Will Penny

Will Penny

Charlton Heston blamed this picture's poor box-office performance on the film's downbeat ending as well as the Paramount Studios who he said "more or less buried the release of films made under the previous regime, preferring to press forward with their own plans".

Charlton Heston has often said of all the films he's made, this is his favorite.

Charlton Heston once said of this movie: "The script for 'Will Penny' was one of the best I ever read, it made a marvelous Western."

Charlton Heston received top / first billing, Joan Hackett received second billing, Donald Pleasence received third billing.

Charlton Heston said of this movie's director Tom Gries in his 1995 autobiography 'In the Arena: An Autobiography': Gries was "a gifted, mercurial, oddly unpredictable and somewhat childlike man...Gries was not...a good captain, which a great director must be...but with...the right material Gries excelled".

Bruce Dern once said of working with Charlton Heston on this picture: "And I got to really like the guy. A lot of people told me that I wouldn't like him, but I liked him. And he tried very hard. I mean, 'Will Penny' is far and away the best thing he's ever done."

Both Eva Marie Saint and Lee Remick turned down the female lead of Catherine Allen which eventually went to Joan Hackett.

Feature film debut pf Jon Gries. Billed as Jon Francis, it was never the original intention to cast the boy part of Horace (aka Button) with the director's son. According to a DVD Special Feature, Jon would be at the studio whilst the picture was in development. He would spend time playing until one day the film's producers invited him into the office. Later, they told the director they had found their boy for the part.

Fifth feature film directed by Tom Gries. As all of Gries' previous films had arguably been B-movies, this film can be considered Gries' first A-movie production. His credits prior to this film were dominated by writing and director gigs on television.

First credited role in a theatrical film for Lee Majors. Majors had previously appeared uncredited in Strait-Jacket.

Real antique weapons and pistols were hired for use as props in this movie instead of using studio stock props in order to give the picture a sense of real authenticity.

Second theatrical feature film role for actor Anthony Zerbe. His first had been as Dog Boy in Cool Hand Luke.

The character of Horace / Button was actually the son of this film's writer-director, Tom Gries.

The hat that Charlton Heston wore in this movie and in about four westerns in total was a treasured item of his that got stolen.

The original trailer was narrated by Andrew Duggan.

Theatrical feature film debut of G.D. Spradlin who previously had worked in television.

This film was based on an episode entitled "Line Camp" in Sam Peckinpah's TV series The Westerner. The episode was also written and directed by this films writer and director, Tom Gries See: Line Camp).

This picture was theatrically released only a week after another Charlton Heston movie, Planet of the Apes. That film was widely released on 03 April 1968 just seven days before this picture's debut on 07 April 1968.

Various people said to Charlton Heston, as outlined in his 1995 autobiography 'In the Arena: An Autobiography', "That's maybe the best movie you ever made, Chuck, but if you'd taken the girl with you at the end, it would've made a ton of money, too."

Writer Tom Gries wouldn't sell this movie's film-script to the Paramount Pictures studio unless he got to direct this movie.