The Proud and Profane


1h 51m 1956

Film Details

Also Known As
A Breed Apart, The Magnificent Bastards, The Magnificent Devils
Release Date
Aug 1956
Premiere Information
New York opening: 13 Jun 1956
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.; Perlberg-Seaton Productions
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States; St. Thomas,Virgin Islands
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Magnificent Bastards by Lucy Herndon Crockett (New York, 1953).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 51m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

In 1943, Lee Ashley arrives in Noumea, on the island of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, where she has come to work as a Red Cross volunteer. As the island is home to an Allied military base, the attractive Lee quickly draws the attention of the love-starved soldiers, sailors and Marines stationed there, but she is only interested in finding out the plight of her late husband Howard, a victim of the Battle of Guadalcanal. When the latest group of casualties arrive in Noumea, Lee is hesitant to help with the injured soldiers until Kate Connors, the head of the local Red Cross club, reminds her that it is her duty. Later, Eddie Wodcik, an old friend of Kate, arrives at the military base and quickly falls in love with Lee, as she reminds him of his deceased sister, who died tragically in a tenement house fire. Lee, however, falls prey to the roguish Lt. Col. Colin Black, a battalion leader who pretends to have been a friend of her late husband in hopes of seducing her. Though Lee tells him that she has come to New Caledonia to discover if Howard's death was quick and peaceful, Colin declares that what she really wants to know is whether her husband died a soldier's or coward's death. Though seemingly repulsed by the gruff and domineering Marine, Lee admits to Kate that she has fallen in love with Colin, though he is the polar opposite of her late husband. In turn, Colin confesses to the cultured Kate that he joined the Marines to escape his life as a poverty-stricken half-breed. With Colin's unit about to leave Noumea on military maneuvers, the two lovers finally consummate their relationship after seeking shelter from a rainstorm in a French inn. Months later, Lee is offered her long-awaited transfer to Guadalcanal, but she declines, telling Kate that she wishes to stay in Noumea and wait for Colin, to whom she is secretly engaged and by whom she is now pregnant. Lee soon learns from a wounded Marine, however, that Colin is already married. Confronted with the truth, Colin tells Lee that he cannot get a divorce, as his wife is an institutionalized alcoholic, driven to the bottle by his dedication to the Marines. Angered and humiliated, Lee attempts to hurl herself off a cliff, only to be stopped by Colin. In the ensuing struggle, Lee is knocked to the ground and suffers a miscarriage. Learning of Lee's plight, Eddie tries to murder Colin, but is quickly subdued by the colonel. Realizing his culpability, Colin refuses to press charges against his love-sick subordinate. Soon after, Lee is transferred with Kate to Guadalcanal, where she is finally forced to confront the grave of her husband. At the cemetery, she meets Eustace Press, a battle fatigue patient who served with Howard. Unaware of Lee's identity, Eustace tells her that while Howard had nothing but kind words for his wife, he recognized her as the "blood-sucker type" who dominated her husband completely. Acknowledging her own selfishness in the soldier's words, Lee then dedicates herself to her work. Soon thereafter, Colin arrives at the Red Cross station, the victim of a mortar attack. Lt. J. G. Holmes, the chaplain of his unit, tells Lee that Colin has thought of little more than her the last two months, which is why the shell-shocked Marine can has said nothing but the words "forgive me" since his injury. In the end, she does.

Film Details

Also Known As
A Breed Apart, The Magnificent Bastards, The Magnificent Devils
Release Date
Aug 1956
Premiere Information
New York opening: 13 Jun 1956
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.; Perlberg-Seaton Productions
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States; St. Thomas,Virgin Islands
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Magnificent Bastards by Lucy Herndon Crockett (New York, 1953).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 51m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Art Direction

1956

Best Costume Design

1956
Edith Head

Articles

Frank Gorshin (1933-2005)


Frank Gorshin, a skilled comedian, impressionist and character actor who will forever be indentified with his role as "The Riddler" on the cult series from the '60s Batman lost his battle with lung cancer on May 17 at the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California. He was 72.

