Hollywood Adventure Film Series [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

The Silver Horde
A somewhat primitive early talkie version of Rex Beach's lusty 1909 novel of Alaska salmon fishers, RKO's The Silver Horde was one of Joel McCrea's earliest breaks. Although third-billed to the more established Evelyn Brent and character star Louis Wolheim, McCrea played the leading role of Boyd Emerson, an adventurer finding himself stranded in the Alaskan wilderness along with sidekick Fraser (Raymond Hatton). Saloon hostess turned copper mine proprietress Cherry Malotte (Brent) falls in love with the newcomer and persuades business associate Tom Hilliard (William Davidson) to bankroll a salmon fishing operation for Emerson and the brutish-looking but lovable Balt (Wolheim). Emerson, however, is in love with Seattle debutante Mildred Wayland (Jean Arthur), whose snobbish father (Purnell Pratt) schemes with salmon industry magnate Frederick Marsh (Gavin Gordon) to sabotage the new endeavor. The rival fishing fleets meet in hand-to-hand battle for superiority with the Emerson-Balt crew emerging the winners. In retaliation, Marsh attempts to slander Cherry Malotte, but is killed by an out-of-control Balt. A major star of the late silent era, Evelyn Brent is struggling to convey her trademark toughness before the microphone, but McCrea makes a stalwart hero and Louis Wolheim is watchable doing almost anything. Jean Arthur is merely window dressing this early in her career, but Blanche Sweet, an icon of the early silent era, is completely wasted in a bit part as the villain's former girlfriend. It became her final screen appearance. The Silver Horde had been filmed once before, by Goldwyn in 1916 starring Myrtle Steadman as Cherry and Curtis Cooksey as Emerson. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Outpost in Morocco
While under contract to Warner Bros., George Raft turned down picture after picture as being "unimportant" and thus unworthy of his talents. Among his turned-down projects were such minor items as High Sierra and Casablanca. By 1949, however, Raft's star had eclipsed, and he was obliged to accept whatever came along. Outpost in Morocco wasn't exactly a "B" picture -- it was expensively filmed on location -- but neither was it in the same league as Raft's earlier vehicles. Cast as Capt. Paul Gerard, a foreign-legion officer, Raft finds himself on the horns of a dilemma. He must protect his garrison from the rebel hordes of a native Emir (Eduard Franz) -- who happens to be the father of Cara (Marie Windsor), the woman Gerard loves. Akim Tamiroff easily steals the show as Gerard's slovenly second-in-command. The film truly comes to life only during the battle scenes, which utilize the services of hundreds of genuine Legionnaires and Moroccan cavalrymen. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Bird of Paradise
Having inherited the warhorse stage piece Bird of Paradise from his predecessor William LeBaron, RKO Radio production chief David O. Selznick opted to do the property up brown, hoping to transform the Richard Walton Tully original into RKO's "prestige" offering of 1932. Joel McCrea stars as a handsome South Seas soldier of fortune who falls in love with Dolores Del Rio, the daughter of a Polynesian native chieftain. Alas, their idyllic romance is destined to come to a sudden and violent end: tribal custom decrees that Del Rio is to be sacrificed to the local volcano. After initial resistance, the heroine nobly resigns herself to her fate, realizing that there is no place for her in her white lover's civilization. A more conservative (and far less costly) version of Bird of Paradise was filmed in 1952, with Jeff Chandler and Debra Paget. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Renfrew of the Royal Mounted
An uneven mix of '30s crook melodrama and Rose Marie-inspired mountie romance, Renfrew of the Royal Mounted of radio fame came to the screen in 1937, courtesy of the founder of Grand National, Edward L. Alperson. Chosen to play the strapping title role was James Newill, a Nelson Eddy wannabe whose introduction number, "Mounted Men," was almost a carbon copy of "Stout Hearted Men." Newill's Renfrew is assigned to look into a counterfeiting ring operating on the Canadian border with the United States. The ring is headed by lodge owner George Poulis (William Royle), who is coercing convicted engraver James Bronson (Herbert Corthell) into working for him. When Bronson's daughter, Virginia (Carol Hughes), discovers the truth, she convinces the engraver to flee. Renfrew, who has been chasing the crooks on horseback and by airplane, eventually saves the Bronsons from perishing in a meat locker. Filmed in Grand National's studios on Santa Monica Boulevard and at Big Bear Lake, CA, Renfrew of the Royal Mounted proved popular enough to warrant a series. Grand National collapsed two years later but the series was picked up by Monogram and a total of eight Renfrew movies were ultimately released. A former singer on the Burns & Allen radio program, James Newill later went on to co-star in PRC's "trio" series Texas Rangers, where he was reunited with Dave "Tex" O'Brien, who had played one of the crooks in Renfrew of the Royal Mounted. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Blanche Sweet
    Blanche Sweet - Queenie
  • Evelyn Brent
    Evelyn Brent - Cherry Malotte
  • Jean Arthur
    Jean Arthur - Mildred Wayland
  • Joel McCrea
    Joel McCrea - Boyd Emerson
  • Louis Wolheim
    Louis Wolheim - George Balt
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