The View from Pompey's Head (film)

The View from Pompey's Head is a 1955 American drama film written and directed by Philip Dunne. It is based on the 1954 novel The View from Pompey's Head by Hamilton Basso. The film stars Richard Egan, Dana Wynter, Cameron Mitchell, Sidney Blackmer, Marjorie Rambeau and Dorothy Patrick. The film was released on November 4, 1955, by 20th Century Fox.[1][2][3]

The View from Pompey's Head
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPhilip Dunne
Produced byPhilip Dunne
Screenplay byPhilip Dunne
Based onThe View from Pompey's Head
by Hamilton Basso
StarringRichard Egan
Dana Wynter
Cameron Mitchell
Sidney Blackmer
Marjorie Rambeau
Dorothy Patrick
Music byElmer Bernstein
CinematographyJoseph MacDonald
Edited byRobert L. Simpson
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • November 4, 1955 (1955-11-04)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States




Original Novel

The film was based on a novel published in 1954. The novel took several years to write.[4]

Reviews were, on the whole, superb. The New York Times praised it as a book of "controlled art and distinction".[5]

The book became a best seller.[6] A copy of it was on the bedside of Serge Rubinstein when he was discovered murdered.[7]

Film Development

Film rights were purchased by 20th Century Fox in November 1954 for a reported $100,000. Fox head of production Darryl F. Zanuck said "It's a terrible title, but the rave notices of the book and the distinguished manner of writing make this much more than an everage suspense story."[8] Julian Blaustein was assigned to produce, Phillip Dunne to write and direct. Zanuck wanted Gregory Peck to star.[9]

Blaustein resigned from Fox in December.[10] Dunne took over as producer.

Peck did not end up appearing in the film. Fox tried to borrow Glenn Ford but he was under contract to MGM who would not loan him out.[11] Dunne ended up casting studio star Richard Egan. Because Egan was busy on Seven Cities of Gold filming on Head was pushed back to June 2.[12]

"I wrote it for Bill Holden and Audrey Hepburn," said Dunne later. "Both were busy elsewhere. I had to make it with Richard Egan and Dana Wynter, who are just as good actors but lacked sex appeal. Making movies is a matter of making compromises."[13]


  1. "The View from Pompey's Head (1955) - Overview". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  2. Hal Erickson. "The View from Pompey's Head (1955) - Philip Dunne". AllMovie. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  3. "The View from Pompey's Head". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  4. Talk With Hamilton Basso By LEWIS NICHOLS. New York Times 24 Oct 1954: BR22.
  5. Books of The Times By ORVILLE PRESCOTT. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]20 Oct 1954: 27.
  6. Best Seller List New York Times 7 Nov 1954: BR8.
  7. Millionaire Draft Dodger Serge Rubinstein Murdered: Body Found in Bedroom of His N.Y. Mansion Los Angeles Times 28 Jan 1955: 2.
  8. Darryl Pays High for Basso Book The Washington Post and Times Herald 8 Nov 1954: 24.
  9. Peck Viewed for 'View,' Frank Courts Bergman; Gene Kelly Writes, Too Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 9 Nov 1954: B7.
  10. STUDIO TO SET UP A STOCK COMPANY: In Quest for New Film Talent, Allied Artists Plans Troupe of 8 Young Performers By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to The New York Times. New York Times 8 Dec 1954: 43.
  11. Harte Classic Augments $25,000,000 Program; Glenn Ford Film Ready Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]15 Apr 1955: A7.
  12. Marquand Story Likely for Bogart; New Italy Film Set for Crawford Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 19 May 1955: b11.
  13. Philip Dunne looks back at movies' golden age: [SA2 Edition]Jim Bawden Toronto Star 27 Jan 1990: G8.
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