Foxfire


1h 31m 1955
Foxfire

Brief Synopsis

Amanda Dartland accompanies her half-Apache husband Jonathan to a mining community where he will supervise the excavation of an almost mythical Apache treasure. His jealous rages and macho attitude cause her much misery, while the excavation project is threatened by prejudice and fear. Amanda tries to bridge the cultural gap, and Jonathan must do the same, or he will lose her. Mesmerizing brief performance by Celia Lovsky as Princess Saba.

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Film Details

Release Date
Jul 1955
Premiere Information
New York opening: 13 Jul 1955; Los Angeles opening: 29 Jul 1955
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Kingman, Arizona, United States; Oatman, Arizona, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Foxfire by Anya Seton (Boston, 1951).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.00 : 1

Synopsis

The beautiful and wealthy Amanda Lawrence gratefully accepts a ride from mining engineer Jonathan "Dart" Dartland and his alcoholic friend, Dr. Hugh Slater, when the car she has borrowed from the La Paz Guest Ranch breaks down in the Arizona desert. Although Hugh flirts with her, it is the handsome and reserved engineer who attracts her, and before saying goodbye, she invites the two to a dinner party in her mother's suite that evening. Dart arrives late, explaining as he walks with Amanda that he dislikes parties, people and mothers, particularly wealthy Eastern mothers with spoiled and beautiful daughters. Undaunted, Amanda kisses him and the two soon find that they are in love. Dart admits that his own mother is a Mescalero Apache, who settled on the local reservation following the death of his father, a Boston professor. Mortified at her earlier admission that Indians give her "the creeps," Amanda apologizes, and they kiss again. In the morning, Amanda dreamily informs her mother that they soon will have Indians in the family, whereupon Mrs. Lawrence books tickets for the flight back to New York. That afternoon, Amanda proposes to Dart, and on the following day, they are wed. The happy-go-lucky Amanda is unconcerned when Mrs. Mablett, the meddling wife of Dart's foreman, describes Apaches as "cruel, dangerous, and...tight-mouthed," but she is disturbed when Dart angrily sends her away from the mine, explaining that the Apache workers consider a woman in the underground tunnels a jinx. The newlyweds make up that evening, and Dart shows her the foxfire, a phosphorescent nighttime glow caused by the rotten timbers of the abandoned Foxfire mine, which he believes contains an undiscovered vein of gold. Over the next few months, Dart remains preoccupied with his work while Amanda develops an attachment to Hugh, which although understood by her as an innocent friendship, is taken more seriously by the lovesick doctor. Hugh's nurse, Maria Conchera, who is also part Apache, loves the doctor, and her jealous remarks fuel the town's appetite for gossip. Amanda opens Dart's foot locker and learns that his grandfather Tanosay was a respected Apache chief, but Dart is sensitive about his background and mistakes her interest for amusement. His anger and reticence cause Amanda to conceal her pregnancy from Dart, and the situation worsens when mine owner Ernest Tyson agrees to explore the Foxfire mine at Amanda's rather than Dart's prompting. While Dart gets the Foxfire project underway, Amanda visits the Apache reservation on a whim, and there finally meets her mother-in-law, Princess Saba. She listens in bewilderment as Saba explains that Apache boys over the age of twelve are expected to leave their mothers, never again exhibiting tears or weakness. The child Amanda bears, she continues, will be of little concern to Dart before reaching that age. After explaining that her husband's death was almost too much to endure, she concludes that the Indian philosophy of love is the right one: love is only temporary. Meanwhile, Dart, unable to find his wife, joins Maria in assuming that she has "gone off somewhere" with Hugh. By the time Amanda returns to town, Dart is angry and drunk. Grabbing her roughly, he roars that Apache men tear out the hair of women who are unfaithful. Dart stays at the mine for several days, unaware that Amanda has suffered a miscarriage. When he finally learns the truth, he rushes to the hospital, but Amanda sends him away. Later, she tells Dart the marriage is over because he treated her "like a squaw." Obsessed with finding the lost Foxfire gold, Dart drives his men too hard, and one day, the mine collapses. After helping the men out, the injured Dart climbs into a newly opened tunnel, where he finds, along with some old Apache tools and wall paintings, a rich vein of gold. Tyson and Dart's Apache friend, Walt Whitman, are thrilled by the discovery, but Dart, his hands bandaged, thinks only of Amanda. When Maria tells Amanda, who is about to leave for New York, about Dart's injury, Amanda rushes back to her husband. Admitting that he needs her, Dart explains that he is slow at love, but is no longer afraid of it. They kiss as the new "Foxfire Gold Company" sign is put in place.

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 1955
Premiere Information
New York opening: 13 Jul 1955; Los Angeles opening: 29 Jul 1955
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Kingman, Arizona, United States; Oatman, Arizona, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Foxfire by Anya Seton (Boston, 1951).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.00 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

This was the last motion picture to be photographed on the three-strip Technicolor camera.

Notes

According to a July 1953 Hollywood Reporter news item, June Allyson was originally cast as "Amanda Lawrence Dartland." Although a July 23, 1954 Hollywood Reporter production chart includes Linda Christian in the cast, she does not appear in the finished film. The onscreen credits note that "Miss Jane Russell's services" were provided "by courtesy of Russ-Field Corporation." According to studio publicity and a July 27, 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item, the picture was filmed on location at Oatman and Kingman, AZ, and was the first film in which husband and wife Barton MacLane and Charlotte Wynters appeared together. Foxfire marked the last American-made film to use Technicolor's bulky three-strip process. In the film, Jeff Chandler sings the theme song that he co-wrote with Henry Mancini. The Saturday Review critic remarked that the script "probes unusually deep in analyzing the position of women in an Apache tribe and their relation to their men, with one beautifully handled sequence in which the withered Indian mother explains by indirection the ways of her people to the bewildered young wife."

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer July 1955

Released in United States Summer July 1955