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The Big Sky (1952)

Passed  -  Drama | Western  -  19 August 1952 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,555 users  
Reviews: 46 user | 17 critic

The success of the journey focuses on keeping the Indian girl alive as well as themselves to complete trade with the Blackfeet.

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(screenplay), (novel), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Big Sky (1952)

The Big Sky (1952) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jim Deakins
...
Boone Caudill
Elizabeth Threatt ...
Teal Eye
Arthur Hunnicutt ...
Zeb Calloway
Buddy Baer ...
Romaine
Steven Geray ...
'Frenchy' Jourdonnais (Riverboat Captain)
Henri Letondal ...
La Badie
...
Poordevil
...
Streak
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Theirs the great adventure... (original one-sheet poster) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

19 August 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Howard Hawks' The Big Sky  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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." See more »

Goofs

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. See more »

Quotes

Zeb Calloway: I remember once there being a trapper named Parker. He run smack into a big grizzly bear. The bear sure made a mess out of Parker before we killed it. Ripped one of his ears clear off. But this child just happened to have a needle and some of this deer sinew, just like we got here. Yeah, while his ear was still hot, I picked it up and sewed it back on his head. And it growed most as good as ever.
[and a little later]
Zeb Calloway: I said growed most as good as ever. Not hardly. It seems I sewed Parker's ear ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

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. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Brandy Leave Me Alone
(uncredited)
Written by Josef Marais
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A great film brings us back to the dreams of our prime
31 July 2003 | by (Padova, Italy) – See all my reviews

Everything in "The big sky" has the brand of greatness: story, direction, acting, script, photography, locations. Yet there's something more. Along the film, director Howard Hawks keeps touching profound strings of our souls. Indeed, we grown-up viewers are, more or less consciously, brought back to the dreams of our prime, which is always a source of sweet, though melancholic, bliss. Every young boy has dreamed a totally free life like that of the guys on the screen. Action and adventure, merged into a wild, glorious, almost impossibly beautiful nature. Having fun with our mates, and, when necessary, fighting against the bad ones. Contacting the cultures of far-away, fascinating populations. And, as the main benefit, loving a gorgeous Indian girl.

Follows an incomplete exposition of the other merits of "The big sky". The film is brilliantly made and interpreted. The actors are all outstanding. Arthur Hunnicutt dominates. Kirk Douglas' natural dynamic way is perfect for his role. Dewey Martin is excellent, as well. Special mentions to Elizabeth Threatt as Teal Eye and to Hank Worden as the funny but smart Poordevil. The black and white photography is magnificent. Indeed, only black and white seems capable to render the incredible bright of Threatt's eyes. And it fully respects and gives depth to the beauty of nature.

As usual in Howard Hawks' works, the movie is based on swift-pace-action amalgamated with the human interaction of the characters. Here we have a world with no established laws, out of those of nature. People survive if they recognize who is a friend and who is an enemy, independently on being white or native. The mixture of languages, English, French, Native, and related, often funny, translations, is a fine device to give realism to the script. The love story develops at the rhythm of nature, similarly to the endless journey of the keel-boat, and it's even touching at the ending. We also see that irrational hate is not just criminal nonsense, it's even ridiculous.

It seems that "The big sky" was considerably cut by the studios. In fact, some magnificent choral scenes appears to be too short. One instance for all: the paramount scene of the Blackfeet hauling the keel-boat on the river lasts just few seconds. To cut the film was certainly a very bad idea. Fortunately, "The big sky" remains a masterpiece, worth of Hawks' immense talent and genius. Well, it's enough clear that I like this movie. Indeed, I strongly believe that Howard Hawks was born to give us joy. "The big sky" is a major evidence in favor of my opinion.


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