Cineinfinito #315: Western Noir · II

Martes 16 de Mayo de 2023, 19:30h. Fundación Caja Cantabria
Calle Tantín, 25
39001 Santander


Blood on the Moon (1948), 35mm, b&n, sonora, 88 min.

*Presentación a cargo de José Luis Torrelavega

Formato de proyección: DCP (copia restaurada)

Robert Earl Wise (Winchester, Indiana; 10 de septiembre de 1914-Los Ángeles, California; 14 de septiembre de 2005) fue un montador, productor y director de cine estadounidense.

Debutó en la dirección en 1944 con La venganza de la mujer pantera (The Curse of the Cat People), por azar: al sustituir en 1943 a Gunther von Fritsch en el rodaje del filme. Su cine musical, negro y fantástico destacó por su dominio técnico, sobriedad y excelente narrativa.

Blood on the Moon (1948)

Blood on the Moon is a 1948 RKO black-and-white “psychological” Western film noir starring Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Preston and Walter Brennan. Directed by Robert Wise, the cinematography is by Nicholas Musuraca. The movie was shot in California as well as some of the more scenic shots at Red Rock Crossing, Sedona, Arizona. The picture is based on the novel Gunman’s Chance by Luke Short.

The idea for Blood on the Moon (based on Luke Short’s Gunman’s Chance) came from Robert Wise and Theron Warth, who pitched the idea to producer Dore Schary as a mood piece akin to Out of the Past and Crossfire, both produced by RKO. Schary agreed to produce the film and signed Lillie Hayward to write the screenplay.

Talent agency Famous Artists offered RKO a deal with either James Stewart or Robert Mitchum in the leading role of Jim Garry, and Jacques Tourneur as director, but Schary refused the deal and backed up Wise as director. Wise enjoyed working with Mitchum and liked that he offered suggestions. When Mitchum showed up to the set dressed up in costume, Walter Brennan exclaimed: “That is the realest goddamnest cowboy I’ve ever seen!” 

Filming of Blood on the Moon began in February 1948 and ended in May of the same year, with Sedona, Arizona, the Rocky Mountains, California, Utah and New Mexico serving as locations. Inspired by the production design of Citizen Kane (which Wise co-edited), Wise had the interior sets built with visible low-ceilings. In order to create the night scenes of the film, Wise and cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca utilized infrared film, which in Musuraca’s opinion, could cause headaches regarding problems with color of clothing and tone of makeup.

The bar brawl between Garry and Rilling took three days to shoot. Wise wanted a realistic fight where the winner comes out on top badly beaten and exhausted instead of the usual Western brawls and had Mitchum and Preston do the fight instead of stunt doubles.

Production of the film dragged on due to bad weather. Wise noted that none of the weather reports that the crew received got the weather forecast right. After the film was completed, Howard Hughes terminated Barbara Bel Geddes’ contract with RKO, believing she was not sexy enough.