THE BIG SKY
DIRECTED & PRODUCED BY HOWARD HAWKS
MUSIC BY DIMITRI TIOMKIN
WINCHESTER PICTURES CORPORATION
RKO RADIO PICTURES
INFORMATION FROM IMDb
Jim Deakins is a frontiersman and Indian trader who is making a perilous journey
with a group of other men up the Missouri River to get a large haul of furs
from friendly Blackfoot Indians.
The problem is that they have to get through hostile Indian territory first
and they find that they have seriously underestimated the difficulties they will undergo.
The large body of men who started the journey are gradually whittled down
until only a hardy few, like Deakins, are left.
Written by Alfred Jingle
Kirk Douglas ... Jim Deakins
Dewey Martin ... Boone Caudill
Elizabeth Threatt ... Teal Eye
Arthur Hunnicutt ... Zeb Calloway
Buddy Baer ... Romaine
Steven Geray ... Frenchy' Jourdonnais
Henri Letondal ... La Badie
Hank Worden ... Poordevil
Jim Davis ... Streak
and many more...
Dudley Nichols ... (screenplay)
A.B. Guthrie Jr. ... (novel)
Ray Buffum ... (adaptation) (uncredited)
DeVallon Scott ... (adaptation) (uncredited)
Howard Hawks ... producer
Edward Lasker ... associate producer
Russell Harlan ... director of photography
While shooting Red River (1948), there was a scene that director Howard Hawks
unsuccessfully urged John Wayne to do.
It involved his getting a finger mangled between a saddle horn and a rope,
resulting in Walter Brennan's amputating it.
Hawks reportedly told Wayne, "If you're not good enough, we won't do it",
but Wayne wouldn't do it.
According to Hawks biographer Todd McCarthy, Hawks did get Kirk Douglas
to do that scene in this film, and it came off so funny
that Wayne later declared to Hawks,
"If you tell me a funeral is funny, I'll do a funeral."
Montgomery Clift was offered the role of "Boone Caudill", but turned it down.
It was eventually given to Dewey Martin.
Howard Hawks considered Marlon Brando for either of the lead roles, but his asking price was too high.
Howard Hawks considered Charlton Heston, Robert Mitchum or Sydney Chaplin for the role of Boone Caudill.
Hank Worden (whose character speaks mostly Blackfoot) is very obviously dubbed
by someone whose voice sounds nothing like his.
Elizabeth Threatt's only film.
This was the last of three Howard Hawks films written or co-written by Dudley Nichols.
Interestingly, each occurred in a different decade;
the others were "Bringing Up Baby" in 1938 and "Air Force" in 1943.
Howard Hawks recycled his protagonists singing "Whiskey Leave Me Alone"
ten years later when he made Hatari with John Wayne in 1962.
Narrated by Arthur Hunnicutt.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Film debut of Booth Colman.
Story takes place in 1832. Automobiles are visible during prologue.
Jim expresses amazement at the size of St. Louis.
However, he had just come from Louisville, which in 1832 was about twice the size of St. Louis,
so it should not have been a source of such astonishment.
Deakins' amputated finger is whole again when he hides out in the cave with Teal Eye and the others,
and in every scene after that.
Errors in geography
As Jim and Boone approach St. Louis, Zeb, narrating, says they saw the town across the Missouri River.
St. Louis is on the Mississippi River, and Jim and Boone, coming from Kentucky,
would have seen it directly from the east side of that river.
Instead of the traditional RKO morse code sound, the film's opening theme music
is played over the RKO radio tower image.
Later, a title card is displayed explaining the premise of the story.
Opening credits prologue:
The early history of America is a tale of great first times.
There were men who were the first to cross new prairies and new mountains,
the first to find gold, silver and copper; to plow new wheat fields and build new settlements.
This is the story of another of the great American firsts--
the tale of the first men who took a keelboat up the wild
and unexplored Missouri River--who poled, pulled and rowed their way from
St. Louis through 2000 miles of hostile Indian country to the hills of Montana
and opened a new land for the future - - The Great Northwest.
Snake River, Wyoming, USA
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
Grand Teton National Park, Moose, Wyoming, USA
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA