- SKU: 8268554
- Release Date: 05/08/2007
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California began life as a remake of Paramount's silent western epic The Covered Wagon, but by the time it emerged on-screen in 1946, the project had metamorphosed into a standard Technicolor frontier "spectacular", concentrating more on star power than anything else. Set during the 1848 mass migration to California, the film stars Ray Milland as Army deserter Jonathan Trumbo and Barbara Stanwyck as "shady lady" Lily Bishop. Since it is clear from the outside that the purportedly disreputable Trumbo and Lily will emerge as the film's true hero and heroine, it is easy to ignore the melodramatic plot convolutions and concentrate on the outsized, well-directed wagon train sequences. George Coulouris has a few ripe moments as a sagebrush Hitler who intends to set up his own despotic empire in California, while Barry Fitzgerald does his usual Irish-blarney routine as an itinerant farmer. As a bonus, Barbara Stanwyck sings a couple of newly-minted "cowboy" songs. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Man from the Alamo
The Man From the Alamo manages to pack a few nuances and surprises in its traditional western plotline. During the siege at the Alamo, John Stroud (Glenn Ford) is chosen by lot to leave the fort and warn the families of the mission's defenders of the impending arrival of General Santa Ana. But when everyone around him is wiped out by the Mexicans, Stroud has no proof that he was ordered to leave his post, and is therefore branded a coward. He spends the rest of the film performing acts of conspicuous bravery to clear his name--and also tracks down the film's real villain, Jess Wade (Victor Jory), who robbed the Alamo victims of their possessions after the smoke cleared. Julie Adams, Chill Wills, Hugh O'Brien, Neville Brand, Arthur Space and future soap-opera star Jeanne Cooper round out the cast. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Cimarron Kid
Though director Budd Boetticher is best known to western fans for his collaborative efforts with star Randolph Scott, Boetticher also turned out several worthwhile actioners with other cowboy stars. The Cimarron Kid stars Audie Murphy in the title role. After being falsely accused of a payroll heist, the Kid heads for the high country, where he joins the outlaw Dalton gang. When the Daltons are decimated during a daring daylight bank robbery, the Kid takes over what is left of the gang and hides out at a local ranch. Here he is reformed by the love of rancher's daughter Carrie Roberts (Beverly Tyler), but not so reformed that he doesn't embark upon one last robbery. Universal contractee Yvette Dugay has a high old time in the role of that notorious sagebrush camp follower, Rose of Cimarron. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
In the rough-and-tumble world of post-Civil War Texas, ex-Confederate soldier Kirk Jordan (Randolph Scott) crosses paths with ranch owner Ivy Preston (Joan Bennett). Although a loyal Southerner, Jordan can't get past the waste and tragedy of the four years that have just ended, but Ivy is eager to help keep the war for the Confederacy alive, running guns to her would-be lover, unrepentant ex-Confederate captain Alan Sanford (Robert Cummings), who is prepared to ally himself with the Mexican emperor Maximilian as a means of starting a new war against the "Yankee" government. Ivy is attracted to Jordan after he boldly helps her evade an army checkpoint, until she finds out how relatively peaceable he is. Jordan and his sidekick, Cal Tuttle (Raymond Hatton), are prepared to make a cattle drive to the new railhead at Abilene and sell at a handsome profit, but Ivy wants nothing to do with the United States or Yankee money, even as her more practically minded grandmother (May Robson) and her foreman, Chuckawalla (Walter Brennan), try to convince her otherwise. Only when Isaiah Middlebrack (Robert H. Barrat), the corrupt local administrator for the occupying Northern government, arrives announcing a head-tax on cattle does she change her mind and begin to see some worth in Jordan's ambition and boldness. Two deaths, of Middlebrack and a much-loved ranch hand, allow the ranchers and the occupying soldiers to reconcile and make the drive together to the border. Jordan and his outfit find a stricken, desperate Abilene, bereft of anything to be shipped on the new rail line. Jordan's arrival accomplishes everything he hopes for and more, and in the end Ivy sees and also glories in his vision, of a United States reunited and restored, growing and thriving as never before. But Jordan can't abide her continued affection for Alan, whose continued obsession with restoring the Confederacy is wearing on him and almost everyone else by now, and he plans on leaving. Ivy doesn't want to see that happen, but is torn over her lingering affection for Alan. But then she learns that he is planning to join a new organization, the Ku Klux Klan, intended to drive the Yankees out of the South, and she suddenly has to choose with which of these men her future lies. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Ray Milland - Jonathan Trumbo
- Barbara Stanwyck - Lily Bishop
- Barry Fitzgerald - Michael Fabian
- George Coulouris - Pharaoh Coffin
- Albert Dekker - Mr. Pike