Soldier of Fortune (1955 film)
Soldier of Fortune is a 1955 DeLuxe Color adventure film in CinemaScope about the rescue of an American prisoner in the People's Republic of China in the 1950s. It was directed by Edward Dmytryk, starred Clark Gable and Susan Hayward, and was written by Ernest K. Gann based on his 1954 novel.
|Soldier of Fortune|
|Directed by||Edward Dmytryk|
|Produced by||Buddy Adler|
|Written by||Ernest K. Gann|
|Based on||Soldier of Fortune|
by Ernest K. Gann
|Music by||Hugo Friedhofer|
|Edited by||Dorothy Spencer|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$2,750,000 (US rentals)|
Jane Hoyt (Susan Hayward) arrives in Hong Kong, looking for her husband, thrill-seeking photojournalist Louis (Gene Barry). She attracts the eye of shady shipping magnate Hank Lee (Clark Gable). With his help, she learns that Louis entered Communist China and was imprisoned as a suspected spy.
She decides to arrange his escape. Hank advises her to give up the foolhardy venture, but she refuses. She foolishly meets Fernand Rocha (Mel Welles) alone and gives him a $500 deposit to set up a rescue, but he merely gambles the money away and locks her up for his lecherous purposes. Word reaches Hank in time to save her.
Having fallen in love with Jane and realising that she will not let herself get involved with him while her husband's fate remains uncertain, Hank decides to rescue the man himself. Hong Kong Marine Police Inspector Merryweather (Michael Rennie) is inspecting Hank's junk when Hank decides to make his attempt, and gets shanghaied into helping rescue the husband who is being held in prison in Canton.
Louis is freed. Merryweather is forced to help Hank fight off a pursuing Chinese gunboat. When they return safely to Hong Kong, Louis graciously bows out of his wife's life.
- Clark Gable as Hank Lee
- Susan Hayward as Jane Hoyt
- Michael Rennie as Inspector Merryweather
- Gene Barry as Louis Hoyt
- Alexander D'Arcy as Rene Dupont Chevalier (as Alex D'Arcy)
- Tom Tully as Tweedie, owner of Tweedie's Bar
- Anna Sten as Madame Dupree
- Russell Collins as Icky, piano player
- Leo Gordon as Big Matt
- Richard Loo as General Po Lin, an impoverished exile who offers to guide Jane to Macao to see Rocha, but is taken off the ferry by the Communists
- Soo Yong as Dak Lai
- Frank Tang as Capt. Ying Fai
- Jack Kruschen as Austin Stoker, Lee's assistant
- Mel Welles as Fernand Rocha
The film was based on a novel by Ernest Gann. Gann had lived in Hong Kong in his youth working for a telephone company and always wanted to write a book set there. He moved there in 1953, hired a Chinese junk and researched and wrote the novel.
Gann's novel attracted the interest of film studios before it had been published. His novels Island in the Sky and The High and the Mighty had just been filmed with John Wayne and Wayne became interested in purchasing the film rights.> However, film rights went to 20th Century Fox, who had a deal with Clark Gable, and Gable asked them to buy the novel as a vehicle for him. Buddy Adler was assigned to produce, Edward Dmyrtryk to direct and Gann to write the script.
Susan Hayward signed to play the female lead. The film was set mostly in Hong Kong and was filmed on location there, but Hayward could not take her children there because she was in the middle of a divorce. She offered to pull out of the film. Instead the film was rewritten and scenes featuring her were filmed in Hollywood. In a few brief outdoor scenes shot at Hong Kong landmarks, a Hayward double with her back to the camera was shown with Gable.
David Niven was going to play the police inspector, but then decided he did not want to go to Hong Kong, so the role was taken by Michael Rennie.
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- "Gable — Soldier of Fortune". The World's News (2793). New South Wales, Australia. July 2, 1955. p. 12. Retrieved April 22, 2018 – via National Library of Australia.