CARY GRANT as a sword wielding captain in the British Navy of 1810, FRANK SINATRA playing a Spanish peasant.
You’re making it up! Nope. It happened in THE PRIDE AND THE PASSION in 1957.
Actors want to extend their range, but Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra were such modern personalities, it’s hard to accept them in costume drama.
The film was shot in Spain and produced and directed by Stanley Kramer.
In 1810, Napoleon’s forces have invaded Spain. A large cannon belonging to the Spanish has been abandoned in the countryside.
The French are searching for it. Grant’s character is tasked with ensuring the cannon goes to British forces.
Sinatra is the leader of the Spanish guerillas, with Sophia as his girlfriend who becomes attracted to Grant.
You could argue the colossal cannon is the star of the film. Certainly most of the writing is devoted to the movement of the cannon to its destination at the French stronghold of Avila. Seeing it careering through a forest and flattening everything in its path is pretty spectacular.
I never thought I’d describe a Cary Grant performance as dull, but he is so woefully miscast, there doesn’t seem to be anything he can do to bring the character to life.
Sinatra underplays it so much, you can’t see any intensity,which is needed for the role of the freedom fighter.Certainly no passion.
How Cary or Frank ever agreed to do the film will remain a mystery, though some say both wanted away from America at the time.
Stanley Kramer originally wanted Marlon Brando and Ava Gardner as Grant’s costars. I would have been happy with them, but would also have re-cast Grant .
Or am I prejudiced! Historical epics are my least favourite kind of movie.
Below are some photos from the film.