He was born on April 5, 1933, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania into a family of modest means, his father was a railroad worker and mother a homemaker. His childhood impressions of Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney paid off when he won a local talent contest at 17, and that led to his first gig at 17 at a the prize was a one week engagement at Jackie Heller's Carousel night club, Pittsburgh's hottest downtown spot in the day. The taste was there, and after high school Frank enrolled in the Carnegie-Mellon Tech School of Drama did hone his craft.

His career was interrupted briefly when he entered the US Army in 1953. He spent two years in Special Services as an entertainer. Once he got out, Frank tried his luck in Hollywood. He made his film debut in a forgettable William Holden vehicle The Proud and Profane, but his fortunes picked up soon when he and when he hooked up with American Internation Pictures (AIP). With his charasmatic sneer and cocky bravado that belied his slender, 5' 7" frame, Frank made a great punk villian in a series of entertaining "drive-in" fare: Hot Rod Girl (1956), Dragstrip Girl, Invasion of the Saucer Men, and of course the classic Portland Expose (all 1957).

By the '60s, he graduated to supporting roles in bigger Hollywood fare: Where the Boys Are, Bells Are Ringing (both 1960), Ring of Fire, and his biggest tole to date, that of Iggy the bank robber in Disney's hugely popular That Darn Cat (1965). Better still, Frank found some parts on television: Naked City, Combat!, The Untouchables, and this would be the medium where he found his greatest success. Little did he realize that when his skeletal physique donned those green nylon tights and cackled his high pitch laugh that Frank Gorshin would be forever identified as "the Riddler," one of Batman's main nemisis. For two years (1966-68), he was a semi-regular on the show and it brought him deserved national attention.

By the '70s, Frank made his Broadway debut, as the star of Jimmy, a musical based on the life of former New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker. He spent the next two decades alternating between the stage, where he appeared regularly in national touring productions of such popular shows as: Promises, Promises, Prisoner of Second Street, and Guys and Dolls; and nightclub work in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

He recently found himself in demand for character roles on televison: Murder, She Wrote, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and film: Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys (1995), and the quirky comedy Man of the Century (1999). Yet his biggest triumph was his two year stint (2002-2004) as George Burns in the Broadway smash, Say Goodnight Gracie. It ran for 364 performances and he received critical raves from even the toughest New York theater critics, proving undoubtly that he was a performer for all mediums. He is survived by his wife Christina; a son, Mitchell; grandson Brandon and sister Dottie.

by Michael T. Toole
Frank Gorshin (1933-2005)

Frank Gorshin (1933-2005)

