The Long Haul
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKen Hughes
Written byKen Hughes
Based onnovel The Long Haul by Mervyn Mills[1]
Produced byMaxwell Setton
StarringVictor Mature
Diana Dors
Patrick Allen
Gene Anderson
CinematographyBasil Emmott
Edited byRaymond Poulton
Music byTrevor Duncan
Production
company
Marksman Films
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release dates
  • 27 August 1957 (1957-08-27) (UK)
  • December 1957 (1957-12) (US)
Running time
88 mins.
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budgetover $1 million[2]

The Long Haul is a 1957 British drama film directed by Ken Hughes and starring Victor Mature, Patrick Allen and Diana Dors.[3] It is based on the novel The Long Haul by Mervyn Mills.

Plot

Miller, a U.S. army NCO, leaves Allied-occupied Germany after discharge and is persuaded by his English wife to settle in Liverpool. Looking for work, he becomes a lorry driver. He comes into contact with criminals involved in theft from long-hauling trucks and draws close to the moll of a major crime figure. The woman is falling in love with him. Miller, initially determined to remain honest, slips into crime.

Cast

Original novel

The film was based on the 1956 novel by Mervyn Mills, his first novel. According to his obituary in The Independent newspaper, the novel "stemmed from his journeys through early post-war Britain on a moped, before the advent of the motorways, when he absorbed, on the Great North Road, something of the lives of the long-distance lorry drivers, their roadside cafes and the people, often women, who frequented them. The book was turned down by 12 publishers, then accepted by the 13th, and even then Mills had to fight for his artistic integrity with the director and general editor Lovat Dickson to retain the more colourful passages. After so many rejections, this took courage."[4]

The Irish Times called it "an exciting and unusually vivid book."[5]

Development

Film rights were bought by Todon Productions, the film company of Tony Owen and Donna Reed, run by Maxwell Seton. Ken Hughes, who had made films for them before, signed to write and direct.[6]

In July 1956 Diana Dors agreed to play the female lead.[7] Like many Todon films, it was distributed through Columbia. The production was credited to Seton's company, Marksman Films.[8] Columbia were financing a number of films in Britain at the time.[9]

Robert Mitchum originally was announced as the male star.[10] In January 1957 Victor Mature signed.[11] Mature had just made three films in England for Warwick Productions, which also distributed through Columbia: Zarak, Safari and Interpol. Mature had driven trucks for his father's business when younger.[12]

Setton tried to get Raymond Burr to support Mature and Dors but was unable to secure him.[13] A lead role was played by newcomer Patrick Allen whom Setton signed to a three-picture contract over three years.[14]

Production

Filming started 18 February and took place at British Lion studios in Shepperton.[15] There was location filming in the Scottish Highlands.[16]

Critical reception

Monthly Film Bulletin said "This dreary thriller is hardly recognisable as the work (screenplay and direction) of the once promising Ken Hughes. On the contrary, its script and zestless handling exploit almost every known melodramatic cliché in the pursuit of squalor and violence, while its depiction of road haulage is most unconvincing. Victor Mature and Diana Dors handle synthetic roles with mournful expressions and apparent indifference; of the variable supporting cast only Patrick Allen stands out as a villain of real power and substance. The authentic Northern backgrounds, well photographed by Basil Emmot, are fully utilised in a single gripping sequence in which a ten-ton truck is driven over mountains – an oasis in the desert of tedium."[17]

Leonard Maltin dismissed the film as "Minor fare",[18] whereas DVD Talk commended a "Completely satisfying British B-noir. Sure the story is familiar, but it's handled with cold, professional skill. The performers are perfectly cast here. I'm highly recommending The Long Haul."[19]

Filmink called it "a decent little movie, and Dors was as beautiful and warm as ever, reminding everyone what she was capable of."[20]

In British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959 David Quinlan rated the film as "average", writing: "Unsavoury thriller, well photographed."[21]

Alternative title

In Spain, the original poster gave it the title 'El Precio de un Hombre', 'The Price of a Man'.

See also

References

  1. ^ Goble, Alan (1 January 1999). The Complete Index to Literary Sources in Film. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110951943 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ A TOWN CALLED HOLLYWOOD: Studio Has 4 McGowans, Not to Mention a Megowan Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 26 Aug 1956: D2.
  3. ^ "The Long Haul". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 12 November 2023.
  4. ^ Obituary: Mervyn Mills: [FOREIGN Edition] Barker, Ralph. The Independent 1 June 2000: 6.
  5. ^ CLEVER BUT IRRITATING, A R. The Irish Times 14 Apr 1956: 8
  6. ^ Vagg, Stephen (14 November 2020). "Ken Hughes Forgotten Auteur". Filmink.
  7. ^ Whole Town Fights Over British Charmer, Parsons, Louella. The Washington Post and Times-Herald 11 July 1956: 20.
  8. ^ A TOWN CALLED HOLLYWOOD: Studio Has 4 McGowans, Not to Mention a Megowan, Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 26 Aug 1956: D2.
  9. ^ "British Works Used for Many Col Films". Variety. 8 May 1957. p. 12.
  10. ^ Diana Dors Isn't Homesick; She's Set for Film in Britain, Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune I29 Sep 1956: 22.
  11. ^ Looking at Hollywood: Vic Mature to Make Film in London with Diana Dors, Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 25 Jan 1957: b8.
  12. ^ Round the British Studios, Nepean, Edith. Picture Show; London Vol. 68, Iss. 1786, (Jun 22, 1957): 11.
  13. ^ George Nader to Star With Borchers; 'Bombay Meeting' New Venture, Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 15 Feb 1957: 21.
  14. ^ Gossip, Filmer, Fay. Picture Show; London Vol. 1777, Iss. 68, (Apr 20, 1957): 3-4.
  15. ^ Gossip Filmer, Fay. Picture Show; London Vol. 68, Iss. 1778, (Apr 27, 1957): 3-4, 13.
  16. ^ Hill, Derek (July 1957). "Camera Treatment for "The Long Haul"". American Cinematographer. p. 438.
  17. ^ "The Long Haul". Monthly Film Bulletin. 24 (276): 128. 1957 – via ProQuest.
  18. ^ "The Long Haul (1957) - Overview - TCM.com".
  19. ^ "The Long Haul (Sony Choice Collection)".
  20. ^ Vagg, Stephen (7 September 2020). "A Tale of Two Blondes: Diana Dors and Belinda Lee". Filmink.
  21. ^ Quinlan, David (1984). British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. p. 339. ISBN 0-7134-1874-5.