This is Stanley Kramer’s powerful production of C.S. Forester’s sweeping novel, The Gun, about the Spanish ‘citizens’ army’ that went to battle against the conquering legions of the French in 1810. The picture was in preparation and production in Spain for a year and a half.
It is the story of the band of guerillas who come upon an oversized cannon that is abandoned by the retreating Spanish army. All things revolve around the huge weapon; it becomes symbolic of the spirit and courage of the Spanish patriots and their leader (Frank Sinatra).
From this point on Passion focuses on this unlikely army seeking to make its way to the French stronghold at Avila against incredibly tall odds. Their ally is Cary Grant, a British naval officer assigned to retrieve the gun for use against Napoleon’s forces.
Sophia Loren is Sinatra’s sultry and inflammable mistress with beaucoup accent on the decollete. At first hostile toward Grant, she comes to recognize his pro-Spanish motives and veers to him romantically. They make for an engaging trio.
Top credit must go to the production. The panoramic, longrange views of the marching and terribly burdened army, the painful fight to keep the gun mobile through ravine and over waterway – these are major plusses.