The Walls of Jericho


1h 46m 1948

Brief Synopsis

After County Attorney Dave Connors (Cornel Wilde) helps Julian Norman (Anne Baxter) with her shiftless father, Jefferson Norman (Henry Hull), she leaves Jericho, Kansas to college to study for a law degree.A few years later, Algeria Wedge (Linda Darnell), the new bride of Dave's best friend, Tucker Wedge (Kirk Douglas), makes overtures and plays for Dave, much to the displeasure of Dave's hard-drinking wife Belle (Ann Dvorak.) Angered by Dave's rebuffs, Algeria induces the state political boss to back Tucker for a Congress race against Dave. Meanwhile, Julia has returned to Jericho, with her law degree, and she and Dave fall in love. But when Dave announces he won't run for Congress, she feels she is the reason and she takes a job in Kansas City. Tucker wins the election and he and Algeria go to Washington. Later, Tucker announces a run for the Senate and Dave decides to run against him. When Marjorie Ransome (Coleen Townsend) kills a drunk in self-defense, Julia returns to Jericho to work with Dave, now in private practice,on Marjorie's defense. The still-resentful Algeria moves to kill Dave's senate bid when Tucker's newspaper announces that Dave is being sued for divorce, with Julia named as correspondent.

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 1948
Premiere Information
New York opening: 4 Aug 1948
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Walls of Jericho by Paul I. Wellman (Philadelphia, 1946).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 46m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,529ft (12 reels)

Synopsis

In the late 1910s, Dave Connors is working as county attorney in Jericho, Kansas, when Julia Norman asks for him to help her with her father Jeff, who is sleeping off a drinking binge at Gotch McCurdy's livery stable. Dave is on his way to the railroad station to meet an old friend but agrees to help as he respects Jeff's abilities as a lawyer. McCurdy is a belligerent type and, after threatening Dave, gets into a fight with a stablehand, seriously injuring him. Dave helps Julia's father and proceeds to the station to meet his old friend, Tucker Wedge, editor and publisher of the local newspaper, The Clarion , who is returning to town with his bride Algeria. The train is three hours late and while waiting, Dave again encounters Jeff and Julia, who explains to Dave that they are leaving Jericho for good because a distant cousin of Jeff's has died in Delaware and willed her estate to them. The train eventually arrives and Dave welcomes Tucker and the glamorous Algeria. At a supper at the Connors' boardinghouse, Dave introduces Algeria to his wife Belle, Belle's mother, Mrs. Dunham, who owns the boardinghouse, and several local dignitaries, including Judge and Mrs. Hutto and Mr. and Mrs. Tom Ransome and their daughter Marjorie. Later, Algeria tells Tucker that she is impressed by Dave but that the women are "dreadful." She wonders why Dave and Belle married and has detected that Belle is a secret drinker. Tucker and Algeria host a large party to which Dave and Belle are invited, but only Dave attends. Algeria is very interested to learn that Dave may run for Congress and invites him to tell her more about his political ambitions. After Dave spurns Algeria's advances, Algeria tells Tucker that Belle will hinder Dave's political career. In a front page story in his newspaper, Tucker blames Dave for not reacting to his three-month campaign to free Jericho from vice and bootlegging activities. Judge Hutto then tells Dave he will have to placate Tucker if he is going to run for Congress but Dave refuses to believe the issues Tucker is raising are significant problems in Jericho. Later, the Wedges invite the Connors to a garden party, but Belle is too drunk to attend. Having realized that she cannot have Dave for herself, Algeria has begun to make her husband over and informs Dave that Tucker has been persuaded to run for Congress. Dave then meets Julia again and learns that her father died shortly after leaving Jericho and she has returned to work as a lawyer in Judge Hutto's office. Julia accompanies Dave to a political rally in the country, and a romance develops between them. Julia, who has long loved Dave, suggests to him that the scheming Algeria could be his real opponent. To Algeria's considerable disappointment, Dave later announces that he is not running for Congress. Aware that his decision is motivated by their relationship, Julia leaves Jericho and takes a job in Kansas City. Tucker wins the election and the Wedges move to Washington, where they enjoy great success. A few years later, Dave resigns as county attorney and runs for the Senate against Tucker. During the campaign it is revealed that Dave's campaign manager, Tom Ransome, is not legally married. Upset by the revelation, Marjorie runs away from home and encounters a drunk Gotch McCurdy, who attacks her. She hits him with a shovel, then jumps on a passing freight train. Before he dies in the hospital, McCurdy implicates Marjorie. Julia wires Dave that she must see him, and when he arrives in Kansas City, he discovers that Marjorie is there with Julia. The young girl agrees to return to Jericho if Julia goes with her, and Dave asks Julia to help him defend Marjorie in court. When the case is tried, Algeria becomes resentful of all the free publicity Dave receives. However, during the trial Dave is sued for divorce, with Julia named as correspondent. Unaware that Algeria has master-minded the suit, Dave goes to reason with Belle, but she shoots him. Julia continues Marjorie's defense alone while Dave recovers, claiming that her client is being deprived of a fair trial by Dave's absence. Julia puts Algeria on the stand and asks her why she was at the Connors' house when Dave was shot and why she persuaded Belle to file for divorce during the trial. Julia then puts herself on the stand, admits that she is in love with Dave, but insists that there has been nothing reprehensible in their relationship. Tucker finally realizes that Algeria has deliberately ruined his friendship with Dave and decides not to run for the Senate, thereby dooming Algeria to remain in Jericho. Julia wins Marjorie's acquittal and recommences her romance with Dave.

