Posts from ethanedwards in thread „The Conqueror (1956)“

    Duke's Movie Locations- St. George


    snow_canyon.jpgsnow_canyon_state_park.jpgsnow_canyon.2 jpg.jpg

    Information from
    Worldwide Movie Locations

    'Dirty Harry' ‚ not the Clint Eastwood movie,
    but the nickname given to a nuclear test explosion
    at Yucca Flats in Nevada which dumped fallout around the area
    including St George in Utah.

    St George
    is way down in the southwest corner of Utah
    near the Arizona border on I-15.
    And it was in Snow Canyon State Park,
    11 miles to the northwest of St George,
    that The Conqueror was filmed the following year.
    To make matters worse, lorryloads of the local red earth
    were shipped back to RKO in Hollywood for studio filming.

    Snow Canyon State Park
    is a small park
    located just northwest of St. George Utah.
    The park is only 5,738 acres,
    but offers several amazing hikes and wonderful scenery to its visitors.
    The little known canyon has very distinctive beauty.
    Red and white sandstone with a scattering of black lava rock
    provide a color contrast that is seldom seen outside of the park.
    Visitors to Snow Canyon during the spring season
    will be treated to an extra splash of color
    as the native cactus and wildflowers come into full bloom.

    Snow Canyon is filled with petrified sand dunes,
    towering cliffs, dormant volcanic cones, lava tubes/caverns,
    sandstone arches and rainwater ponds.
    There are several hiking/biking trails available within the park
    that offers visitors a chance to see one or all of these incredible attractions.
    Hikers should also keep watch for the desert wildlife found in the area.
    Some of the more interesting creatures include Gila monsters, desert tortoises, scorpions, Mojave sidewinder snake and Utah banded geckos.

    I have been researching all the threads, back to the start of the JWMB,
    looking for previous discussion, relating to this movie.
    I have found the following, comments, and have copied them here,
    so that they are now under one forum:-

    The Conqueror


    post Apr 8 2004, 09:41 PM

    Just watched The Conqueror on AMC, and I thought it was a better movie than I was led to believe.
    No, it wouldn't make my top ten list but it was still entertaining, and most would have to admit that it is a better movie than most of the stuff coming out today. I always enjoyed Pedro Armendariz in Fort Apache and The Three Godfathers and it was a treat to see him in one more movie with Duke.


    post Apr 9 2004, 02:39 AM

    I tried to watch it today and couldn't hardly do it. It's not good, at least to me. Too out of character for almost everyone in it.


    General Sterling Price
    post Apr 11 2004, 02:19 AM

    I have yet to see the Conqueror, although I am sure I will someday. Its hard to believe that Wayne had some real ho-hum films about the time of The Conquerer, except that his Greatest of all, The Searchers, was right in the middle of them. Go figure.



    Hondo Duke Lane
    post Apr 13 2004, 03:03 AM

    Duke seem to be going in a different direction with his acting. When he did The Searchers, I believe that Duke wanted expand his acting, and did different types of movies playing characters that was not a part of what Duke played. He soon found out that he made some flops, and went back to where he did play his best roles. I can only imagine that Duke wanted to expand himself so he could find out what kind of actor he was.
    Bogart couldn't play western cowboys. Cagney couldn't play romance. Actors played roles that best suit them, so Duke could only play the parts that made him into a legend. I'm glad he found out before it was too late.

    Cheers, Hondo B)

    I have been researching all the threads, back to the start of the JWMB,
    looking for previous discussion, relating to the movies.
    I have found the following, comments, and have copied them here,
    so that they are now under one forum:-

    The Conqueror, I was disgusted


    post Jan 27 2004, 11:22 PM

    I have had a copy of this movie for several years now but I never got around to watching it based on what others had to say about it. I have jsut finished watching it and it really is as bad as a lot of people suggest but there was one scene within the movie that I cant believe the Duke did, this is the scene where he slaps Susan Haywards across the face I was completely taken aback, I never though the Duke would have done that, I have lost a little bit interest in him since seeing this scene. Why on earth did he do this, I realise he is an actor but this is not the John Wayne that I admire as an actor and person, his treatment of Susan Hayward as a whole was shamful splattering out such crap as 'This woman is for my own personal pleasure' it is just so painful to watch. I wouldnt have believed somebody if they had told me John Wayne done this and I am so disappointed to discover this scene, why did Duke not speak out against doing this scene, I just can't understand it.


