Cast & Crew
Alan Hale Jr.
Early in the eighteenth century, Irish patriot Charles Wogan of Rathecoffey arrives in Scotland to assist Prince James Stuart in his quest to reclaim the throne from George II, the Elector of Hanover and ruler of Great Britain. James soon concedes that his forces are too small and calls a halt to the brief war, returning to exile in France, while Charles vows to remain in Britain to raise support for James. Soon after in a tavern, Charles overhears the Duke of Somerfield make blatantly insulting remarks about King George II. When royal guards attempt to arrest Somerfield for treason, Charles comes to his aid, but the duke is wounded and Charles is arrested and imprisoned. Unknown to Charles, Somerfield is a confidant of the king, specializing in ferreting out traitors loyal to James. Realizing that the outright assassination of James might provoke another expensive war, Somerfield plots for special German agent Ann Brett to masquerade as his wife and gain James's affections by befriending Charles. As part of the plan, Somerfield pretends to be dying from his wound in prison, where Charles is brought to him. Somerfield pleads with Charles to look after his wife and gives him some gold bullion with which to bribe the prison guards and escape. Believing Somerfield dead, Charles breaks out and flees with the "Duchess of Somerfield" to France. At St. Germaine palace, Charles resumes his position as the prince's confidant and protector while Ann is embraced as the widow of a Stuart loyalist. At a dinner for Ann with King Louis' emissary, Count DuLusac, James reveals that he has arranged to marry the Princess of Saxony, Maria Clementina Sobieska. Charles and DuLusac break up an assassination attempt on James, and later, Ann chastises DuLusac, a secret conspirator with Somerfield, for his clumsiness in arranging the attack. When DuLusac observes that Ann seems overly fond of Charles, she insists that she remains committed to her patriotic duty to King George. That night, Charles suggests that DuLusac may have been behind the assassination attempt and, dismayed, James demands proof. Meanwhile, DuLusac tells Ann that he has arranged James's death the following day in a hunting accident. Ann secretly meets with Charles, but only informs him that she is going to Italy and wants him to accompany her, but Charles maintains his loyalty to James. The next day during the hunt, James is lured into a cave alone, but suspicious, Charles follows the prince and saves him from being hurled into a well by DuLusac's accomplices. Determined to prove DuLusac's involvement against James, Charles intercepts a painting the French emissary sends to England. The painting contains a message that Charles easily decodes, and hoping to unmask DuLusac's co-conspirator, Charles adds a request to the note, instructing the recipient to come immediately. Meanwhile, having convinced Ann to delay her trip, Charles escorts her to functions with the prince and at a picnic, proposes to her. Later that day, however, Charles' army compatriots, Patrick Gaydon and James O'Toole, inform Charles that Somerfield is not only alive, but has just arrived in Paris. Stunned, Charles visits Ann, only to find Somerfield already with her. Noting Ann's distress later, Somerfield suggests that her behavior implies that she has switched allegiances. Ann admits that she has come to have sympathy for the kindly James, which forces Somerfield to place her under house arrest. Now convinced that DuLusac has been part of a plot against him, James orders the French emissary back to Paris under escort of Charles. Pressured by Charles, DuLusac reveals that Somerfield and Ann are behind the conspiracy against James, and Charles kills DuLusac in a duel. Meanwhile, unaware that Somerfield is against him, James delights in finding him alive and informs the duke that due to his engagement, he must visit Poland. Somerfield cautions James about placing himself in danger and volunteers to go for him and bring Clementina to France. Pleased, James agrees, unaware that Somerfield plans to use the princess as a hostage against him. By the time Charles returns, the Somerfields have departed. Angered to learn of Somerfield's true loyalty, James allows Charles, Gaydon and O'Toole to go after the couple. Disguised as merchants, the men head to Poland, but in Austria discover that they have missed the Somerfields and the princess. When Charles learns that a foreign royal contingent has gone to the local prison, he deduces that Clementina is being held prisoner. Stealing Austrian military uniforms and a maid's dress, Charles and his men enter the prison as guards. The men capture Somerfield and Ann and, leaving Gaydon to hold the Somerfields, Charles spirits Clementina out disguised as a maid. Gaydon is overpowered and Somerfield, forcing Ann along, pursues Charles. Within sight of the French border, Charles and Clementina's coach loses a wheel and Charles insists that the princess ride alone the short distance across the river to the waiting James while he holds off Somerfield. In the ensuing fight, Ann comes to Charles' aid and shoots Somerfield. With the conspiracy ended, James and Clementina wed, and Charles is knighted and marries Ann. A year later, the princess gives birth to Charles Edward, James's new hope for regaining the throne.
