The Pride and the Passion (1957)

 

 

Director:  Stanley Kramer

Starring:     Cary Grant (Anthony),  Frank Sinatra (Miguel),  Sophia Loren (Juana),  Theodore Bikel (Gen. Jouvet),  John Wengraf (Germaine),  Jay Novello (Gallinger),  Josť Nieto (Carlos),  Carlos Larraaga (Josť),  Philip Van Zandt (Fidal),  Paco El Laberinto (Manolo),  JuliŠn Ugarte (Enrique),  Fťlix de Pomťs (Bishop),  Carlos Casaravilla (Leonardo),  Juan Olaguivel (Ramůn),  Nana DeHerrera (MarŪa),  Carlos De Mendoza (Francisco),  Luis Guedes (French soldier). 

A British Officer (Cary Grant) takes partial command of a monstrous cannon that has to be transported a long distance in order to use it in an assault on the French-occupied city of Avila during the Peninsular War of the Napoleonic Wars. 

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film.

1810. The French legions of Napoleon smash across Spain. Crushed and bleeding the Spanish army retreats into the darkest page of a nationís history.

Thousands of Spanish troops traipse away from battle field watched by the commanding officer. A messenger comes up to tell the officer that there is another problem with moving the big cannon. So the officer tells him to get rid of it. And leave it for the French? The officer again says to get rid of it. They push the massive cannon to the edge of a hill and push it over. The cannon races to the bottom of the hill where the carriage completely breaks up.

The French commander asks the Major how can let a seven-ton, forty-two-foot cannon slip through his fingers? He says General Jouvet wants the cannon. The English want that cannon too and are sending an agent to Spain to get it.

The British agent is set ashore on the coast of Spain at Las Cruces.   He travels by coach inland. He arrives in town and is taken to army headquarters. The Brit tells a fellow at the desk that he is looking for General Larenaís staff. "Theyíve retreated," says the Spaniard. The only fighters left are the guerrilleros. The fellow in charge demands that the Brit give over his orders to him. The Brit says no, but has to give in. The fellow in charge calls in the beautiful Juana who reads the orders. The orders introduce naval Captain Anthony Trumbell. His orders are to take the huge cannon to Santander to keep it out of Napoleonís hands. (Santander is on the northern coast of Spain between Gijon on the west and Bilbao on the east.)

Trumbell is taken to see the gun. The guerrillero leader, named Miguel, gives the Captain everything he needs to repair the cannonís carriage. They also have to haul it up the side of the hill. A unit of French cavalry is seen in the area across the valley. They have an hour before the unit will arrive. So they cut down some trees to place around the rope and pulley system they devised to haul the cannon up the hill. The men hide. When the cavalry passes, they go back to work.

They succeed in getting the cannon up to the top of the hill. That is when Miguel informs the Captain that the cannon is not going to Santander, but to Avila. (Ńvila is the capital of the province of Ńvila. It is located on an arid, treeless table-land and shut in by lofty mountains west of the center of Spain..) The captain is shocked by the change in his orders and protests vehemently. Miguel explains that Ńvila is the French army headquarters in Spain. The Captain protests it is a thousand kilometers from here. Miguel assures him they will get to their destination. And the huge cannon will be used to blow down the wall surrounding the city. The Captain says the Spaniards are all crazy. Miguel says they will go first to the headquarters of the French army in Spain and from there they will go to Santander. Trumbell has to give in and go with the men.

When the cannon is on dry, flat land the mules can pull it pretty quickly. At night in a village courtyard there is entertainment for the guerrilleros. Juana joins in on the dancing, flamenco style. The Captain likes what he see and so does Miguel. Juana stares at the Captain. She likes what she sees. Miguel sees this and stops the dancing, saying it is late.

Juana tells Miguel that he is jealous of the Captain, as well as any man that looks at her. He tells her he does not like the way she looks at the Captain. She answers: "Thatís still my privilege."

In Avila the French commander, General Henri Jouvet, demands that the villagers tell him where the huge cannon is. He says he will hang ten people every day until he is told where the cannon is. The Generalís aide Sermaine wonders if these hangings will really have their intended effect.

Reaching a river, Trumbell tells Miguel to have his men get 100 logs to construct a raft for the cannon. Miguel protests that they might loose the gun this way, but Trumbell insists it will work. They launch the cannon on the raft into the river and it floats nicely. With ropes the men pull it across to the other side, but midway across the current starts pulling the raft downstream. One rope breaks and the men holding on to the other rope are dragged into the river.

