IMDb > The Defiant Ones (1958)
The Defiant Ones
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The Defiant Ones (1958) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Nedrick Young (written by) (originally as Nathan E. Douglas)
Harold Jacob Smith (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Defiant Ones on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
27 September 1958 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
One of the great ones! See more »
Plot:
Two escaped convicts chained together, white and black, must learn to get along in order to elude capture. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Won 2 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 19 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Cellmates and Soulmates See more (64 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Tony Curtis ... John 'Joker' Jackson

Sidney Poitier ... Noah Cullen

Theodore Bikel ... Sheriff Max Muller

Charles McGraw ... Capt. Frank Gibbons

Lon Chaney Jr. ... Big Sam (as Lon Chaney)
King Donovan ... Solly

Claude Akins ... Mack
Lawrence Dobkin ... Editor

Whit Bissell ... Lou Gans

Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer ... Angus (as Carl Switzer)
Kevin Coughlin ... Billy
Cara Williams ... Billy's Mother
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
James Dime ... Townsman (uncredited)
Clem Fuller ... Search Party Member (uncredited)

Ned Glass ... Doctor (uncredited)
Mickey Golden ... Search Party Member (uncredited)
Herman Hack ... Search Party Member (uncredited)
Signe Hack ... Townswoman (uncredited)
Bill Lovett ... Townsman (uncredited)
Boyd 'Red' Morgan ... Townsman (uncredited)
Harold Jacob Smith ... Prison Truck Driver (uncredited)
Nedrick Young ... Prison Guard in Truck (uncredited)
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Directed by
Stanley Kramer 
 
Writing credits
Nedrick Young (written by) originally as Nathan E. Douglas

Harold Jacob Smith (written by)

Produced by
Stanley Kramer .... producer
 
Original Music by
Ernest Gold 
 
Cinematography by
Sam Leavitt (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Frederic Knudtson (film editor)
 
Production Design by
Rudolph Sternad 
 
Art Direction by
Fernando Carrere 
 
Set Decoration by
Joseph Kish  (as Joe Kish)
 
Makeup Department
Don L. Cash .... makeup (as Don Cash)
 
Production Management
Clem Beauchamp .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Paul Helmick .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Art Cole .... property master
 
Sound Department
Walter Elliott .... sound effects
Jean L. Speak .... sound engineer (as James Speak)
Wayne Fury .... sound editor (uncredited)
John Mick .... sound editor (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Alex Weldon .... special effects
 
Stunts
Ivan Dixon .... stunt double: Sidney Poitier (uncredited)
Robert F. Hoy .... stunt double: Tony Curtis (uncredited)
Boyd 'Red' Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
James Almond .... chief gaffer
Al Myers .... camera operator
Morris Rosen .... company grip
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Joe King .... costume supervisor
 
Music Department
Jack Marshall .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
John Franco .... script supervisor
Stanley Kramer .... presenter
Cindy James .... dog trainer (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
96 min (Turner library print) (copyright length)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Robert Mitchum turned down the Tony Curtis' role. Mitchum, a real-life veteran of a Southern chain gang, said that he didn't believe the premise that a black and white man would be chained together, as such a thing would never happen in the very strictly segregated South. Over the years, this reason was corrupted to the point where many people now believe Mitchum turned down the role because he didn't want to be chained to a black man, an absolute falsehood. Curtis repeated the inaccurate story in his autobiography, but since has recanted after it was explained to him.See more »
Goofs:
Crew or equipment visible: As John and Noah are swept downriver together, a person is seen on the shore moving into the top of frame, watching the two men.See more »
Quotes:
Noah Cullen:[to John] Go on, tell me all that big talk about Charlie Potatoes, when the chains off and nobody chasing you. Come on. You can't, can you? You can't because you're nothing. You're not even a man! You're a monkey on a stick. That cracker mob back there, they pull the string and you jump.
[John punches him]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Long GoneSee more »

FAQ

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
Cellmates and Soulmates, 8 August 2007
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

There is this story going around that Robert Mitchum refused the part Tony Curtis eventually played because he did not want to work with a black man. The actual story is that Mitchum who did spend time on a southern chain gang said there was no way that back in the day a black and white man would have been chained together in the first place. In fact Stanley Kramer must have taken the critique in stride because sheriff Theodore Bikel has a line of explanation saying the warden had a sense of humor.

Though the film dates a bit, it's still quite dramatic even now. Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier chained together have an unplanned jail break while being transported. Curtis has all the attitudes typical of his time and Poitier doesn't take nothing off anybody. Still joined at the hip as they are, they do need each other and find eventually there's more that unites than divides them.

Besides Theodore Bikel in a strange role for him as a laconic southern sheriff, look for good performances from Lon Chaney, Jr. who runs a turpentine work camp who saves Curtis and Poitier from a lynching and Cara Williams as a trampy white trash farm lady whose needs haven't been met for a while.

Tony Curtis in an incredible act of generosity insisted on equal billing for Sidney Poitier since due to the nature of the film, they are on screen together for most of it. That act of generosity may have cost him an Oscar for both he and Poitier were nominated for Best Actor, but lost to David Niven for Separate Tables. An act that rankles Tony Curtis to this day because at the drop of a hat he will insist Niven got 'his' Oscar.

Despite the sour grapes, The Defiant Ones though dated is still a good bit of cinema.

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