Favorites List --- Vera Cruz --- Part Two
Variety's Army Archerd reported cool "Good Mornings" between Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster on the Vera Cruz location in
Robert Aldrich was chatty to trades over money saved thanks to what he called genuine economy
Gary Cooper wouldn't stand for his character going low-down like
Robert Aldrich came away burnt over Burt's horning in on direction. The Battle Of Giants poster might better have addressed itself to ones these two fought. A bigger blow awaited Bob once everyone got home and producers Hecht/Lancaster began dickering with newly-formed SuperScope developers to utilize their widescreen format on finished Vera Cruz. The process took standard frames and optically enhanced them to an image twice as wide as it was high. This wasn't Cinemascope, but you could play SS pics using CS lenses, and get a picture nearly as vast. RKO was aboard and preparing Jane Russell's Underwater! for early 1955 release --- with Vera Cruz first out of gates for nineteen regional Christmas opens. United Artists would get its jump on SuperScope, Hecht/Lancaster's idea of just more $ in the bank.
Aldrich said later that he never intended Vera Cruz for SuperScope. In fact, the expansion to 2:1 played havoc with compositions throughout his film, taking toll as well on image clarity. Audiences were better off seeing it flat. Many did in fact ... of a total 300 Vera Cruz prints in 35mm, 200 were in SuperScope. The rest went out standard frame that would in most cases have been projected 1.85:1. Aldrich doubtless smelled rats when a Vera Cruz sneak preview took place in
|That's Mighty Hard, says Coop as he tenders $100 gold to anti-heroic Burt, but it's GC who got last laughs when $1.4 million came back from his Vera Cruz participation.|
Vera Cruz was a made-to-grind evergreen on flea pit and drive-in bills well through the sixties and possibly beyond in markets I haven't check. At least for near-by Greensboro/Winston-Salem, it was a natural for action combos and dusk-to-dawn corndog feeds. When ABC went shopping to fill a new Sunday night movie berth in Spring 1962, Vera Cruz fell among a group of fifteen bought from UA. They'd run from April through summer with the network charging $23,000 per minute to advertisers. All the UA's were post-48 and Variety noted interesting aspect of the ABC-TV features is that many of the films are in color and the network plans to bicycle these features to the key affiliate stations for tint exposure. So Vera Cruz played some ABC affiliates in color and black-and-white for others. By time of my seeing it on a 1967 Channel 9 syndicated afternoon, there was at least color, whatever depredation commercials and editing wrought.
|United Artists borrows key art from High Noon to advance sell Vera Cruz.|