GenreAdventure CinematographyJohn F. Seitz LanguageEnglish
WriterMartin Rackin, John Twist Release dateJuly 13, 1956 (1956-07-13) (USA) CastAlan Ladd (Caleb 'Cash' Adams), Rossana Podestà (Doña Isabella), Lloyd Nolan (Clay Pike), Chill Wills (Captain 'Sidewheel' Jones), Paul Fix (Trasker), L.Q. Jones (Digger) Similar moviesCuba, Salt, The Motorcycle Diaries, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, The Gun Runners, River Lady
TaglineGUN RUNNERS IN THE JUNGLE-OF-NO RETURN!
Santiago, also known as The Gun Runner, is a 1956 film 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 Martin Rackin wrote the screenplay, based on his unpublished novel, as well as producing the film.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.
Alan Ladd as Caleb "Cash" Adams
Rossana Podestà as Doña Isabella By courtesy of Lux Film
Lloyd Nolan as Clay Pike
Chill Wills as Capt. "Sidewheel" Jones
Paul Fix as Trasker
L. Q. Jones as Digger
Frank De Kova as Jingo
George J. Lewis as Pablo
Royal Dano as Lobo
Don Blackman as Sam
Francisco Ruiz as Juanito
Clegg Hoyt as Dutch
The project was first announced in July 1955 and was originally known as The Greater Courage. It was based on an unpublished novel by Martin Rackin, who also acted as producer. Although Ladd had his own production company, Jaguar Productions, who released movies through Warner Bros, he made this movie for Warners solely as actor.
"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."
Martin Rackin hired John Twist to work on the script.
Female lead Rossana Podestà had just made Helen of Troy.
The jungle set cost $125,000.
According to Turner Classic Movies:
The celebrated Cuban poet, philosopher, and revolutionary patriot Jos Marti (Ernest Sarracino) also makes an appearance, although the real Marti 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.
The film's Latin America premiere was held in Santiago. A holiday was declared to mark the occasion.