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The Proud and Profane

The Proud and Profane(1956)

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The working titles of this film were A Breed Apart, The Magnificent Bastards and The Magnificent Devils. The film was also reviewed under the title The Proud and the Profane. The film opens with the following written foreword: "1943: Noumea, on the Free French Island of New Caledonia, was the crossroads of the South Pacific. Eighty thousand men of the Army, Marines and Navy trained here and waited for the day to begin the long push northward. Eighty thousand men-and a handful of women." The onscreen credits note the association of technical advisors Margaret Hagan, Louise A. Wood and Mary Lousie Dowling of The American National Red Cross.
       According to the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the PCA expressed great concern over the sexual conduct between the film's lead characters, "Lee Ashley" and "Lt. Col. Colin Black." In an July 11, 1955 letter to the producers, the PCA called for a more "sufficient 'voice of morality' within the film," noting that it must be made clear that Lee becomes pregnant from an illicit affair, as it was not acceptable to have sex before marriage, even if she thought she was engaged.
       According to Hedda Hopper's column, published by Los Angeles Times on April 13, 1954, Paramount was trying to persuade Clark Gable to appear as "Black" in The Proud and Profane. Lucy Herndon Crockett, whose novel Magnificent Bastards was the basis of the film, informed Hopper that she had suggested Burt Lancaster for the same role. That same month, Hollywood Reporter reported that writer Edmund Hartmann had begun working on script to The Magnificent Bastards, though no producer had been assigned to the project, nor was there a start date. It has not been determined what, if any, of Hartmann's work was used in the final script.
       According to Hollywood Reporter, portions of the film were shot on location in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico. BHC reported that location filming in the Virgin Islands was initially delayed, as the film crew arrived in St. Thomas at same time as hurricanes "Connie" and "Diane." Due to the emergency, the production agreed to temporarily turn over its equipment trucks to the local authorities in order to help with the evacuation of the island's remote population.
       Hollywood Reporter news items include Keith Stafford in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter production charts also include Nancy Sinatra in the cast, but her appearance in the film is highly doubtful; it is more likely that her name was confused with that of actress Nancy Stevens, who appeared in the film as Red Cross worker "Evvie." The picture marked the feature film debut of Broadway actor Robert Morse. The Proud and Profane received two Academy Award nominations: Edith Head was nominated for her costume design and Hal Pereira, Earl Hedrick, Sam Comer and Frank McKelvy were nominated in the category of art direction/set decoration (black and white).