- SKU: 27231595
- Release Date: 04/21/2015
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Ratings & Reviews
Brothers end up on opposite sides of the law in this Western set during the Civil War. Posing as a Union officer, Don Mason, aka Don Burke (Milburn Stone), attempts to divert the Union troops from the struggle with the Confederacy by arming the Colorado Indian tribes. Unbeknownst to Don, however, his younger brother Jerry (Roy Rogers) is assigned by President Lincoln to investigate the uprisings in the territory and the youngster arrives just as Don is preparing to marry Lylah Sanford (Pauline Moore). With the aid of grizzled sidekick Gabby (George "Gabby" Hayes), Roy manages to disarm the crooked Indian commissioner (Arthur Loft) but Don slips away with Lylah as his hostage. Roy is wounded in the ensuing shootout and is nursed back to health by Lylah, with whom he has fallen in love. There is the inevitable showdown between the brothers but rather than face the hangman, Don makes a daring escape and is shot and killed by Sheriff Harkins (Fred Burns). ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi
Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe Trail, Errol Flynn's third western, has precisely nothing to do with the titular trail. Instead, the film is a simplistic retelling of the John Brown legend, with Raymond Massey playing the famed abolitionist. The events leading up to the bloody confrontation between Brown and the US Army at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, are treated in a painstakingly even-handed fashion: Brown's desire to free the slaves is "right" but his methods are "wrong." Whenever the leading characters are asked about their own feelings towards slavery, the response is along the noncommittal lines of "A lot of people are asking those questions," "I don't have the answer to that," and so forth. Before we get to the meat of the story, we are treated to a great deal of byplay between West Point graduates Jeb Stuart (Flynn) and George Armstrong Custer (Ronald Reagan), who carry on a friendly rivalry over the affections of one Kit Carson Halliday (Olivia DeHavilland). Just so we know that the picture is meant to be a follow-up to Warners' Dodge City and Virginia City, Flynn is saddled with Alan Hale and "Big Boy" Williams, his comic sidekicks from those earlier films. Despite its muddled point of view, Santa Fe Trail is often breathtaking entertainment, excitingly staged by director Michael Curtiz. The film's public domain status has made Santa Fe Trail one of the most easily accessible of Errol Flynn's Warner Bros. vehicles. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Arizona Kid
In this western, Roy Rogers rides out to stop angry Confederate terrorists from harassing Missouri residents because they voted to side with the Union. Roy plays a Confederate captain who is faced with a difficult situation when he is ordered to execute his best friend, one of the terrorists. ~ Iotis Erlewine, Rovi
To date, this D.W. Griffith epic is the only talking-picture effort to encapsulate the entire life of Abraham Lincoln, from cradle to grave. The script, credited to Stephen Vincent Benet, manages to include all the familiar high points, including Lincoln's tragic romance with Ann Rutledge (Una Merkel, allegedly cast because of her resemblance to Griffith favorite Lillian Gish), his lawyer days in Illinois, his contentious marriage to Mary Todd (Kay Hammond), his heartbreaking decision to declare war upon the South, his pardoning of a condemned sentry during the Civil War, and his assassination at the hands of John Wilkes Booth (expansively portrayed by Ian Keith). This was D.W. Griffith's first talkie, and the master does his best with the somewhat pedantic dialogue sequences; but as always, Griffith's forte was spectacle and montage, as witness the cross-cut scenes of Yankees and Rebels marching off to war and the pulse-pounding ride of General Sheridan (Frank Campeau) through the Shenandoah Valley. Thanks to the wizardry of production designer William Cameron Menzies, many of the scenes appear far more elaborate than they really were; Menzies can also be credited with the unforgettable finale, as Honest Abe's Kentucky log cabin dissolves to the Lincoln Memorial. As Abraham Lincoln, Walter Huston is a tower of strength, making even the most florid of speeches sound human and credible; only during the protracted death scene of Ann Rutledge does Huston falter, and then the fault is as much Griffith's as his. Road-shown at nearly two hours (including a prologue showing slaves being brought to America), Abraham Lincoln was pared down to 97 minutes by United Artists, and in that length it proved a box-office success, boding well for D.W. Griffith's future in talkies (alas, it proved to be his next-to-last film; Griffith's final effort, The Struggle was a financial disaster). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Hearts in Bondage
First-time director Lew Ayres performs miracles on a tiny budget in the Civil War drama Hearts in Bondage. The story offers a romanticized version of the events leading up to the battle between the "ironclads" Monitor and Merrimac. Northern naval officer Kenneth (James Dunn), the nephew of Monitor designer John Ericsson (Fritz Leiber) is dishonorably discharged when he sinks the Merrimac instead of burning it, as ordered. He is restored to duty as a crew member on the Monitor, and in the ensuing sea battle with the recommissioned Merrimac he kills Confederate officer Raymond (David Manners), the brother of Kenneth's fiancee Constance (Mae Clarke). The estranged sweethearts are ultimately reunited with the help of Abe Lincoln himself! Both James Dunn and Mae Clarke are miscast in their roles, but they do their best under the circumstances to make their material "work" -- and often succeed. The real stars of Hearts in Bondage are Republic's special-effects mavens Howard and Theodore Lydecker, whose splendid utilization of scale models in the climactic Monitor-Merrimac confrontation is both exciting and convincing. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Roy Rogers - Jerry Burke
- George "Gabby" Hayes - Gabby
- Pauline Moore - Lylah Sanford
- Milburn Stone - Capt. Stone
- Maude Eburne - Etta Mae
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