The Iron Mistress (1952)

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    There is 1 reply in this Thread. The last Post () by ethanedwards.

    • The Iron Mistress (1952)




      Plot Summary
      Barely historical presentation of the life of Jim Bowie. Here he goes to New Orleans to sell lumber but falls in love with Judalon. To match his rivals he must become sophisticated and does so. By the time he sells the mill, starts a plantation and tries to wed Jedualon the woman has wed playboy Phillipe. Along the way to true wisdom he designs a special knife made from part of a meteorite.
      Written by Ed Stephan

      Alan Ladd ... Jim Bowie
      Virginia Mayo ... Judalon de Bornay
      Joseph Calleia ... Juan Moreno
      Phyllis Kirk ... Ursula de Varamendi
      Alf Kjellin ... Philippe de Cabanal
      Douglas Dick ... Narcisse de Bornay
      Anthony Caruso ... Black Jack Sturdevant (as Tony Caruso)
      Nedrick Young ... Henri Contrecourt (as Ned Young)
      George Voskovec ... John James Audubon
      Richard Carlyle ... Rezin Bowie
      Robert Emhardt ... Gen. Cuny
      Don Beddoe ... Dr. Cuny (as Donald Beddoe)
      Harold Gordon ... Andrew Marschalk
      Jay Novello ... Judge Crain
      Nick Dennis ... Nez Coupe
      Sarah Selby ... Mrs. Bowie
      Dick Paxton ... John Bowie
      George J. Lewis ... Col. Wells
      Edward Colmans ... Don Juan de Varamendi
      Gordon Nelson ... Dr. Maddox
      Daria Massey ... Teresa de Varamendi
      and many more...

      Gordon Douglas

      Writing Credits
      James R. Webb ... (screenplay)
      Paul Wellman ... (novel)
      Henry Blanke

      Max Steiner

      John F. Seitz

      "Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 28, 1954 with Virginia Mayo reprising her film role.

      Character error
      When the girl is hitting the pinata she is blindfolded, but you can see here clearly following the pinata swing as she hits it.

      Factual errors
      The knife-maker claims the meteorite he found is made of steel. Steel is a man-made substance using iron and carbon. Metallic meteorites contain an iron-nickel alloy.

      Memorable Quotes

      Filming Locations
      Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA (studio)
      Juarez Square, Warner Ranch, Calabasas, California, USA (San Antonio, Texas scenes)
      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • The Iron Mistress is a 1952 film drama directed by
      Gordon Douglas and starring Alan Ladd as Jim Bowie.
      It ends with Bowie's marriage to Ursula de Veramendi
      and does not deal with his death at the Battle of the Alamo

      It was the first film Ladd made at Warner Bros. after spending a decade at Paramount Pictures.

      Original novel
      Paul Wellman's novel was published in 1951. The Los Angeles Times called it "a rattling good story".
      The New York Times called it "an excellent quasi fictional biography from that skein of tangled legend and fact."

      The book became a best seller. Warner Bros bought the film rights and Errol Flynn
      was mentioned as a possible star. However Alan Ladd had also signed a contract with Warners;
      he read a copy of the novel and wanted to do it.

      Henry Blanke was the producer and James Webb was assigned to do the screenplay.

      During filming a fire swept through the Warner Bros lot but the unit for Iron Mistress was on location at the time.
      Alan Ladd injured his knee during the shoot and broke his hand on the last day of filming.

      User Review

      A forced fit of romance and knife fights, gun fights, sword fights, fight fights...
      17 June 2010 | by secondtake (United States)

      sec wrote:

      The Iron Mistress (1952)

      I don't get the whole call of honor that leads to duels at the slightest provocation (or less). In some movies it's a fabulous dramatic point, but here it's a nagging and recurring trick, a reason for some male chest-thumping and a little bloodshed. It also represents the way the movie depends on forced drama to make the events jump.

      There are exceptions, like a really beautiful and unusual hand-to-hand knife/sword fight occurring in a darkened room, with an occasional bolt of lightning like a strobe going off. This is cinema trickery, a real pleasure, not part of the real story, but it's a moment of relief from the costume drama and dueling the rest of the time.

      This is how this movie goes. Moments of unique drama are followed by long stretches of stiff plot development. I'm not sure how the movie reflects the real story of James Bowie, whose name was given to the famous Bowie knife (knives naturally have a big role in the movie, including the forging of the first true Bowie knife). But what works best is the sense of period sets and time-travel to pre-Civil War Louisiana. The romance isn't highly romantic, and the plot is generally stiff, but it is a kind of history story come to life. If you overlook the obvious liberties and gaffes, it's not an unwatchable movie, just a routine one. Alan Ladd, it must be said, is a little cool even for Alan Ladd (an understated actor).

      The film does lay out the gradual shift in cultivation of the South to cotton farming, and brings out lots of old rules like the fact divorce was impossible in Louisiana without an act of the legislature. People interested in this certain kind of movie making, for its own sake, should check out "Drums Along the Mohawk" (a better movie by far, but with a similar feel somehow). Here, the camera-work by the talented John Seitz is strangely dull (though it is in true Technicolor), and the scored music by the incomparable Max Steiner is straight up functional. Most of all, the many ordinary parts are put together without great art or intensity.
      Best Wishes
      London- England