DirectorHoward Hawks Music directorDimitri Tiomkin CountryUnited States
Release dateJuly 29, 1952 (1952-07-29) (Premiere-Chicago)
August 19, 1952 (1952-08-19) (US) Based onThe Big Sky
by A.B. Guthrie Jr. WriterDudley Nichols (screenplay), A.B. Guthrie Jr. (novel) ScreenplayDudley Nichols, DeVallon Scott, Ray Buffum CastKirk Douglas (Jim Deakins), Dewey Martin (Boone Caudill), Elizabeth Threatt (Teal Eye (Blackfoot Princess)), Arthur Hunnicutt (Zeb Calloway / Narrator), Buddy Baer (Romaine), Steven Geray ('Frenchy' Jourdonnais (Riverboat Captain)) Similar moviesThe Searchers, Shanghai Noon, Maverick, Geronimo: An American Legend, Shalako, Cheyenne Autumn
TaglineThiers the greatest adventure
The big sky 1952 trailer
The Big Sky is a 1952 American Western film produced and directed by Howard Hawks, based on the novel of the same name. The cast includes Kirk Douglas, Dewey Martin, Elizabeth Threatt and Arthur Hunnicutt, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Though not considered among Hawks's major achievements by most critics, the film was chosen by Jonathan Rosenbaum for his alternative list of the Top 100 American Films.
In 1832, Jim Deakins (Kirk Douglas) is traveling in the wilderness when he encounters an initially hostile Boone Caudill (Dewey Martin). However, they soon become good friends. They head to the Missouri River in search of Boone's uncle, Zeb Calloway (Arthur Hunnicutt). They find him when they are tossed in jail for brawling with fur traders of the Missouri River Company. When 'Frenchy' Jourdonnais (Steven Geray) comes to bail Zeb out, Zeb talks him into paying for Jim and Boone too.
The two men join an expedition organized by Zeb and Frenchy to travel 2,000 miles up the river to trade with the Blackfoot Indians, in competition with the Missouri Company. Zeb has brought along Teal Eye (Elizabeth Threatt), a pretty Blackfoot woman Zeb found several years before after she had escaped from an enemy tribe. Zeb intends to use her as a hostage, as she is the daughter of a chief. On the journey, they encounter another Blackfoot Zeb knows, Poordevil (Hank Worden); they take him along. Later, Teal Eye falls into the river and is rescued from rapids by Boone.
The Missouri Company knows about the threat to their monopoly. One day, it makes its move. A party led by Streak (Jim Davis) captures Teal Eye and tries to burn the boat, but Frenchy wakes up before the fire causes much damage. Poordevil tracks the enemy and Zeb and Jim rescue the woman. Later, the expedition puts in at a company trading post and leaves a warning not to interfere. A week later, they repulse an attack by Crow Indians. Jim is separated from the group and shot in the leg. Boone, followed by Teal Eye and Poordevil, finds him, extracts the bullet and waits for his friend to heal. When they rejoin their band, they find Streak trying to buy the boat and the goods on it. Jim compares the bullet dug out of his leg with one of Streak's and finds them to be the same. Streak and his men are killed in the ensuing shootout.
The expedition reaches the Blackfeet and begins trading. Teal Eye tells a very disappointed Jim that she loves him... like a brother. Boone follows her back to her teepee. When he emerges much later, he is surprised to find out he is now married. However, Teal Eye makes him buy her from her father, so that he can leave any time he wants to. With winter coming on, the men begin the long return trip. However, Boone changes his mind and decides to stay with Teal Eye.
Kirk Douglas as Jim Deakins
Dewey Martin as Boone Caudill
Elizabeth Threatt as Teal Eye
Arthur Hunnicutt as Zeb Calloway
Buddy Baer as Romaine, one of Frenchy's men
Steven Geray as 'Frenchy' Jourdonnais
Henri Letondal as Labadie
Hank Worden as Poordevil
Jim Davis as Streak
Awards and nominations
The film was nominated for two Academy Awards:
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor - Arthur Hunnicut
Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White - Russell Harlan
Home video releases
1988 Turner Home Entertainment, RKO Collection, VHS, ISBN 1-55960-014-4
The eight-minute suite for The Big Sky was released on Lost Horizon: The Classic Film Scores of Dimitri Tiomkin (1976), performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Charles Gerhardt. Recorded in London in December 1975, the RCA Red Seal album was re-released on audio CD in 1991 and 2010. UPC 8-8697-77933-2-5
The original motion picture soundtrack for The Big Sky was restored by the Brigham Young University Film Music Archives for a 2003 compact disc release. The limited-edition CD (BYU FMADT111) includes 28 tracks and nearly 80 minutes of orchestral music.