In deep water they have to let  go of the ropes. The cannon floats through a white water section. It runs into a rock in the river and slips off the raft. The cannon lands in the mud. Trumbell says that it will take up to 2,000 men to pull the cannon out of the mud. So Juana suggests they go to Algado and get the men. (Algado is not on Google.com.)

In Algado the townspeople are gathered for a bull fight. Miguel speaks to the people. The men take down the French flag. A French soldier tries to shoot Miguel, but another Spaniard kills him with a knife throw. The guerrilleros surround the small French unit. Miguel scolds the people and then asks them to help him get the cannon out of the mud. The men start following Miguel. Both men and women join in to drag the gun out of the mud.

Sermaine and his men still search for the cannon. Their camp is right in the way of the cannonís projected path. Miguel decides to attack the encampment rather than take three weeks to go around it. Trumbell says he will take no part in this. For this he is scolded by Juana. She tells him that he is acting like a cold piece of English mutton. Shamed, Trumbell asks Miguel to give him five men so he can get the French gun powder.

At night Trumbell and his men overpower the guards. Then the Spanisards send burning balls of twigs and brush down into the French encampment. The tents are set afire and some gun powder is ignited. Miguelís men run down the hill with lit torches to burn all of the tents. A French officer shoots one of the attackers, but is killed by another. The French are totally caught off-guard and are soon defeated. Trumbell and his men start unloading powder kegs from a powder wagon. They canít get all of it off in time so they have to jump from the wagon. As soon as the men are on the ground the wagon explodes.

A French officer says he doesnít know about the unitís plans. He is taken out and shot. This shocks Trumbell. He glares at Miguel. The next French soldier Trumbell questions is asked to talk or else Miguel will shoot him. The man says he doesnít want to die, but just doesnít know. The Frenchman runs off, but is killed by a rifle shot. Trumbell tried to stop the gunmen but failed. Miguel threatens to have Trumbell shot if he doesnít stop complaining about the "cold-blooded murders". He orders Trumbell to leave. There is a British ship in the harbor at Las Cruces. Get on it!

Juana comes over to speak with Trumbell.  She tells the Captain that she gave herself to General Jouvet in order to stop her father and brother from being hung, but he hung them anyway. She says she is staying with Miguel and going to Avila. Trumbell tells her that she stays with a man that she doesnít love and thatís the cheap part of her. She tries to slap him, but he blocks her arm. He kisses her. She slowly pushes him away. He tells her he wonít apologize to Miguel. She tells him he doesnít have to. She has already done that for him. She leaves.

The men push on through a sand storm, covering their mouths with their bandanas. At night the men are hungry. A wagon is taken to a villager where the men grab all the food they can get their hands on. A villager pleads with the wagon driver to leave some food for the people. At least the bread, he says. The men donít seem to care. But Trumbell tells Miguel that they need the peasants more than they need the food. They will need thousands of peasants to join them at Avila. They wonít come if the men take all their food. And villages ahead of them will hide all their food from the men. Miguel tells Trumbell to pay the peasants in British pounds and then walks away. Trumbell asks Juana to talk to Miguel. She goes to Miguel but decides itís not the right time to tell him heís wrong.

Sermaine tells Gen. Jouvet that the Spaniards with the huge cannon have a British naval officer with them. And there is a British man-of-war in the Las Cruces harbor. The General tells Sermaine to make sure all the roads in and out of Las Cruces are blocked.

In the morning Miguel awakens to find the wagons gone. Trumbell steps forward to say that he sent the wagons back to the villagers. Carlos, the right-hand man of Miguel, draws a knife on Trumbell. Miguel throws Trumbell a knife. Part way through the fight Miguel tries to stop it, but Carlos goes in for the kill. Trumbell side steps him and drives his knife into the Spaniard's belly.

Juana helps take care of Trumbellís wound. Trumbell says that both Miguel and she know that he is only going to Avila for Juana.

Scouts report in that the French cavalry is ahead. And the River Cano is also ahead. The scouts say that the French have constructed a bridge over the river of boats. Trumbell says he will need 100 pounds of gun powder. He takes a man named Jose with him. They go over to the river. At night they take out the two bridge guards. Then they line the bridge with powder kegs. After they have fuses wired to all the kegs, they push the kegs into little holding areas on the sides of the bridge. When the French infantry marches onto the bridge they light the fuses and the entire bridge explodes. Many French soldiers are killed. Jose also dies.

