Santiago – 1956 with Alan Ladd.
Alan Ladd shows Jo-Ann Cox of Ballwin, Missouri around the set of “Santiago.” This young lady had won a film magazine competition and was taken around the film studios in Hollywood and as well as meeting Alan Ladd , she also remembers Tab Hunter well according to the press article.
On a holiday in California a few years ago, we visited the Warner Brothers Studios for a tour which was really good. On the outside tour the guide took us through mature trees and foliage and this quite small area was called the Jungle Set and it had been widely used over the years but had originally been built for the Alan Ladd film Santiago in 1956.
This facility at Warner Brothers is still very much in use.
Although Alan Ladd had his own production company, Jaguar Productions, this film was made at a straight fee for Warner Brothers. The jungle set itself alone cost $125,000
Alan Ladd was maybe not at his best here, but the real value is in the superb cast of supporting character actors, including Lloyd Nolan, Paul Fix, Chill Wills and Royal Dano, among others.
“Santiago” is set in Cuba just before the Spanish-American War. Alan Ladd and Lloyd Nolan are competing gunrunners trying to sell weapons to the Cuban revolutionaries. Lloyd Nolan is the villain while Alan Ladd of course is the good one . His guide is the beautiful rebel Rossana Podesta, who is fiery and noble.The rest of the cast are very competent supporting actors and play their roles well. There is one surprise in the ending but otherwise it’s predictable.
It’s a competent studio production for the period, with enough detail to make it credible. It’s not a great film, but it is good entertainment, with a beautiful girl.