Alan Hale Jr.
Louis D. Merrill
Samuel J. Jacoby
Robert E. Kent
Jesse L. Lasky Jr.
The Iron Glove
The Iron Glove was directed by William Castle, still several years before his signature work as "the King of the Gimmick" with such ballyhooed horrors as The Tingler, House on Haunted Hill (both 1959) and Mr. Sardonicus (1961). Castle had come to Columbia from theatre work in New York but his success as a reliable B-movie director-for-hire won him a three year contract at Universal-International. Although the association was profitable enough for U-I to offer to renew the contract, Castle returned to Columbia. Columbia was at the time undergoing dramatic changes with the advent of television, reducing both the budgets of its B-movies and their overall number per year. Although Castle had brokered himself a better salary and contract, the features to which he was assigned were cheaper and more rushed than they had been in the previous decade. (When Castle was forced to replace an ailing Lee J. Cobb as the star of The Houston Story in 1956, Columbia refused to allow reshoots of Cobb's replacement, Gene Barry, with the result being that both actors appear in the finished film.)
Shot under the working title The Kiss and the Sword, The Iron Glove is a romantic swashbuckler, with Stack's Jacobite adventurer pressed into service to find a Catholic bride for James Stuart (Richard Stapley), son of deposed King James II, and ensure a return of the British crown to the House of Stuart. Sam Katzman had wanted Cornel Wilde to play the patriotic Charles Wogan of Rathecoffey. Wilde's star wattage had dimmed since his milestone performances in Leave Her to Heaven and the Frédéric Chopin biopic A Song to Remember (both 1946); a former member of the US Olympic fencing team, Wilde had just played D'Artagnan, Jr. in RKO's At Sword's Point (1952) but demurred from appearing in this swashbuckler as he set about forming his own Theodora Productions.
Katzman surrounded the reluctant Stack with some familiar faces in supporting roles: Alan Hale, Jr. (a decade from his defining role as The Skipper on the long running sitcom Gilligan's Island) and German actress Ursula Thiess. A discovery of Howard Hughes, Thiess had been enticed to come to America as a successor to Marlene Dietrich and as an exotic leading lady in such films as Monsoon (1952) and Hughes' own The Americano (1955), directed by William Castle on loan out from Columbia. During production of The Iron Glove, Thiess was well on her way to becoming the third wife of actor Robert Taylor. Taylor had been paired with "the most beautiful woman in the world" on a blind date arranged by his agent at the Coconut Grove in 1952; the pair married two years later. Thiess ended her Hollywood career on her own terms in 1956 but helped secure Taylor's participation in William Castle's The Night Walker (1964), even though it meant putting her husband on the big screen with his ex-wife, Barbara Stanwyck.
Producer: Sam Katzman
Director: William Castle
Screenplay: Douglas Heyes, Jesse Lasky, Jr., DeVallon Scott; Samuel J. Jacoby, Robert E. Kent (story)
Cinematography: Henry Freulich
Art Direction: Paul Palmentola
Film Editing: Gene Havlick
Cast: Robert Stack (Charles Wogan), Ursula Thiess (Ann Brett), Richard Stapley (Prince James Stuart), Charles Irwin (Timothy O'Toole), Alan Hale, Jr. (Patrick Gaydon), Leslie Bradley (Duke of Somerfield), Louis Merrill (Count DuLusac), Paul Cavanagh (Cavenly, advisor to Prince James).
by Richard Harland Smith
Straight Shooting by Robert Stack with Mark Evans (Macmillan Publishing, 1980)
Step Right Up! I'm Gonna Scare the Pants off America: Memoirs of a B-Movie Mogul by William Castle (Pharos Books, 1992)
Scare Tactic: The Life and Films of William Castle by John Law (IUniverse, 2000)
Lost in the Fifties: Recovering Phantom Hollywood by Wheeler W. Dixon (SIU Press, 2005)
The Iron Glove
Robert Stack, 1919-2003
Stack was born in Los Angeles on January 13, 1919 to a well-to-do family but his parents divorced when he was a year old. At age three, he moved with his mother to Paris, where she studied singing. They returned to Los Angeles when he was seven, by then French was his native language and was not taught English until he started schooling.