    post Jan 27 2004, 11:55 PM

    Hi Robbie; I agree that this was probably one of the movies "DUKE" should have passed on but he didn't and now we have it to ponder. He was portraying an Asian Barbarian so I think you had to follow some of the rough treatment that was dished out to woman at that time.And I also think that to be "Politicly Correct" in 1956 wasn't much of an option. I judge the film by how many times it has been on tv. I saw on a late nite movie about 20 years ago and that was just before sattelite tv. I have never seen it since. He has also spanked at least two women that I can remember(McLintock+Donavon's Reef) and I'm sure this would recieve alot of negative reviews now but!!! I take in context with the time it was made. I love the"DUKE",even his stinkers.Who knows,Maybe he was needing some cash flow at the time and "THE CONQUEROR" was all there was....SaddleTramp....


    post Jan 28 2004, 03:10 AM

    I believe that JW didn't want to do that film but, he was under contract and was almost forced to do it. Arthur or itdo will probably be able to shed some light on this film better then I can.


    post Jan 28 2004, 05:42 AM

    f the few fans who enjoyed The Conqueror. I put off watching it as Robbie did, had it for a long time before giving it a viewing, because I was bored at the time. I went into it expecting to hate it, and was surprised to find myself enjoying it. It was wierd seeing him in that Fu Man Chu and hearing him talk as he did, but I feel he pulled it off. To say he didn't is to limit him as an actor. I also liked his detective films (Brannigan and McQ), as it was a chance to see him in a different acting light. As for him slapping Hayward, I guess it didn't register with me either. It was a part of the character. We must be carefull in putting our heroes too high up on that pedistal. The fall can be a far one. That part may have bothered you, Robbie, but you are too big a fan to let it deminish Duke in your eyes. I admire both John Waynes. His life on screen and his life off it as well. He's not perfect, but he's ours! Dukefan1

    Here is a link, to other previous discussion, relating to this movie:-

    The Conqueror

    The Conqueror is a 1956 CinemaScope epic film produced by Howard Hughes
    and starring John Wayne as the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan.
    Other performers included Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead,
    and Pedro Armendáriz.
    Directed by actor/director Dick Powell, the film was principally shot near St. George, Utah.

    The Conqueror was a critical flop (often ranked as one of the worst films of the 1950s
    and one of the worst ever) despite the stature of the cast.
    Wayne, who was at the height of his career, had lobbied for the role
    after seeing the script and was widely believed to have been grossly miscast
    (he was "honored" by The Golden Turkey Awards).

    Reportedly, Howard Hughes felt guilty about his decisions regarding the film's production,
    particularly over the decision to film at a hazardous site.
    He bought every print of the film for $12 million and kept it from view until 1974
    when it was first broadcast on TV.
    The Conqueror, along with Ice Station Zebra,[
    is said to be one of the films Hughes watched endlessly during his last years.

    Well what can you say about this film??
    This will certainly, give us something to discuss!!
    The worst full, feature film, Duke ever made, his WORST!!

    Along with The Greatest Story Ever Told
    Duke giving his acting critics, a field day!!!
    However, I will say one thing in it's favour,
    it's one of the best comedies, I've ever seen!!!
    How could Duke have got involved in this??
    Why oh why, didn't they just talk, in American accents??
    it would have been so much easier, and a lot more convincing!!

    Instead, Dick Powell went for that awful stilted, dialogue.
    The supporting cast fared no better, with Susan Hayward,
    acting, like some sort of demented Barbie doll!!

    The whole thing was an embarrassment,
    and audiences laughed at Duke's stilted dialogue,ludicrous make up,
    of slit eyes, and mustache.
    It proved to be a $5 million fiasco, and besides being Duke's worst film,
    it probably contributed to his death.

    Rating 1/10, for the comedy value.

