Silver City (1951 film)

Silver City is a 1951 American Western film directed by Byron Haskin and starring Edmond O'Brien, Yvonne De Carlo, and Barry Fitzgerald.[2]

Silver City
Newspaper advertisement
Directed byByron Haskin
Produced byNat Holt
Written byFrank Gruber
Based onHigh Vermilion
by Luke Short
StarringEdmond O'Brien
Yvonne De Carlo
Barry Fitzgerald
Music byPaul Sawtell
CinematographyRay Rennahan
Edited byElmo Billings
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • December 1, 1951 (1951-12-01)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1 million (US rentals)[1]

It was also known as High Vermilion.[3]


When the mining office of Charlie Storrs is robbed by two bandits, his right-hand man Larkin Moffatt gives chase. Larkin catches up to the riders, but then rides off, never to return. A furious Charlie fires him and spreads the word that Larkin is not a man to be trusted. Another very interested party is Josephine Storrs, who once was Larkin's woman but has recently married Charlie instead.

In the town of Silver City, where he is not known, Larkin settles down and opens a mining assayer's office. Candace Surrency is pleased when Larkin confirms the value of the ore sample she brought him, but distressed because her dad, Dutch, is leasing the mine and has just 12 days to get while he can before mineral rights revert to the already rich and wealthy RR Jarboe.

Candace's foreman is beaten by a henchman of Jarboe's. She tries to get Larkin to work for her, but he declines.

Into town ride Charlie and Jo, curious about Silver City mining opportunities. They are shocked to find Larkin there. It soon becomes clear that Jo only married Charlie for his money, not for love.

Charlie helps turn Jarboe against Larkin.

Jarboe's men sabotage the mine. Candace continues to plead for Larkin's help, but he resists. He does explain that he indeed was in on the robbery, planning it as a way to get more money for the greedy Jo, until a guilty conscious led him to leave for good, not spending the stolen loot.

In a final gunfight, Larkin is able to shoot two of Jarboe's henchmen. The only casualty is Candace's father, Dutch. As soon as the law can restore order, Larkin intends to see if he and Candace can become business partners and more.



The film was based on the 1947 novel High Vermillion. (This was reprinted in 1949 s Hands Off.[4])

In February 1951 film rights were bought by producer Nat Holt who hired Frank Gruber to do a script.[5]

The title was changed to Silver City and Edmond O'Brien was signed to star.[6]

Rhonda Fleming was originally announced as O'Brien's co star. However by late March 1951 Yvonne de Carlo signed to play the female lead.[7] "It's a very real, believable character," she said.[8] Her fee by this stage was $50,000 a film.[9]

Filming started on 30 April 1951 by which stage the title had been changed to Silver City.[10][11]

De Carlo later made another film for Holt at Paramount, Hurricane Smith (1952).


The Los Angeles Times said the storyline was occasionally "baffling" but the film was full of "heaps of novel and exciting incidents".[12]


  1. "Top Box-Office Hits of 1952", Variety, January 7, 1953
  3. HIGH VERMILION Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 19, Iss. 216, (Jan 1, 1952): 6.
  4. Books Published Today New York Times 15 July 1949: 17.
  5. "Drama: Howard Duff Will Soon Starr in 'Cave'". Los Angeles Times. 9 Feb 1951. p. B10.
  6. "Drama: Milland, Brian, Carter in 'Bugles;' Nat Holt Buys Oceanic Subject". Los Angeles Times. 25 Apr 1951. p. A7.
  7. WALD AND KRASNA IN DEAL WITH ANTA New York Times 28 Mar 1951: 33.
  8. "Yvonne De Carlo Pins Hopes for Future on Switch to Dramatic and Singing Roles". Los Angeles Times. 27 May 1951. p. D1.
  9. De Carlo p 157
  10. Boyer to Portray Hindu; Sally Forrest Dramatic; Monroe Deal Simmering Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 8 Mar 1951: B11.
  11. TV FILM SHOWDOWN NEARING ON COAST By THOMAS F. BRADY New York Times 25 Apr 1951: 34.
  12. ACTION AND ROMANCE KEYNOTE 'SILVER CITY' Los Angeles Times 21 Dec 1951: B6.
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