BBC Radio 4, 14 March 2011
The Pride and the Passion (1957) was Stanley Kramer's rather
elephantine adaptation of C. S. Forester's The Gun, with Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra and Sophia Loren. It was a troubled
production, not only because of the exigencies of filming on location in Spain, but because the three stars failed to get
The Gun Goes to Hollywood created an imaginary scenario based on the filming
of this adaptation, in which screenwriter Earl Felton (Steven Weber) travelled from Los Angeles to Spain on director Kramer's
(Jonathan Getz's) instructions, in an attempt to rewrite the script and render it more acceptable to Grant (Greg Itzin) in
particular. One night Felton goes out with Sinatra (Jonathan Silverman), and during the course of a long drinking-session
Sinatra discloses his links to Jack Kennedy and the Mafia. Sinatra goes home without having to do any more filming; Grant
gets the rewrites he wants; and the picture ends happily, with Felton admitting that he had been 'persuaded' to go to Madrid
by the Mafia, who wanted him to exploit his friendship with Sinatra so that they could get in touch with Kennedy, and thereby
guarantee his success in the Presidential elections of 1960.
None of this actually happened, of course: Felton certainly introduced the rewrites,
but they were completed in his office in Los Angeles and sent across to Spain. However, he was part of the world of Hollywood,
a make-believe environment in which dreams could be fulfilled. Hence he wrote a fantasy-script based on his experiences.
The Gun Goes to Hollywood was written in the form of a screenplay with Felton
as narrator, emphasizing the fact that it was nothing more than a piece of fiction. Nonetheless it was quite good in its recreation
of the stresses and strains of a big-budget movie set, in which the stars' egos needed to be continually massaged so as to
ensure they completed their work. Despite his age, Grant needed to be reminded of his virility; Sinatra needed to be told
he was a great singer; while Loren needed the 'protection' of her future husband Carlo Ponti.
The director of this Afternoon Play was Kate McAll.