    Look out for Duke sons,
    Michael Wayne as a Mongol guard (uncredited)
    Patrick Wayne .... (uncredited)

    User Review



    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


    Plot Summary
    In ancient times, the Mongolian warlord Temujin must do battle against the rival tribe that killed his father.
    The battles pale in comparison with Temujin's home life, as he attempts to woo the heart
    of the red-haired Tartar prisoner Bortai whom he has captured in a raid.
    He must also deal with various intrigues within his palace.
    Eventually, Bortai falls to his manly charms,
    Temujin defeats his enemies within and without,
    and is crowned Genghis Khan.

    Full Cast
    John Wayne .... Temujin, later Genghis Khan
    Susan Hayward .... Bortai
    Pedro Armendáriz .... Jamuga
    Agnes Moorehead .... Hunlun
    Thomas Gomez .... Wang Khan
    John Hoyt .... Shaman
    William Conrad .... Kasar
    Ted de Corsia .... Kumlek
    Leslie Bradley .... Targutai
    Lee Van Cleef .... Chepei
    Peter Mamakos .... Bogurchi
    Leo Gordon .... Tartar captain
    Richard Loo .... Captain of Wang's guard
    Sylvia Lewis .... Solo dancer
    Fred Aldrich .... Chieftain #2 (uncredited)
    Phil Arnold .... Honest John (uncredited)
    Gregg Barton .... Jalair (uncredited)
    Lane Bradford .... Chieftain #4 (uncredited)
    John Daheim .... Tartar guard sounding alarm (uncredited)
    John George .... Drummer boy (uncredited)
    Jeanne Gerson .... Bortai's slave woman (uncredited)
    Fred Graham .... Subuya, (Mongol warrior) (uncredited)
    Michael Granger .... Chieftain #1 (uncredited)
    David Hoffman .... Potter (uncredited)
    Paul Hoffman .... Chieftain #3 (uncredited)
    Charles Horvath .... (uncredited)
    Pat Lawler .... Wang Khan's wife (uncredited)
    Weaver Levy .... Mongol (uncredited)
    Jarma Lewis .... Girl in bath (uncredited)
    Pat McMahon .... Girl in bath (uncredited)
    Torben Meyer .... Scribe (uncredited)
    Norman S. Powell .... Mongol guard (uncredited)
    Ray Spiker .... Guard (uncredited)
    George E. Stone .... Sibilant Sam (uncredited)
    Ken Terrell .... Sorgan (Mongol warrior) (uncredited)
    Patricia Tiernan .... Wang Khan's wife (uncredited)
    Carl Vernell .... Merkit captain (uncredited)
    Michael Wayne .... Mongol guard (uncredited)
    Patrick Wayne .... (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Oscar Millard (written by)

    Dick Powell .... producer
    Richard Sokolove .... associate producer
    Howard Hughes .... producer (uncredited)

    Original Music
    Victor Young

    Joseph LaShelle
    William E. Snyder (as William Snyder)
    Leo Tover
    Harry J. Wild

    Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
    Edward Killy .... assistant director
    Cliff Lyons .... second unit director

    Roydon Clark .... stunts (uncredited)
    John Daheim .... stunts (uncredited)
    Henry A. Escalante .... stunts (uncredited)
    Bernie Gozier .... stunts (uncredited)
    Fred Graham .... stunts (uncredited)
    Charles Horvath .... stunts (uncredited)
    Cliff Lyons .... stunts (uncredited)
    Bob Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
    Boyd 'Red' Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
    Gil Perkins .... stunts (uncredited)
    Allen Pomeroy .... stunts (uncredited)
    Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
    Barlow Simpson .... stunts (uncredited)
    Norm Taylor .... stunt rigger (uncredited)
    Ken Terrell .... stunts (uncredited)
    Jack Williams .... stunts (uncredited)
    Henry Wills .... stunts (uncredited)
    Terry Wilson .... stunts (uncredited)

