Lorna Doone (1951 film)

Lorna Doone

Italian poster
Directed by Phil Karlson
Produced by Edward Small
Written by Jesse Lasky Jr
Richard Schayer
George Bruce (adaptation)
Based on the novel by Richard D. Blackmore
Starring Richard Greene
Music by George Duning
Cinematography Charles Van Enger
Edited by Al Clark
Edward Small Productions
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
31 May 1951 (USA)
Running time
82 mins
Country United States
Language English

Lorna Doone is a 1951 American drama film directed by Phil Karlson for Columbia Pictures and starring Barbara Hale, Richard Greene and Carl Benton Reid.[1] It is an adaptation of the 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] He sent representatives to England to scout locations that year and there was talk of a co-production with J Arthur Rank starring Louis Hayward with filming in Scotland.[4][5][6] Charles Bennett and Leonore Coffee also worked on the early drafts of the script.[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 instead 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.

The final script was heavily influenced by Westerns.[12]


Reviews were mixed.[13]


  1. http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/40718
  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 (8 July 1948). "'Lorna Doone' Set Up; Widmark to Alter Pace". Los Angeles Times. p. 23.
  5. Schallert, Edwin (11 March 1946). "'Lorna Doone' Inspiring Expedition to England". Los Angeles Times. p. 8.
  6. "Stress Put on Realism in Pictures: Small Inaugurates Vogue for Authentic Locales Being Used". Los Angeles Times. 29 Sep 1946. p. C2.
  7. "Dancer Wears Daring Costumes". Los Angeles Times. 9 May 1946. p. A3.
  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. Jeffrey Richards, Swordsmen of the Screen, p 133
  13. B.R.C. (21 June 1951). "Barbara Hale In Narrative By Blackmore". The Christian Science Monitor. Boston, Mass. p. 4.
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