Lonely Are the Brave (1962)

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    Plot Summary
    In order to free his best friend Bondi, Jack Burns lets himself be imprisoned only
    to find out that Bondi does not want to escape. Thus Burns breaks out on his own
    and is afterwards being chased by sheriff Johnson with helicopters and jeeps.
    Written by Volker Boehm

    Full Cast
    Kirk Douglas ... John W. "Jack" Burns
    Gena Rowlands ... Jerry Bondi
    Walter Matthau ... Sheriff Morey Johnson
    Michael Kane ... Paul Bondi
    Carroll O'Connor ... Hinton
    William Schallert ... Harry
    George Kennedy ... Deputy Sheriff Gutierrez
    Karl Swenson ... Rev. Hoskins
    William Mims ... First Deputy Arraigning Burns (as Bill Mims)
    Martin Garralaga ... Old Man
    Lalo Rios ... Prisoner
    :Bill Bixby ... Airman in Helicopter (uncredited)
    Chuck Hamilton ... Diner Patron (uncredited)
    George Keymas ... Deputy (uncredited)
    Harry Lauter ... Deputy in Canyon (uncredited)
    Bill Raisch ... One Arm (uncredited)
    Dan Sheridan ... Deputy Glynn (Comic Book) (uncredited)
    Vince St. Cyr ... Navajo Prisoner Who Escapes (uncredited)
    Stuart Wade ... Desk Sergeant (uncredited)
    Charles Wagenheim ... Vagrant Convict (uncredited)
    Dan White ... Convict (uncredited)

    Original Music
    Jerry Goldsmith

    Philip H. Lathrop

    The one-armed man tells Jack Burns in the bar that he lost his arm at Okinawa during World War II.
    Bill Raisch, the actor who played the one-armed man, actually did lose his right arm in a fire on board
    a ship during the war. Raisch was Burt Lancaster's stand-in and later landed a recurring role in the TV series The Fugitive.

    Film debut (uncredited) of Bill Bixby (Airman in the helicopter).

    Not only does Kirk Douglas consider this his favorite picture, but his son Michael Douglas
    considers it his father's best work, too. Douglas also flouted convention, and caution, at the time,
    by performing his own stunts in the movie.

    After Kirk Douglas read the novel "The Brave Cowboy" by Edward Abbey,
    he purchased the rights to it and gave the project to his friend Dalton Trumbo.
    Douglas said Trumbo's screenplay was perfect, the best he had ever read, and he didn't change one word of it.

    The helicopter used in the manhunt for Burns was a 1960 Bell 47J-2, serial number 1810.
    The FAA registration number is N8411E. This bird still lives and is used for aerial advertising.

    Kirk Douglas intended to call the film "The Last Cowboy" but was overruled by the studio.
    And Trumbo gave his final version of the screenplay the title 'The Last Hero.'

    Twentieth Century Fox composer Alfred Newman had admired Jerry Goldsmith's work
    on the TV series Thriller and recommended that the young composer be hired.
    It proved the first major credit in what would become a long and productive career as a film composer.

    Jerry Goldsmith wrote cues for the scenes when Whisky is hit by the truck
    and later when he is dying that were not used.

    When preparing a compilation of film clips for Kirk Douglas' life achievement award by the Shoah Foundation,
    Steven Spielberg couldn't locate footage from this film and asked Universal for a clip.
    Spielberg recommended to the studio that the film be green-lighted for preservation, which it was.

    British actor/director/writer Alex Cox, lauded 'Lonely' in a 2012 NY Times essay with the statement that
    'there is no greater western and certainly no greater tragic one.'

    Edward Abbey's novel, the movie's source published in 1956, was set in the 1940s era of the military draft
    and centered on the hero's friend who was an anti-draft libertarian who goes to jail for
    defying the law which required men to register. But in the screenplay,
    the character's "crime of principle" was changed to assisting illegal immigrants.