Now the cannon can proceed without worry of the French. At night Juana swims in the river. Trumbell kisses her when she finishes her swim. They talk lightly of going to England where he would keep her locked up in an ivory tower. She says she loves him.

Miguel talks to Juana about their future. If she wants something else, he asks her to tell him. He leaves. She sees that he has made some new sandals for her. Her eyes fill with tears.

Gen. Jouvet will set up an ambush for the Spanish at a key mountain pass.

The villagers near the mountain pass warn Miguel that there are French cannon ahead. Miguel says they will go through anyway. The villagers think they are crazy. At night they muffle the wheels of the wagons and the cannon carriage and head through the mountain pass. One of the mules brays and the French open fire with their cannon. The wagon is stuck on a little rise in the path through the mountain valley.

The villagers hear the commotion and run into the pass. They get onto the ropes and pull the gun over the little rise. Quite a few men are killed but they get through. The French say the Spaniards are out of range of their cannon, but that every road in the area is blocked. But in the morning the French realize that they donít know where the Spaniards are. The Spaniards decided to pull the gun up a big hill to get out of the mountains. The Captain drops his hat in the struggle to pull the cannon to the top. Now they are presented with the problem of what to do about the descent down the hill. Trumbell warns Miguel that the cannon will get away from them, but Miguel wonít listen.

Miguel gets on top to stand on the right side of the cannon and has Trumbell stand on the left. The men strain to hold it, but they canít.  The cannon runs all the way down the hill knocking over trees in its way. Miguel now admits that it was heavier coming down. The Captain suggests they go into the town of Maneciras to repair the gun. Its pivot has been broken off. Miguel, Trumbell and Juana go into town. Miguel asks to put the cannon in the cathedral. No, is the answer. The priest starts to walk away, but Trumbell stops him. He explains why he canít, he mustnít, refuse these people their request. The priest gives in. They can bring their cannon in tonight. Juana prays to the Virgin Mary.

It is holy week and there is a large procession in town. While everyone watches the parade, the cannon is brought into the cathedral. Someone in the balcony sees them bring it in. He informs the French. Two French officers go take a look. But the cannon is there no more. One of the French officers slaps the Spanish informer across the face. The cannon is fixed and then snuck out of town.

They now reach the outskirts of the walled city of Avila. The French see them when they arrive. There are 10,000 peasants out there and more will be coming. The encampment is huge. Trumbell tells the people that each cannon ball weighs 96 pounds and they will be able to make a breach in the wall. The peasants attacking the town will only be in danger 1,000 yards from the walls. There are 80 cannon on the walls. At 1,000 yards they will fire grenades that will explode in the air and the cannonballs inside them will smash into the peasants. At 500 yards it will be grapeshot, pieces of metal and chain. When they get closer there will be mass infantry fire. Their losses by the time they reach the wall will be 50% percent.

Trumbell speaks with Juana. He wants her to stay with him at the cannon. If you love me, youíll promise, he says. So she promises. She will not have to tell Miguel, because he already knows.

Juana walks to the cannon to see Trumbell who sits on a rock outcrop. She thanks him for helping her people. They kiss passionately. She says she is afraid for them and for "us". She feels guilty about not risking death with her people. She says she canít keep her promise. He insists that she must stay behind, but she says she is Spanish and a part of Avila. She is going with Miguel. They kiss again.

Juana stands by Miguel and he asks her to forgive him for not being able to put into words just what she has meant to him. The cannon is fired. The people cheer. The cannon balls start smashing the town wall to pieces. Juana starts to charge, Miguel gives the sign for the attack and everyone follows. The huge cannon opens a very big section of the wall.

Juana gets hit by a piece of shrapnel and falls to the ground. She is still alive. The peasants pour into the town. The French general is hit by a piece of shrapnel. The French start retreating to put up a defensive position elsewhere. The first peasants reaching the riflemen are mowed down. But more and more come. Soon the French are overwhelmed. The French flag is brought down.

Trumbell goes to find Juana on the battlefield. She dies in his arms saying she was sorry for asking for too much. She wanted both to see Miguel in Avila and to love him (Trumbell).

Trumbell searches for Miguel. He finds his dead body. Trumbell picks his body up and takes it over to a religious statue of a holy woman.

Trumbell leads the procession with the huge cannon to Santander.

 

It's a good movie, but there is very little history in the film.  Cary Grant was very good, Sophia Loren was beautiful and good and Frank Sinatra wasn't all that bad as a Spanish rebel.   

