Sundown (October 31, 1941)
Released on October 31, 1941: (running time 1 hour and 28 minutes) In the heart of Africa, a mysterious woman living with the natives helps British soldiers defeat gun smugglers intent on war.
Directed by Henry Hathaway
Written by Barre Lyndon and Charles G. Booth
The Actors: Gene Tierney (Zia), Bruce Cabot (Captain William Crawford), George Sanders (Major A.L. 'Herbie' Coombes), Harry Carey (Alan Dewey), Joseph Calleia (Pallini, Italian prisoner), Reginald Gardiner (Lieutenant Rodney 'Roddy' Turner), Carl Esmond (Jan Kuypens), Marc Lawrence (Abdi Hammud), Sir. Cedric Hardwicke (Bishop Coombes), Gilbert-Emery (Ashburton), Jeni Le Gon (Miriami), Emmett Smith (Kipsang), Dorothy Dandridge (Kipsang's wife), William Broadus (village headman), Ivan Browning (signal man), Frank Clarke (pilot), Frederick Clarke (Ibrahim), Eddie Das (Pindi), William R. Dunn (Kipsang's victim), Al Duvall (Magabul), Riccardo Freda (pilot), Wesley Gale (native boy), Gibson Gowland (chuchgoer in wheelchair), Jester Hairston (native boy), Darby Jones (camel man), Walter Knox (father), Tetsu Komai (Kuypens' Shenzi aide), Lawrence LaMarr (Shenzi informer), Prince Modupe (Miriami's sweetheart), Curtis Nero (Corporal of Askaris), Hassan Said (Arab reader), Woody Strode (tribal policeman), Horace Walker (lecherous old man), Blue Washington (Askari veteran), Kenny Washington (Sergeant Kumakwa)
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The Mysterious African Princess and the Soldier from Ottawa, Canada
Movie mogul Darryl F. Zanuck said that Gene Tierney was “unquestionably the most beautiful woman in movie history.”
Gene Tierney was named after her mother’s brother who died of diabetes at the age of seventeen. Her wealthy family had her educated at the finest private schools in Connecticut and Switzerland. When she was finished with schooling at the age of eighteen, her mother took her to California for a vacation. They had a distant relative working and Warner Brothers Studio, so they spent a day at the studio, meeting Bette Davis. Gene was offered a contract, but her father wanted her to return East for her society coming out party before deciding on a career.
In September of 1938 at her society debut at the Fairfield Connecticut Country Club, she wore a copy of the dress that Bette Davis wore in the movie “Jezebel.” She later acted on Broadway to great reviews, but in 1940, at the age of nineteen, the green-eyed, pouty-lipped beauty acted in her first motion picture. Her constantly arguing parents were in the midst of getting divorced, so her father set up a corporation to handle Gene’s money until she turned twenty-one.
Gene Tierney eloped with wealthy fashion designer Oleg Cassini while she was still twenty years old, and when she turned twenty-one, she discovered that her father had taken all of her earnings, and she never talked to him again until he was on his deathbed.
Possibly from the stress of her constantly fighting parents, Gene developed a sometimes-severe manic depression that plagued her all of her life. She would begin sobbing uncontrollably and have memory issues when offscreen. When she was in front of the camera, all was well. She enjoyed becoming someone else in front of the camera, dreading the return to her own life and memories when off camera. Periods of disabling depression and mania haunted the famous actress all of her life, and she believed that it was hereditary, with no medical cure.
In this, her fifth motion picture appearance, the only movie that I can find that has entered public domain, she is Zia, a mysterious and wealthy woman who controls a large string of trading posts in Africa. She will visit a British military post where the officers are concerned about a local native group who may be using smuggled guns to start a war. World War Two has begun in Europe, and British military posts around the world are on alert, even in the remote Eastern region of Africa where this post is. They must discover who is providing military weapons to the local tribes, and mysterious Zia will become their prime suspect. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Bruce Cabot, George Sanders
Bruce Cabot, Harry Carey
Bruce Cabot, Reginald Gardiner
Emmett Smith, Dorothy Dandridge
Gene Tierney, Bruce Cabot, George Sanders
Gene Tierney, Carl Esmond
Reginald Gardiner, Gene Tierney
George Sanders, Bruce Cabot
George Sanders, Bruce Cabot
Jeni Le Gon, Gene Tierney
Joseph Calleia, Reginald Gardiner