Cast

Cornel Wilde

Dave Connors

Linda Darnell

Algeria Wedge

Anne Baxter

Julia Norman

Kirk Douglas

Tucker Wedge

Ann Dvorak

Belle Connors

Marjorie Rambeau

Mrs. Dunham

Henry Hull

Jeff Norman

Colleen Townsend

Marjorie Ransome

Barton Maclane

Gotch McCurdy

Griff Barnett

Judge Hutto

William Tracy

Cully Caxton

Art Baker

Peddigrew

Frank Ferguson

Tom Ransome

Ann Morrison

Nellie

Hope Landin

Mrs. Hutto

Helen Brown

Mrs. Ransome

Norman Leavitt

Adam McAdam

Whitford Kane

Judge Poster

J. Farrell Macdonald

Bailiff

Dick Rich

Mulliken

Will Wright

Dr. Patterson

Edwin Maxwell

Porter Grimes

Daniel White

Loafer

Les Clark

Photographer

William Sheehan

Reporter

Ralph Linn

Reporter

Gene Nelson

Assistant prosecutor

Jack Gargan

Assistant prosecutor

James Metcalfe

Court clerk

Douglas Carter

Intern

Paul Palmer

Policeman

Jack Roscoe

Intern-driver

Erville Alderson

Sam

Milton Parsons

Joe

Oliver Hartwell

Bootblack

Oliver Blake

Mr. Reynolds

Guy Beach

Hack driver

Joe Forte

Politician

Charles Marsh

Politician

Lou Mason

Politician

William Gould

Politician

Ralph Littlefield

Politician

Robert Filmer

Tough

Herbert Heywood

Tough

Wallace Scott

Tough

Fred Graff

Tough

Ed Peil Sr.

Court reporter

Morgan Farley

Proprietor

Brick Sullivan

Iceman

Patricia Morison

Mrs. Landon

Frances Morris

Maid

Claire Richards

Maid

David Hammond

Messenger boy

Gene Collins

Harmonica player

Robert Jellison

Fat man

Dorothy Granger

Gossip

Ann Doran

Gossip

Cecil Weston

Head nurse

Billy Cummings

Boy singer

Pete Fogel

Boy singer

Lawrence Scalise

Boy singer

John Calkins

Boy

Dale Cornell

Boy

Terry Goodman

Boy

Ralph Davis

Boy

Anita Kostka

Girl

Beverly Ruth Jordan

Girl

Courtna Joan Mcmann

Girl

Edgar Caldwell

Joe Gilbert

Tom Moore

George Melford

Ashley Cowan

Ben Hall

Robert Cherry

Samuel Schultz

Tiny Timbrell

Ruth Clifford

Kay Riley

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 1948
Premiere Information
New York opening: 4 Aug 1948
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Walls of Jericho by Paul I. Wellman (Philadelphia, 1946).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 46m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,529ft (12 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, the studio purchased the rights to Paul I. Wellman's novel for the sum of $35,000. W. R. Burnett, Robert Hill, Wanda Tuchock, F. Hugh Herbert and Lamar Trotti all worked on different versions of the screenplay, according to studio records The Screen Writers' Guild Arbitration Committee awarded sole credit to Trotti, however. Gene Tierney was originally cast as Julia Norman, but she declined to appear in the film and was replaced by Anne Baxter. Tierney was then suspended by the studio. In a Los Angeles Times article Tierney stated, "There is certainly nothing personal in the issue that has arisen between Twentieth Century-Fox and myself. I simply could not undertake the part in Walls of Jericho because I did not believe it was right for me. I could not fathom the character of the girl although it was the lead in the picture. It was particularly difficult for me to refuse this role because John Stahl is the director and we have had such excellent association with Leave Her to Heaven. Nevertheless, I felt it would be a great mistake for me to appear in this new film." A Hollywood Reporter news item of September 15, 1947 announced that Robert Preston would be borrowed from Paramount for the role of Tucker Wedge. The Variety and Hollywood Reporter preview reviews list a running time of 111 minutes suggesting that approximately five minutes was cut for the final release prints. A radio adaptation was broadcast on the Screen Guild Players program on January 27, 1949 and starred Cornel Wilde and Claire Trevor. Lux Radio Theatre broadcast an adaptation with Wilde and Terry Moore on March 8, 1955.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer August 1948

Released in United States Summer August 1948