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Yellow Sky (1948)

Approved | | Crime, Western | January 1949 (USA)
Trailer
1:39 | Trailer

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A pistol-packing tomboy and her grandfather discover a band of bank robbing bandits taking refuge in the neighboring ghost town.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

Lamar Trotti (screenplay), W.R. Burnett (story)
Reviews
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gregory Peck ... James 'Stretch' Dawson
Anne Baxter ... Constance Mae 'Mike'
Richard Widmark ... Dude
Robert Arthur ... Bull Run
John Russell ... Lengthy
Harry Morgan ... Half Pint (as Henry Morgan)
James Barton ... Grandpa
Charles Kemper ... Walrus
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Storyline

A band of bank robbers on the run from a posse flee into the desert. Near death from lack of water they stumble into what appears to be a ghost town, only to discover an old prospector and his granddaughter living there. The robbers discover that the old man has been mining gold and set out to make a quick fortune by robbing the pair. Their plan runs foul when the gang leader, Stretch, falls for the granddaughter, which sets off a showdown between the entire gang. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It was a moment for being a woman for only a woman's weapon could keep her alive... now! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Herrin der toten Stadt See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,600,000, 31 December 1948
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Initially, Paulette Goddard was cast as Mike. See more »

Goofs

Just before beginning to cross the salt flats after the bank robbery, Dude pulls his saddle stirrup out to jump into it, but misses. The scene cuts immediately to another view, showing him successfully mounting the horse. See more »

Quotes

James 'Stretch' Dawson: I ain't talkin to hear my voice. I'm ordering ya.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: The West - 1867 See more »

Connections

Version of The Tempest (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Sad and I'm Lonely
(uncredited)
Performed by Charles Kemper
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Totally solid, gorgeous, archetypal film about loyalty, greed, and love
23 October 2010 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Yellow Sky (1948)

A classic and somewhat formulaic, beautifully photographed Western with a couple small twists. The main thing you might not catch is that this is an adaptation of "The Tempest," by Shakespeare. Here, the band of travelers crosses a metaphoric sea (the desert) and reaches a "New World" where they sort out what matters between them. The set was built (and deliberately destroyed) from an old silent film set that was left over.

Of note--Gregory Peck and Richard Widmark together for their only time, and they inevitably end up as enemies. The setting is the amazing and deadly Death Valley, and the locations shooting is shot there for authenticity. William Wellman was one of those consistently excellent directors who never really made a bad film, but didn't always make exceptional ones, and this one is right in his usual mix of strong visuals, tight editing, fairly simple dramatic plots, and a key actor or two to identify with.

Ann Baxter is the third leading character, and she's pretty much right on, with some grit and determination, but also a little too isolated for her own good. She's a kind of parallel to the really touch Mercedes McCambridge in "Johnny Guitar," a far more inventive movie, but one where an isolated woman (or two) have to fight off the greedy male rabble. Sort of like life, sometimes. Note that "Johnny Guitar" is four years later.

Besides Wellman's expertise, cinematographer Joe MacDonald's work is really worth noticing, for once again he helps elevate a fairly straightforward plot into something hard bitten, layered, and beautiful. MacDonald, born in Mexico, really came into his own by the late forties, and is behind a whole bunch of noir and western classics (as well as the famous "How to Marry a Millionaire"). In all, it's a really good movie, no question.


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