Timbuktu is a 1959 American black-and-white adventure film directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Victor Mature and Yvonne de Carlo. It is set in Timbuktu (Africa), but was filmed in the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Kanab, Utah.[1]

Original film poster
Directed byJacques Tourneur
Written byPaul Dudley
Anthony Veiller
Produced byEdward Small
StarringVictor Mature
Yvonne de Carlo
CinematographyMaury Gertsman
Music byGerald Fried
Imperial Pictures
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • November 22, 1959 (1959-11-22)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States

Plot edit

In 1940, France is at war with Germany. The French have removed large numbers of troops from their African possessions, leaving the way open for revolt. American soldier of fortune Mike Conway (Victor Mature) sees a chance to pay his way back to the United States by running guns to hostile Tuaregs.

Wearing a slouch hat and bush jacket, Conway is armed with a Thompson submachine gun and a wristwatch with an alarm engraved "From Conway to Conway". He finds himself walking a razor's edge between an anti-French Tuareg leader (John Dehner) keen for Conway's supply of weapons but keener to use his tarantulas on his prisoners, a moderate imam (Leonard Mudie) wanting peace, the local French Foreign Legion commander (George Dolenz), and the commander's attractive wife (Yvonne de Carlo) who Conway cannot keep away from.

Cast edit

Turkish actor Feridun Çölgeçen was credited as technical adviser. Fred Carson acted as both stuntman and Victor Mature's stand-in.[2]

Production edit

The film was originally meant to be shot on location in colour and widescreen based on an idea of Small and Frank Cavett with Stuart Heisler to direct.[3] Later, there was a script done by Horace McCoy.[4] At one stage, the film was going to be made by the team of Clarence Greene and Russell Rouse, who were making films for Small.[5]

In 1956 producer Edward Small registered several titles for the film, including: East of Timbuktu, West of Timbuktu, North of Timbuktu, South of Timbuktu (a technique of titling films that William Witney described as "boxing the compass"), The Road to Timbuktu, and Timbuktu Theme.[6] However, he eventually settled on the plain title Timbuktu.[7] In 1957, Anthony Veillier signed to write a script.[8]

Mature signed in February 1958.[9] Filming started May 1958 in Kanab, Utah.[10][11] Parts of the film were shot in the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.[12]

Director Jacques Tourneur claimed that producer Small thought the film was not long enough so he inserted reaction shots of close-ups of various actors all throughout the film.[13]

Edward Small felt so embarrassed by the film that he removed his name from the final credits.[13]

Reception and legacy edit

Writer and actor Jacques Lourcelles considers Timbuktu to be one of director Jacques Tourneur's very best films.[14]

References edit

  1. ^ "Cedar City Real Estate mountain cabins Duck Creek Village". Utahmountains.com. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  2. ^ "Victor Mature Stunt Double and friend Fred Carson". Victormature.org. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  3. ^ Schallert, Edwin. (Sep 28, 1953). "Drama: Walter Hampden Takes Over Stone Role; Lyle Bettger to Fret Murphy". Los Angeles Times. p. B7.
  4. ^ Schallert, Edwin. (Apr 22, 1954). "Drama: 'Timbuktu' Scheduled as African Epic; Large Jubilee Will Proceed". Los Angeles Times. p. B9.
  5. ^ THOMAS M. PRYOR (Aug 31, 1954). "GREENE AND ROUSE TO MAKE 12 FILMS: They Form Team to Produce, Write and Direct With the Backing of Edward Small". New York Times. p. 26.
  6. ^ THOMAS M. PRYOR (Sep 30, 1956). "HOLLYWOOD SCENE: Producer Jerry Lewis Descants on His 'Delicate Delinquent'--Other Items Purpose Inducement Double Duty Title Tangle". New York Times. p. X7.
  7. ^ "Timbuktu (1959)". Tcm.com. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  8. ^ THOMAS M. PRYOR (Jan 10, 1957). "NEWMAN TO STAR IN MICHENER TALE: Actor and Jean Simmons Will Be in Film Based on Story From 'Return to Paradise' Neame Quits Metro Film Of Local Origin". New York Times. p. 26.
  9. ^ THOMAS M. PRYOR (Feb 18, 1958). "SAMMY DAVIS JR. JOINS 'PORGY' CAST: Will Portray Sportin' Life in Goldwyn Film -- Lee Cobb Signed for 2 Roles". New York Times. p. 23.
  10. ^ "FILM EVENTS: Brynner in Vienna Picture". Los Angeles Times. Apr 30, 1958. p. B7.
  11. ^ ROBERT JOSEPH HOLLYWOOD. (Oct 5, 1958). "WINNING OF THE WESTERN 'LOCATIONS'". New York Times. p. X8.
  12. ^ James V. D'Arc (2010). When Hollywood Came to Town: A History of Moviemaking in Utah (1st ed.). Layton: Gibbs Smith. p. 289. ISBN 978-1-4236-0587-4. Wikidata Q123575108.
  13. ^ a b Fujiwara, Chris Jacques Tourneur: The Cinema of Nightfall McFarland p.263
  14. ^ Lourcelles, Jacques. "Note sur Jacques Tourneur". Retrieved 15 June 2021.

External links edit