The Houston Story
|The Houston Story|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||William Castle|
|Produced by||Sam Katzman|
|Screenplay by||James B. Gordon|
|Story by||James B. Gordon|
|Edited by||Edwin H. Bryant|
|Color process||Black and white|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
Frank Duncan (Barry), a shrewd oil driller from Galveston, Texas, conceives a plan to sneakily siphon millions of dollars' worth of oil from the oil fields and sell it as his own. He goes through nightclub singer Zoe Crane (Hale) to insinuate himself with a Houston mobster, Paul Atlas (Arnold) to get financing for his scheme.
Atlas tells right-hand man Gordon Shay privately that he plans to double-cross Duncan as soon as the money's in hand. Chris Barker, a gunman, robs Duncan and intends to murder him, but Duncan is able to push Barker off an oil rig to his death.
Duncan tries to make a getaway with the help of true-blue girlfriend Madge, but the hard-hearted Zoe steals his money and lies to Madge that Duncan has betrayed her. A pair of Atlas's thugs snatch Zoe, take her money and toss her from a moving car. Shay is killed, but before Duncan can get away, the cops close in on him and he's forced to surrender.
- Gene Barry as Frank Duncan
- Barbara Hale as Zoe Crane
- Edward Arnold as Paul Atlas
- Paul Richards as Gordon Shay
- Jeanne Cooper as Madge
- Frank Jenks as Louie Phelan
- John Zaremba as Emile Constant
- Chris Alcaide as Chris Barker
- Jack Littlefield as Willie Lucas (as Jack V. Littlefield)
- Paul Levitt as Duke
- Fred Krone as Marsh
- Pete Kellett as Kalo
The film went through a major casting change while in production on location in Houston. Originally set for the lead role was acclaimed character actor Lee J. Cobb. But Cobb suffered a heart attack on May 8 after filming an exhausting fight sequence, in part due to the heat in Texas, where the scene was shot. Cobb was not able to work for the three more days of location scenes on the schedule. Director William Castle, who resembled Cobb, doubled for him in these scenes. Ten weeks later Cobb had recovered enough to return to work. However he then suffered another heart attack and had to be replaced.
Castle says footage of himself and Cobb remains in the final film.
- The Houston Story at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Castle, William (1976). Step right up! : ... I'm gonna scare the pants off America. Putnam. p. 128.
- "Houston TV Announcer Draws Cobb Role". Variety. July 6, 1953. p. 5.
- "The Houston Story". film article at TCM Movie Database. Retrieved 2014-08-22.
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