Directed byGordon Douglas
Written byMartin Rackin
John Twist
Based onnovel by Martin Rackin
Produced byMartin Rackin
StarringAlan Ladd
CinematographyJohn F. Seitz
Edited byOwen Marks
Music byDavid Buttolph
Warner Bros
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • July 13, 1956 (1956-07-13) (USA)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2 million (US)[1]

Santiago, also known as The Gun Runner, is a 1956 film directed by Gordon Douglas and starring and co-produced by Alan Ladd set in 1898 Cuba against the background of the Cuban War of Independence. Martin Rackin wrote the screenplay, based on his unpublished novel, as well as producing the film.


A hardened gun runner attempts to take a shipment to Cuba to assist with the rebellion against Spain.



The project was first announced in July 1955 and was originally known as The Greater Courage.[2][3] It was based on an unpublished novel by Martin Rackin, who also acted as producer.[4] Although Ladd had his own production company, Jaguar Productions, who released movies through Warner Bros, he made this movie for Warners solely as actor.[5]

"The principal difficulty, whether you take a salary from a studio or are in business for yourself, is finding the right story", said Ladd. "Once the story is set, the operation follows a pattern, so you may as well own a piece of the negative – even if you have to beg, borrow or steal to get your hands on it."[5]

Martin Rackin hired John Twist to work on the script.[6]

Female lead Rossana Podestà had just made Helen of Troy.

The jungle set cost $125,000.[5]

According to Turner Classic Movies:

The celebrated Cuban poet, philosopher, and revolutionary patriot José Martí (Ernest Sarracino) also makes an appearance, although the real Martí had been dead and buried for three years by 1898, when this yarn takes place. We never see Antonio Maceo Grajeles, the high-ranking liberation fighter supposedly waiting for the munitions in the Cuban village of Santiago, but again, the actual Maceo died in battle near the end of 1896. The historical blunders in Santiago were easily spotted and pointedly criticized by Cuban observers, and according to the entertainment trade paper Variety, a union of Cuban educators sent correct information to Warner Bros. via the American embassy, hoping to forestall such errors in the future. One hopes the studio took note, but anyone who knows Hollywood knows this was a very long shot.[7]


The film's Latin America premiere was held in Santiago. A holiday was declared to mark the occasion.[8]

See also


  1. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957
  2. ^ "FAULKNER NOVEL TO BECOME MOVIE: ' Soldiers' Pay' Is on Columbia List -- Switch for Barbara Bel Geddes Is Denied". New York Times. July 14, 1955. p. 19.
  3. ^ "ART THEFT STORY PLANNED AS FILM: ' Hugger Mugger in Louvre,' Elliott Paul Novel, to Be Done by Voyager Concern". New York Times. July 19, 1955. p. 23.
  4. ^ Hopper, Hedda (Oct 19, 1955). "Looking at Hollywood: Film to Star Rossana Podesta and Alan Ladd". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. b7.
  5. ^ a b c "HOLLYWOOD VIEWS: Production Cost Rise Seem as Result Of New Five-Day Week--Other Items Aurora Blueprint On Ladd's Agenda Entente Cordiale". New York Times. Jan 22, 1956. p. 99.
  6. ^ "MOVIELAND EVENTS: Writer Preparing 'Santiago' for Ladd". Los Angeles Times. Sep 14, 1955. p. 21.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Drama: Anderson Writing Picture for Stewart". Los Angeles Times. June 29, 1956. p. B8.