Naturally athletic, Stack was still in high school when he became a national skeet-shooting champion and top-flight polo player. He soon was giving lessons on shooting to such top Hollywood luminaries as Clark Gable and Carol Lombard, and found himself on the polo field with some notable movie moguls like Darryl Zanuck and Walter Wanger.
Stack enrolled in the University of Southern California, where he took some drama courses, and was on the Polo team, but it wasn't long before some influential people in the film industry took notice of his classic good looks, and lithe physique. Soon, his Hollywood connections got him on a film set at Paramount, a screen test, and eventually, his first lead in a picture, opposite Deanna Durbin in First Love (1939). Although he was only 20, Stack's natural delivery and boyish charm made him a natural for the screen.
His range grew with some meatier parts in the next few years, especially noteworthy were his roles as the young Nazi sympathizer in Frank Borzage's chilling The Mortal Storm (1940), with James Stewart, and as the Polish flier who woos a married Carole Lombard in Ernst Lubitsch's To Be or Not to Be (1942).
After serving as a gunnery officer in the Navy during World War II, Stack returned to the screen, and found a few interesting roles over the next ten years: giving Elizabeth Taylor her first screen kiss in Robert Thorp's A Date With Judy (1948); the leading role as an American bullfighter in Budd Boetticher's The Bullfighter and the Lady (1951); and as a pilot in William Wellman's The High and the Mighty (1954), starring John Wayne. However, Stack saved his best dramatic performances for Douglas Sirk in two knockout films: as a self-destructive alcoholic in Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind (1956), for which he received an Academy Award nomination for supporting actor; and sympathetically portraying a fallen World War I pilot ace who is forced to do barnstorming stunts for mere survival in Tarnished Angels (1958).
Despite proving his capabilities as a solid actor in these roles, front rank stardom oddly eluded Stack at this point. That all changed when Stack gave television a try. The result was the enormously popular series, The Untouchables (1959-63). This exciting crime show about the real-life Prohibition-era crime-fighter Eliot Ness and his G-men taking on the Chicago underworld was successful in its day for several reasons: its catchy theme music, florid violence (which caused quite a sensation in its day), taut narration by Walter Winchell, and of course, Stack's trademark staccato delivery and strong presence. It all proved so popular that the series ran for four years, earned an Emmy for Stack in 1960, and made him a household name.
Stack would return to television in the late '60s, with the The Name of the Game (1968-71), and a string of made-for-television movies throughout the '70s. His career perked up again when Steven Spielberg cast him in his big budget comedy 1941 (1979) as General Joe Stillwell. The film surprised many viewers as few realized Stack was willing to spoof his granite-faced stoicism, but it won him over many new fans, and his dead-pan intensity would be used to perfect comic effect the following year as Captain Rex Kramer (who can forget the sight of him beating up Hare Krishnas at the airport?) in David and Jerry Zucker's wonderful spoof of disaster flicks, Airplane! (1980).
Stack's activity would be sporadic throughout the remainder of his career, but he returned to television, as the host of enormously popular Unsolved Mysteries (1987-2002), and played himself in Lawrence Kasden's comedy-drama Mumford (1999). He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Rosemarie Bowe Stack, a former actress, and two children, Elizabeth and Charles, both of Los Angeles.
by Michael T. Toole
Robert Stack, 1919-2003
The working title of this film was The Kiss and the Sword. According to Los Angeles Times and Daily Variety new items, producer Sam Katzman hoped to cast Cornel Wilde in the lead as "Charles Wogan." Irishman Wogan of Rathecoffey, described as a Jacobian spy, served, along with Sgt. Gaydon O'Toole, as bodyguard to James Stuart. Prince James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766), known as The Old Pretender, was the son of King James II, monarch of England and Scotland until he fled England in 1688 under persecution for his Roman Catholic beliefs. Denied his heritage by Parliamentary law, which outlawed Catholic access to the throne, James Francis, exiled in France, nevertheless made two unsuccessful attempts with sympathetic "Jacobites" to invade England through Scotland, but was repelled each time. When King Louis of France resumed relations with England, James was forced to leave France and settled in Rome, where he lived out the remainder of his life. As shown in the film, James Francis married Princess Maria Clementina, and their son, Charles Edward-"Bonnie Prince Charles" (The Young Pretender)-made a last attempt to gain the throne during the unsuccessful 1745 rebellion.
Released in United States Spring March 1954
Released in United States Spring March 1954