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.  


Historical Background:

The Bourbons and the Enlightenment.

1700  --  Carlos II, the last of the Spanish Hapsburg (died 1700), leaves no direct descendants. So he names as his successor a grandson of his sister Maria Teresa and Louis XIV of France, Felipe of Anjou.

1714  --  Crowned as King of Spain and the Indes, Felipe V was the first Spanish Bourbon King inaugurating with his reign the Spain of the Enlightenment.

First Period.  Tutelage from France.

Second Period.  Independence.

Third Period. Equilibrium with the great neighboring nation.

1759 to 1788: During the reign of Charles III, the policies of the Primer Minister, Floridablanca, keeps Spain out of conflict in spite of a cautious intervention in the American Revolutionary War.

Napoleonic Invasion

In the Napoleonic Wars, after a brief period of enforced alliance with France, which culminated in the British defeat of a Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar, Napoleon's troops invaded Spain.

Peninsular War or the War of Independence

1808  --  Fernando, the prince of Asturias and heir to the throne, intrigued against Godoy, the Prime Minister, who was thought to be the Queen's lover. Godoy falls and Carlos IV abdicates in favor of his son. But the monarchy is badly damaged. Napoleon takes advantage of the crisis to substitute Bonapartes, in the guise of Joseph Bonaparte, for Bourbons.

1808 (February 16)  --  French troops in Spain take the offensive. 13 days later they captured Barcelona.

1808 (March 3)  --  the French under Joachim Murat captured Madrid. 

1808 (March 18)  --  in reaction, the residents of Madrid forced the pro-French chief minister, Manuel de Godoy, to resign.

1808 (March 19)  --   the Spanish king, Charles IV, forced to abdicate; his brother Ferdinand succeeded him. 

1808 (May 2)  --  there is a generalized uprising in Madrid, immortalized by Goya in his paintings.

The bloody six-year war  (1808-1813) involved guerrilla tactics and a scorched-earth policy. This is the beginning of a turn around in the fortunes of Napoleon as many of his troops are tied down in Spain trying to put down the guerrilla war. 

1808 (May 6)  --  Napoleon, liking neither, made both Charles  and Ferdinand renounce their claims to the Spanish throne. 

1808 (June 15)  --  Napoleon's brother Joseph named King of Spain. 

1808 (July 19)  --  the Spanish defeated a French army under Pierre Dupont at the Battle of Baylen. 

1808 (August 1)  --  a British army under Arthur Wellesley landed in Portugal.  A fearful Joseph fled Madrid. 

1808 (August 21)  --  at the Battle of Vimeiro, Wellesley defeated the French. 

1808 (August 30)  --  the French agreed to evacuate Portugal. 

1808 (autumn)  --  Napoleon arrived in Spain to reverse the deteriorating situation.

1808 (December 13)  --  the French retook Madrid. 

1808 (December 16)  --  French victory at the Battle of Cardadeu. 

1808 (December 24)  --  the French win another victory at Molins de Rey.

1808 (December 20 to February 20, 1809)  --  the Spanish fail to break the French lines of communication in the second siege of Saragossa. 

1809 (February 25)  --  the French win the Battle of Valls. 

1809 (February 22)  --  Arthur Wellesley arrives to replace the recently deceased Sir John Moore. 

1809 (May 12)  --  the British defeat the French under Nicholas-Jean Soult at Oporto. 

1809 (July 28)  --  a British victory at the Battle of Talavera pushing the French back to Madrid. 

1811 (May 6)  --  Wellington defeated the French at the Battle of Fuentes d'Onoro. 

1811 (May 16)  --  the British under William Beresford defeated a French force under Soult at Albuera.  

1812 (January 19)  --  the British take the border town of Ciudad Rodrigo. 

1812 (April 6)  --  the British capture Badajoz.

1812 (July 22)  -- British victory over Marmont at Salamanca that allowed the British to march into Spain. 

1812 (August 12)  --  the British enter Madrid. 

1812 (June 21)  --  Wellington defeated the French at Vittoria; the French had to evacuate Spain. 

1812 (October 5)  --  Wellington crossed into France from Spain. 

1812 (November 10)  --  Wellington defeated Soult at Toulouse.

1812 (early December)  --  the British laid siege to Bayonne.

With English help, Spain defeated Napoleon, further hurrying the demise of the French emperor. The Peninsular War helped to bring Spain together as a united nation.

 

Return To Main Page

Return to Home Page (Vernon Johns Society)