The scenario of the western “Sierra Torride” has evolved a lot over time, to the point of changing so much as to be disowned by the author of the original story, who said he was “dismayed”.
Sierra Torride is a western released in 1970 when Clint Eastwood had been shooting for 4 years in the United States and on his return from Italy where he shot the “dollar trilogy” for Sergio Leone. It was born from a bitter failure (the western singing La Kermesse de l’Ouest) and a real success (the war film When Eagles Attack).
The actor is not the first choice for Sierra torrido, a western that navigates the aesthetics of Leone’s films to the point that Eastwood wears the same belt as the three films shot in Italy). The film was written as a sequel to God Only Knows, starring Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr. In the end it will be very different, under the guidance of director Don Siegel, who knows Eastwood well, and to whom Torrid Sierra is entrusted.
The original story is written by Budd Boetticher, known for directing superb westerns with Randolph Scott and having his work rewritten by Albert Maltz (The City Without Veils, Cloak and Dagger). An experience that left a bitter memory for Boetticher who echoed it in the French press when asked if he was dissatisfied with the film:
Not unhappy, just upset. I’m a big fan of Don Siegel, but as far as I’m concerned he made a mistake.
“He had invited me to a screening of Torrid Sierra, which was supposed to be a love story, my first ‘tender’ film, and see what he made of it. He calls me the next morning to thank me for not leaving the room before the end. ‘Don, how could you make a movie like that?’ He replies, ‘It’s such a wonderful thing to wake up in the morning knowing you’ll find a check in the mailbox every week’!”
Its producer was an idiot.
“I think it’s best to look in the mirror and not be ashamed of what you see while shaving. But it wasn’t all Don’s fault, his producer was a jerk. In fact, today I could shoot my own version of Burning Sierra: no one would recognize it».
The following year, Eastwood agrees to shoot Gold for the Brave to find Don Siegel, who won’t end up making the film, stuck precisely in post-production on Sierra torrid, which will be released a month AFTER Gold for the brave, yet shot after.