    Sometimes referred to as "An RKO Radioactive Picture," as it was filmed near the site of contemporaneous nuclear testing grounds, the set was contaminated by nuclear fallout. After location shooting, much dirt from the location was transported back to Hollywood in order to match interior shooting done there. Scores of cast and crew members developed forms of cancer over the next two decades, many more than the normal percentage of a random group of this size. Quite a few died from cancer or cancer-related problems, including John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Pedro Armendáriz (who shot himself to death soon after learning he had terminal cancer), Agnes Moorehead, John Hoyt and director Dick Powell. People magazine researched the subsequent health of the cast and crew, which it published in November 1980. By the time of the article's publication, 91 of the 220 members of the film's cast and crew had contracted cancer, and half of these had died from the disease. The figures did not include several hundred local American Indians who served as extras on the set. Nor did it include relatives who had visited cast and crew members on the set, such as the Duke's son Michael Wayne. The People article quoted the reaction of a scientist from the Pentagon's Defense Nuclear Agency to the news: "Please, God, don't let us have killed John Wayne".

    Filmed between mid-May and August 5, 1954, the movie premiered on February 22, 1956 in Los Angeles, then opened in Manhattan at the Criterion Theatre on March 30, 1956.

    Photographs exist of John Wayne holding a Geiger counter.

    Wayne took his role very seriously, went on a crash diet, and took Dexedrine tablets 4 times a day.

    Eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes provided the financial backing for this film and later paid an extra $12 million (estimated) for every existing print of it from a sense of guilt - it was he who paid for the shipping of 60 tons of radioactive dirt to Hollywood for retakes (see above). He kept a jealous hold on the film, not even allowing it to be seen on television, for 17 years until 1974, when Paramount managed to secure the rights to reissue it.

    The screenplay was written before John Wayne became involved in the project. The writer had Marlon Brando in mind for the role. According to Harry Medved and Michael Medved's 1984 book "The Hollywood Hall of Shame", Wayne's casting in this film came about during a conversation with director Dick Powell. Wayne was about the make the last film of a three-picture deal for RKO Radio and Powell had been assigned to direct. They were going over various scripts in Powell's office when the latter was called away for a few minutes. When Powell returned, he found Wayne enthusiastically looking over a script that Powell had intended throwing in the waste basket. It was the screenplay for "The Conqueror". Powell tried to talk him out of it, but Wayne insisted that this was the film he wanted to make. As Powell later summed it up, "Who am I to turn down John Wayne?"

    Average Shot Length = ~8.2 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~7.5 seconds.

    This became the final motion picture project for billionaire Howard Hughes, ending his thirty year involvement with the industry. Jet Pilot (1957), a film he produced in 1949, would finally be released the following year.

    This film is listed among The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE.

    One of the films included in "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (and how they got that way)" by Harry Medved and Randy Lowell.

    John Wayne regretted playing Temujin in The Conqueror (1956) so much that he visibly shuddered whenever anyone mentioned the film's name. He once remarked that the moral of the film was "not to make an ass of yourself trying to play parts you're not suited for.

    * Continuity: When Temujin shoots a flaming arrow to signal his troops to enter Urga, it is night, but when the troops see the arrow, it is daylight.

    * Revealing mistakes: When Temujin throws a spear at a man in a stream, the wire guiding it is visible. The spear's trajectory is also wobbly.

    * Incorrectly regarded as goofs: This is not a historical documentary nor a biopic, but rather a romantic fiction loosely inspired by true people and events. Liberties are taken with costume, custom, weapons technology, and the circumstances in which the depicted individuals really died. Utah "plays the role" of Mongolia (with its unique landmarks visible), and many actors playing Mongolians do not look Mongolian at all, but this is part of the suspension of disbelief that informs this movie's atmosphere.

    * Continuity: SPOILER: After Temujin kills the Shaman and a guard in Wang Khan's bedroom his sword is clean, but when he bangs on the gong outside the bedroom to address his troops, there is blood on the sword.

    * Continuity: SPOILER: After Jamuga escapes from his cell and Kasar is killed, a guard pushes him on top of a sundial. The shadow cast by the sundial is pointing left when Jamuga is pushed against the sundial, then pointing right when Jamuga kills the guard.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Escalante Desert, St. George, Utah, USA
    Hurricane, Utah, USA
    RKO Studios - 780 Gower Street, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
    Snow Canyon State Park - 1002 Snow Canyon Drive, Ivins, Utah, USA
    Snow Canyon, Utah, USA
    St. George, Utah, USA

    Previous Discussion:-
    The Conqueror