    Regarding the numbers on the Helicopter. It was mentioned that the numbers on the belly of the helicopter
    were clearly visible as N8411E which is definitely what is depicted on the tail fin but the numbers on the belly
    were actually N8441E so one would have to guess that perhaps two different helicopters were used in the movie.
    Hopefully someone can substantiate that fact.

    Picture of Harry Truman in the Sheriff's office, typically the President's portrait in a law enforcement office
    would be the current office holder. At the time this film was made (1962), it should have been a portrait of JFK.

    Character error
    The helicopter pilot reported that Burns fired at his tail rotor (to allow him to land safely).
    However, without actually seeing the trajectory of the bullet, angle of the rifle, or the impact (it missed),
    the pilot had absolutely no way of knowing Burns' intentions.

    Burns' rifle jumps from its holster on the horse's back to his hand.

    When Burns begins to cross the river with Whisky, the background appears to be flat and desolate,
    but seen from a subsequent angle, many buildings appear in the background.

    9 minutes into the movie when Jerry Bondi is putting ham into the frying pan, the bread bin next to her is shut.
    A couple of seconds later, it is open.

    In the bar scene, Burns sits down at a table with a mug of beer and drinks half of it.
    The one-armed man throws a bottle at him and in the next shot his mug is full.

    Crew or equipment visible
    Five minutes into the movie when Jack Burns is watering his horse and Jerry Bondi is cautioning him to be careful,
    a crewmember is reflected in the window of the car in the background.

    Errors in geography
    When Carroll O'Connor truck driver stops in Joplin, Mo., early in the movie, mountains are clearly visible in the background.
    There are none in Joplin.

    Factual errors
    During the scene when the Sheriff is facing the hovering helicopter and talking to the pilot by radio, on Matthau's closeups,
    the shadow of the helicopter has been positioned behind him. Only the sun is behind the Sheriff
    and the helicopter's shadow would be way in front of the jeep, not behind.

    A common Hollywood mistake when radios are used is to end the transmission with the phrase "Over and out".
    "Over" is used when turning the channel to the other speaker and "Out" is used when the transmission is finished,
    but one wouldn't say "Over and out". In this movie, radio use is inconsistent.
    Sometimes "Over and out" is used incorrectly, sometimes "Out" is used correctly and sometimes
    speakers switch back and forth without indicating anything at all.

    If a helicopter's tail rotor is damaged, the helicopter would begin spinning, not swooping back and forth.
    The pilot would be forced to auto-rotate to a landing.

    Revealing mistakes
    Obvious stunt double when Burns is leading his horse up the mountain.

    The aircraft purports to be a US Air Force helicopter and indeed shows some military markings.
    However, the FAA "N" number (N8411E) is clearly visible on the belly and the tail of the aircraft.
    Military aircraft never show civilian markings.

    When the one-armed man throws his mug of beer at Burns and it hits him in the thigh, it shatters.
    No heavy glass mug of the type used in bars would shatter
    (or even break for that matter) when hitting something that soft.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
    Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
    Manzano Mountains, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
    Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
    Tijeras Canyon, Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

    Watch the Trailer



    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 3 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Lonely are the Brave is a 1962 film adaptation of the Edward Abbey novel The Brave Cowboy.
    It stars Kirk Douglas as cowboy Jack Burns, Gena Rowlands as his best friend's wife,
    and Walter Matthau as a sheriff who sympathises with Burns
    but must do his job and chase him down.
    It also featured an early score by legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith.
    Douglas felt that this was his favorite movie.

    User Review

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 4 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • One-armed Bill Raisch had also worked previously with Kirk Douglas. In the restored version of "Spartacus", Douglas severs a Roman soldier's arm in the final battle. Raisch had a prosthetic arm wired with movie blood attached to his stump. Douglas had to hit the appliance directly.
    The stunt was deemed too grisly for the time was was edited out. It even provides quite a shock when seen today.

    We deal in lead, friend.