John Wayne: The Fox Westerns Collection [5 Discs] [DVD]
- SKU: 8809015
- Release Date: 05/13/2008
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Ratings & Reviews
- The Big Trail 2-Disc Special Edition features - Disc One: Fox Granduer 70mm version of The Big Trail
- Commentary with film historian/Author Richard Schickel
- Featurettes - The Creation of John Wayne, Raoul Walsh: A Man In His Time, The Big Vision: The Grandeur Process, The Making of The Big Trail
- Photo Gallery
- Disc Two - Academy Aspect Ratio Version of The Big Trail
- North To Alaska - Fox Movietonews: North To Alaska Premiere beseiged by Broadway Throngs
- Original Theatrical trailer
- The Comancheros - Fox Movietonews: Claude King and Tillman Franks receive Award for The Comancheros
- The Undefeated - Original Theatrical Trailers
- Closed Captioned
Those familiar only with Johnny Horton's song hit North to Alaska might not be aware that the song came equipped with a movie. John Wayne and Stewart Granger star as a couple of lucky miners in Alaska Territory during the '98 gold rush. Since the Duke is the only man he can trust, Granger sends his pal to Seattle to fetch his fiance. Fabian appears in the cast (playing Granger's brother) primarily to attract teenage filmgoers; he gets to sing, of course, but he's better than usual. The film's centerpiece, an outsized brawl in the muddy streets of Nome, was repeated with several variations in Wayne's subsequent McLintock (1963). North to Alaska was based on a considerably more genteel stage play, Laszlo Fodor's Birthday Gift. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
This routine western finds Union Colonel John Henry Thomas (John Wayne) and company attacking Confederate soldiers lead by Colonel James Langdon (Rock Hudson). After a crushing defeat, Langdon torches his plantation rather than have it fall into enemy hands. A group of Southerners accept the invitation of Emperor Maximilian to join them, and Langdon heads off with a wagon train of settlers to a new land. Thomas with his adopted Indian son Blue Boy (Roman Gabriel) bring a herd of 3,000 horses across the Rio Grand for sale. The two factions meet at a Fourth of July party and relive the war through a drunken brawl. When Mexican General Rojas (Tony Aguilar) holds the Southerners hostage, Thomas orders the herd to stampede into the General's camp as ransom payment for their former enemies. Merlin Olsen plays the blacksmith Little George. Both Gabriel and Olsen were pro-football all-stars for the Los Angeles Rams. Olsen continued his acting and sports announcing after his gridiron days were over. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi
The Big Trail
The first "epic" western of the talkie era, The Big Trail is motivated by a hero's search for the murderer of his father. Twenty-three-year-old John Wayne, hitherto limited to bit parts, was thrust into the difficult leading role, a young mountaineer put in charge of a huge California-bound wagon train. Over the next several months, Wayne and his fellow pioneers face every imaginable hazard and disaster, from blistering desert heat to blinding snowstorms, negotiating steep cliffs, treacherous rivers, uncharted forests and other such natural obstacles. Meanwhile, Wayne's tentative romance with heroine Ruth Cameron (Marguerite Churchill) is continually thwarted by a charming but duplicitous gambler (Ian Keith), and all-around villain Red Flack (Tyrone Power Sr.) and his henchman Lopez (Charlie Stevens) ceaselessly plot to double-cross the other wagon-trainers for their own financial gain. The Big Trail was a box-office disappointment, a fact which some have attributed its expensive production methods. Each scene was lensed twice, once in 35-millimeter and then in the 65-mm "Fox Grandeur" wide-screen process. And then, each dialogue scene was filmed in French and German, with totally different casts. Even if Big Trail has been a big hit, it would have lost money thanks to the time-consuming shooting and reshooting of virtually every scene. Whatever the case, it was John Wayne who suffered most from the film's failure; instantly demoted to "B"-westerns, it took him nearly a decade to rebuild his stardom. Long believed lost, The Big Trail was made available for exhibition again in the early 1970s -- and in the 1990s the original widescreen version was at last restored for public view. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- John Wayne - Sam McCord
- Stewart Granger - George Pratt
- Ernie Kovacs - Frankie Canon
- Fabian - Billy Pratt
- Capucine - Michelle, "Angel"
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