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Lonely are the Brave (1962)

Video coverThis movie is based on Abbey's novel The Brave Cowboy.

There is an entry for this movie in the excellent Internet Movie Database.

Cover text

Life can never cage a man like this!

Kirk Douglas stars with Oscar winners Walther Matthau and George Kennedy in this taut modern-day western saga. Douglas is Jack Burns, a cowboy who tries to spring his friend from jail and ends up on the run alone. Walther Matthau is the Sheriff who must bring him to justice despite his own sympathy for the renegade.

One of Douglas' own favorites, Lonely are the Brave features an exciting script by the gifted Dalton Trumbo. With its sensitive performances and anti-establishment themes, the film, photographed in stark black and white, has also become a favorite of fans and critics alike since its initial release in 1962.

B&W / 1 Hr. 47 Mins. / Not Rated

Letter from Kirk Douglas

From the Los Angeles Times, March or April 1989 (exact date missing)

Death of Writer Edward Abbey

I was very sad to read in your paper that author Edward Abbey ("Thoreau of the American West") has died (Part 1, March 16). In your detailed obituary, I was astonished that no mention was made of his book "The Brave Cowboy.""

I came across a paperback edition of this book around 1960, and was deeply moved. I bought the movie rights and finally persuaded Universal to allow my company, Bryna, to make the film, which was brilliantly written by Dalton Trumbo and produced by Eddie Lewis. In the cast with me were Gena Rowlands, Walter Matthau and William Shatner, and introducing Carrel O'Connor in a small role. They all gave marvelous performances.

In the opening scene, I played Jack Burns (Edward Abbey), who rides across a wide plain and comes up to a large wire fence. I get off my horse, taking a pair of pliers, cut the fence and ride on. In your article you quote Abbey: "I am the one who loved un-fenced countries."

I never met Mr. Abbey, but we wrote to each other several times. I apologized to him that the studio insisted on changing the title of "Brave Cowboy" to "Lonely Are the Brave."

In the more than 60 films that I've made, this is my favorite. I am very pleased when I get a letter, or someone comes up to me saying it is also their favorite.

Hollywood was capable of transferring the feelings of this great environmentalist to film. People will always be able to see as well as read the beliefs of this great man in "Lonely Are the Brave."

Beverly Hills

This letter was supplied by Jim Cahalan, Professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania from the Abbey collection at the University of Arizona in Tucson, with the permission of Clarke Cartwright Abbey.


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