Carnera, The Harder They Fall details the corruption behind the scenes of professional boxing bouts. Steiger is a fight manager named Nick Benko who enlists newspaperman Eddie Willis (Humphrey Bogart in his final screen appearance) to drum up publicity for a fixed prizefight. While the boxing scenes were often brutally realistic, the most powerful dramatic moments took place between Steiger and Bogart on the sidelines.
As mob boss Al Capone (1959), Steiger got to play another man you loved to hate. He vividly depicted the criminal from his swaggering early days to his pathetic demise from syphilis. In Doctor Zhivago (1965), Steiger was the only American in the international cast, playing the hateful and perverse Komarovsky. During the production of Dr. Zhivago, Steiger often found himself at odds with director David Lean. Schooled in the British tradition, Lean valued the integrity of the script and demanded that actors remain faithful to the script. Steiger, on the other hand, relied on improvisation and spontaneity. When kissing the lovely Lara (played by Julie Christie), Steiger jammed his tongue into Christie's mouth to produce the desired reaction - disgust. It worked! While it might not have been Lean's approach, it brought a grittier edge to the prestige production and made Komarovsky is a detestable but truly memorable figure.
Steiger dared audiences to dislike him. As the smalltown southern Sheriff Gillespie in In The Heat of the Night (1967), Steiger embodied all the prejudices and suspicions of a racist. When a black northern lawyer, played by Sidney Poitier, arrives on the crime scene, Gillespie is forced to recognize his fellow man as an equal despite skin color. Here, Steiger's character started as a bigot and developed into a better man. He finally claimed a Best Actor Academy Award for his performance as Sheriff Gillespie.
Steiger was an actor's actor. A chameleon who didn't think twice about diving into challenging roles that others would shy away from. In the Private Screenings interview he did with host Robert Osborne he admitted that Paul Muni was one of his idols because of his total immersion into his roles. Steiger said, "I believe actors are supposed to create different human beings." And Steiger showed us a rich and diverse cross section of them.
by Jeremy Geltzer & Jeff Stafford
TCM Remembers - Katy Jurado
You know, there's not a rich man that doesn't want to be richer.- Peter Van Hoek
How about being an outside partner?- Peter Van Hoek
No, I wouldn't make a partnership with God.- John McBain
Oh, that suite is taken. So is every room in the hotel. And every other hotel in town. You might try the stable across the bridge.- The Marshal
I like horses, Marshal, but not as roommates.- Peter Van Hoek
Unless you want to see your own gravestone on your way to hell, you'll be on the next stage. Now that leaves here tomorrow at sundown. And you're going to like it. It crosses the desert at night. It's cooler then.- The Marshal
It seems like everybody around here is stealing from everybody else.- John McBain
How much would you love me if I wasn't rich?- Cyril Lounsbery
Not as much.- Ada Winton
I didn't think so.- Cyril Lounsbery
How much would you love me if I weren't pretty?- Ada Winton
Well, that's a different cup of tea.- Cyril Lounsbery
No it isn't. A man being rich is exactly like girl being pretty. So there!- Ada Winton
According to information in the MPAA/PCA collection at the AMPAS Library, in November 1957, the PCA rejected the first draft of this film because it portrayed criminals in a sympathetic manner. In February 1958, a revised script was deemed acceptable, on condition that certain changes were made, including the elimination of any suggestion of prostitution. Despite these conditions, the finished film, which included identifiable prostitutes, received a PCA certificate. (The Variety reviewer commented that "Katy Jurado and Claire Kelly...are ladies who are plainly of easy and saleable virtue, and there is none of the usual subterfuge about dance hall girls.")
Although Fred Gerstle is credited in the role of the "hotel clerk" in the studio cast list, the CBCS list, which is dated eight months later than the studio's, credits James McCallion in the part. Gerstle was not in the released film. The studio cast list also indicates that Barbara Baxley and Zina Provendie were cut from the final film. The Badlanders marked Alan Ladd's only appearance in an M-G-M film. According to contemporary information in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, exteriors were filmed on location at the Tennessee Mine in Kingman, AZ, the Elk Hart and Schulhill Mines near Kingman, the Yuma Prison, and a Mexican settlement in Tucson.
W. R. Burnett's novel was first adapted in 1950 as The Asphalt Jungle. John Huston directed Sterling Hayden and Louis Calhern in the M-G-M production. In 1963, Wolf Rilla directed George Sanders in another M-G-M version, titled Cairo (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70). In 1972, Barry Pollack directed a fourth version, M-G-M's Cool Breeze, starring Thalmus Rasulala and Judy Pace. A television series inspired by the book was broadcast on the ABC network during the 1961 season. Jack Warden and Arch Johnson starred in series, also titled The Asphalt Jungle. The Badlanders was the only adaptation of the novel that had a Western setting. Ernest Borgnine and Katy Jurado were married from 1959 to 1964.
Released in United States on Video June 24, 1992
Released in United States Summer July 1958
Film transposed "The Asphalt Jungle" to the western genre.
Released in United States on Video June 24, 1992
Released in United States Summer July 1958