An Epic Tale Of A Gun: “The Pride and The Passion” movie
starring: Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra and Sophia Loren
directed by Stanley Kramer.

Drawings for LIFE Magazine by David Fredenthal, 1956

A famous artist of battles covers a movie conflict

An epic film about a minor military incident, The Pride and the Passion, based on C. S. Forester’s classic, The Gun. To make it, a U.S. company invaded Spain, enlisting civilians, soldiers and scenery in the production that cried interpretation U.S. artists-correspondents gave World War II. Artist David Fredenthal, who covered campaigns in the pacific and underground fighting in Yugoslavia for LIFE magazine, followed the company as it filmed the story of guerrillas who dragged an 18 pounder across country to blast open a citadel held by Napoleon’s troops. On these pages, Fredenthal shows his recreated war with all the brilliance and immediacy of real war.

The splendors of old Spain.

The struggles of the guerrillas had reflections in the troubles of the movie-makers who were led by Director-Producer Stanley Kramer.
Ten months’ negotiations were required before they were permitted to haul the cannon into the sacrosanct church of the Escorial.
For this scene Segovia was persuaded to re-stage a Holy Week procession. The city closed up shops and went on fiesta. It rained. Segovia celebrated. A camera platform fell. Segovia still celebrated. Finally, the procession was photographed. Segovia a little hangoverish, went back to work.

A fiery fight, a fiery girl

Rolling fireballs of burning hay down on a French camp, the Spanish guerrillas open up a road for their slow moving gun.
These surprised tactics reminded Fredenthal of 1944 in Yugoslavia where he roved behind German lines and drew pictures for LIFE magazine of guerrillas fighting against the Nazis. “Of course”, he says, “the movie war in Spain was a much pleasanter war, partly because Sophia Loren made a gorgeously fiery guerrilla. And I could always ask a cameraman where the most violent action was going to take place and keep out of the way.” Just the same, Fredenthal became a movie war casualty when his jeep overturned and he broke a hand.

Patriotism and love

Over the mountains and rivers and around French strongpoints the gun is moved to Avila by guerrillas. Leading them are Miguel (Frank Sinatra), son of shoemaker, and Juana (Sophia Loren), daughter of an official. Both are determined to blast into the walled city and kill its French commander. A British officer (Cary Grant) lends his expert knowledge of artillery to Miguel on the promise the gun will go to the British after Avila is taken - and the film moves into its stirring climax.