Frank Gorshin, a skilled comedian, impressionist and character actor who will forever be indentified with his role as "The Riddler" on the cult series from the '60s Batman lost his battle with lung cancer on May 17 at the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California. He was 72. He was born on April 5, 1933, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania into a family of modest means, his father was a railroad worker and mother a homemaker. His childhood impressions of Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney paid off when he won a local talent contest at 17, and that led to his first gig at 17 at a the prize was a one week engagement at Jackie Heller's Carousel night club, Pittsburgh's hottest downtown spot in the day. The taste was there, and after high school Frank enrolled in the Carnegie-Mellon Tech School of Drama did hone his craft. His career was interrupted briefly when he entered the US Army in 1953. He spent two years in Special Services as an entertainer. Once he got out, Frank tried his luck in Hollywood. He made his film debut in a forgettable William Holden vehicle The Proud and Profane, but his fortunes picked up soon when he and when he hooked up with American Internation Pictures (AIP). With his charasmatic sneer and cocky bravado that belied his slender, 5' 7" frame, Frank made a great punk villian in a series of entertaining "drive-in" fare: Hot Rod Girl (1956), Dragstrip Girl, Invasion of the Saucer Men, and of course the classic Portland Expose (all 1957). By the '60s, he graduated to supporting roles in bigger Hollywood fare: Where the Boys Are, Bells Are Ringing (both 1960), Ring of Fire, and his biggest tole to date, that of Iggy the bank robber in Disney's hugely popular That Darn Cat (1965). Better still, Frank found some parts on television: Naked City, Combat!, The Untouchables, and this would be the medium where he found his greatest success. Little did he realize that when his skeletal physique donned those green nylon tights and cackled his high pitch laugh that Frank Gorshin would be forever identified as "the Riddler," one of Batman's main nemisis. For two years (1966-68), he was a semi-regular on the show and it brought him deserved national attention. By the '70s, Frank made his Broadway debut, as the star of Jimmy, a musical based on the life of former New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker. He spent the next two decades alternating between the stage, where he appeared regularly in national touring productions of such popular shows as: Promises, Promises, Prisoner of Second Street, and Guys and Dolls; and nightclub work in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. He recently found himself in demand for character roles on televison: Murder, She Wrote, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and film: Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys (1995), and the quirky comedy Man of the Century (1999). Yet his biggest triumph was his two year stint (2002-2004) as George Burns in the Broadway smash, Say Goodnight Gracie. It ran for 364 performances and he received critical raves from even the toughest New York theater critics, proving undoubtly that he was a performer for all mediums. He is survived by his wife Christina; a son, Mitchell; grandson Brandon and sister Dottie. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were A Breed Apart, The Magnificent Bastards and The Magnificent Devils. The film was also reviewed under the title The Proud and the Profane. The film opens with the following written foreword: "1943: Noumea, on the Free French Island of New Caledonia, was the crossroads of the South Pacific. Eighty thousand men of the Army, Marines and Navy trained here and waited for the day to begin the long push northward. Eighty thousand men-and a handful of women." The onscreen credits note the association of technical advisors Margaret Hagan, Louise A. Wood and Mary Lousie Dowling of The American National Red Cross.
       According to the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the PCA expressed great concern over the sexual conduct between the film's lead characters, "Lee Ashley" and "Lt. Col. Colin Black." In an July 11, 1955 letter to the producers, the PCA called for a more "sufficient 'voice of morality' within the film," noting that it must be made clear that Lee becomes pregnant from an illicit affair, as it was not acceptable to have sex before marriage, even if she thought she was engaged.
       According to Hedda Hopper's column, published by Los Angeles Times on April 13, 1954, Paramount was trying to persuade Clark Gable to appear as "Black" in The Proud and Profane. Lucy Herndon Crockett, whose novel Magnificent Bastards was the basis of the film, informed Hopper that she had suggested Burt Lancaster for the same role. That same month, Hollywood Reporter reported that writer Edmund Hartmann had begun working on script to The Magnificent Bastards, though no producer had been assigned to the project, nor was there a start date. It has not been determined what, if any, of Hartmann's work was used in the final script.
       According to Hollywood Reporter, portions of the film were shot on location in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico. BHC reported that location filming in the Virgin Islands was initially delayed, as the film crew arrived in St. Thomas at same time as hurricanes "Connie" and "Diane." Due to the emergency, the production agreed to temporarily turn over its equipment trucks to the local authorities in order to help with the evacuation of the island's remote population.
       Hollywood Reporter news items include Keith Stafford in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter production charts also include Nancy Sinatra in the cast, but her appearance in the film is highly doubtful; it is more likely that her name was confused with that of actress Nancy Stevens, who appeared in the film as Red Cross worker "Evvie." The picture marked the feature film debut of Broadway actor Robert Morse. The Proud and Profane received two Academy Award nominations: Edith Head was nominated for her costume design and Hal Pereira, Earl Hedrick, Sam Comer and Frank McKelvy were nominated in the category of art direction/set decoration (black and white).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer July 1956

VistaVision

Released in United States Summer July 1956