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|The Proud and Damned|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ferde Grofé Jr.|
Michael Du Pont (associate producer)|
Ferde Grofé Jr. (producer)
George Montgomery (co-producer)
Stanford Tischler (associate producer)
|Written by||Ferde Grofé Jr.|
Douglas M. Lackey
|Edited by||Philip Innes|
The Proud and Damned, also known as The Proud and the Damned, Proud and Damned, and Proud, Damned and Dead, is a 1972 American-Colombian co-production western film directed by Ferde Grofé Jr.. Some sources quote the title as "The Proud and the Damned", which is not the original name. The actual title, "The Proud and Damned", is clearly displayed in the title text of the original film version in the opening of the movie. Some images erroneously use the title "The Proud and the Damned".
In 1870, ex-Confederate mercenaries and American Civil War veterans Sgt. Will Hansen (Chuck Connors), Ike (Aron Kincaid), Hank (Henry Caps), Jeb (Smokey Robards), and Billy (Peter Ford) have just emigrated from their home state of Texas to Colombia in South America. After their arrival, they are ambushed by Colombian soldiers who force them to come meet General Martinez, the evil, cold-hearted dictator of their country. Martinez sends them to San Carlos, a town where rebel forces are preparing to start a civil war against Martinez's army. The Texans are instructed to live among the rebels, and report back to Martinez what they know within the next couple of days. Martinez warns them that they'll be severely punished if they fail him.
The next day, while on their way to San Carlos, Will's gang runs into a gypsy family who are on their way to the same town. Will escorts them after he and the gypsies' daughter, Mila, fall in love at first sight. They all ride into San Carlos, meet the governor, and rent a cabin outside of town. Will and Mila sneak out that night and make love. Mila's father is angry when he hears of this, and slices her cheek. When Will finds out about this, he shoots Mila's father.
Being from famously rebellious Texas, Will's gang finds itself in sympathy with the San Carlos rebels. Will and his gang disobey Martinez's orders and don't report back to him, so Martinez kidnaps Will and hangs him. Will's friends find his body, give him a funeral, and vow to avenge his murder. They join the rebels in a battle with Martinez's army and drive them back. They later ambush Martinez and the rest of his surviving soldiers in a canyon, joined by the rebel army's captain. They manage to kill Martinez, but all are gunned down by his soldiers except for Billy, who was unconscious after falling from his horse. The film ends with Billy riding off into the sunset.
With a working title of The Proud, Damned and Dead, the production was filmed in 1969 in Viya de Leyva, Colombia. The film was unusual for a Ferde Grofe production in that it was his first feature film production outside of the Philippines (not including the American International Pictures pictures High School Hellcats and Hot Rod Gang from which he had his name removed from their credits), and secondly that there was no pre-sale - the production was a huge financial gamble for him. George Montgomery is credited as a co-producer by virtue putting up $125,000 for Chuck Connors pay. Grofe was concerned about what he had heard of Connors' on-set reputation and insisted that Connors payment be placed in escrow and payment only made upon satisfactory completion of the film. In addition to the film's main stars, three smaller roles were filled by actors who would later appear in The Day of the Wolves: Andres Marquis, Smokey Roberds and Henry Capps.
Grofe was unable to distribute the film through his usual industry channels, and it would take another three years to sell the film to the Texan entity that eventually distributed the film. George Montgomery threatened to sue Grofe for the return of his funds once it became clear that there was no immediate film sale.