Lorna Doone (1951 film)

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Lorna Doone
"Lorna Doone" (1951 film).jpg
Italian poster
Directed by Phil Karlson
Written byGeorge Bruce
Screenplay by Jesse Lasky Jr
Richard Schayer
Based onthe novel by R. D. Blackmore
Produced by Edward Small
Starring Barbara Hale
Richard Greene
Cinematography Charles Van Enger
Edited by Al Clark
Music by George Duning
Color process Technicolor
Edward Small Productions
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • May 31, 1951 (1951-05-31)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited States

Lorna Doone is a 1951 American adventure film directed by Phil Karlson and starring Barbara Hale and Richard Greene. [1] It is an adaptation of the 1869 novel Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore, set in the English West Country during the 17th century.



Lorna Doone falls for John Ridd, but is betrothed (against her will) to one Carver Doone. As the English Civil War looms, John is determined to defeat the vicious Doone family and win Lorna over.




Edward Small first announced plans to film the novel in 1944 [2] and hired George Bruce to write a screenplay in 1946. [3]

In 1946, Small sent representatives to Britain to scout locations. He said he wanted to make the film on location in Scotland. [4] [5] Charles Bennett and George Bruce worked on the early drafts of the script. [6] In 1948, Small said he would make the film as co-production with J Arthur Rank starring Louis Hayward. [7]

In 1948, Alfred Hitchcock announced plans to film the novel for Transatlantic Pictures. Small claimed he had registered the title in the US; Hitchcock could film the story but would not be able to call it Lorna Doone in the US. This prompted Small to announce he would start filming in England in association with Rank and producer John Beck on 1 March 1949. [8] [9] This was postponed due to the US–English film trade war of 1948–19 and in August 1949 filming was put back indefinitely. [10]

The project was reactivated later in 1949 when Small signed a two-picture deal with Columbia Pictures, for Lorna Doone and The Brigand . [11]


It was decided to make the movie in Hollywood, with locations shot at Yosemite National Park. Richard Greene and Barbara Hale were cast in the leads and Jesse Lasky Jr did the final draft of the script. Filming began 17 May 1950. [12] The final script was heavily influenced by Westerns. [13]

"Whatever has been put on screen has been done with considerable loyalty to the novel," said Greene. "I don't think the British public will find too much fault with the treatment. What may be missed is the Cornish atmosphere." [14]

Ron Randell, who played several leads for Sam Katzman, had a support role. [15]


Reviews were mixed. [16]

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  1. BFI.org
  2. "Screen News". The Christian Science Monitor. Boston, Mass. 25 April 1944. p. 5.
  3. Schallert, Edwin (7 February 1946). "Stars in Bowl Project; Rooney Cinema to Jell". Los Angeles Times. p. 9.
  4. Schallert, Edwin (11 March 1946). "'Lorna Doone' Inspiring Expedition to England". Los Angeles Times. p. 8.
  5. "Stress Put on Realism in Pictures: Small Inaugurates Vogue for Authentic Locales Being Used". Los Angeles Times. 29 September 1946. p. C2.
  6. "Dancer Wears Daring Costumes". Los Angeles Times. 9 May 1946. p. A3.
  7. Schallert, Edwin (8 July 1948). "'Lorna Doone' Set Up; Widmark to Alter Pace". Los Angeles Times. p. 23.
  8. Schallert, Edwin (25 October 1948). "Small Hastens 'Doone' Project in Controversy; Sinatra Drama Sought". Los Angeles Times. p. A6.
  9. Thomas F. Brady (25 October 1948). "Selznick Acquires New Film Comedy: Buys 'Lion Tamer's Husband' for Production in the Spring With Cotten or Peck". New York Times. p. 28.
  10. homas F. Brady (2 August 1949). "Young and Lupino Set Up Film Firm: Plan Producing Documentary Movies, With 'Never Fear' Scheduled as First". New York Times. p. 15.
  11. Schallert, Edwin (22 December 1949). "'Telegraph Hill' Aimed at Andrews and Prelle; Kazan Runs 'Streetcar'". Los Angeles Times. p. 15.
  12. Jack London Episodic Film in Offing; Payton Set as Cochran Spouse Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 17 May 1950: B7.
  13. Jeffrey Richards, Swordsmen of the Screen, p 133
  14. HOLLYWOOD IN REVIEW: Richard Greene Defends Swashbuckling Pictures Los Angeles Times 27 Aug 1950: D10.
  15. Vagg, Stephen (10 August 2019). "Unsung Aussie Actors – Ron Randell: A Top Twenty". Filmink.
  16. B.R.C. (21 June 1951). "Barbara Hale In Narrative By Blackmore". The Christian Science Monitor. Boston, Mass. p. 4.