The Great American Western, Vol. 34 [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Digitally mastered
  • Interactive menus
  • Chapter selections
  • Digitally enhanced audio 5.1

Synopsis

California
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

Shootout at Big Sag
In this western, originally designed as the pilot of a television show that never made it to air, a self-designated preacher desires to control the Big Sag territory of Montana. To do this, he must first force two newly arrived Texans off of their land. Meanwhile, the preacher's wife knows that he is too yellow-bellied to actually do the dirty deed. She sends their lovely daughter to town with a note for the owner of the local saloon. During the journey, the girl is caught in a big storm. She weathers it out with the Texan's son. Naturally the two fall in love, but this does not stop the girl from continuing on to deliver the note to the lecherous proprietor who immediately begins making a play for the innocent young girl. His lasciviousness pushes his alcoholic wife over the brink and in a jealous rage she fatally shoots him. It is then revealed that the greedy saloonkeeper has hired a gunslinger. The gunslinger ends up killed by the preacher, who then officiates the wedding ceremony for his daughter and his rival's son. Afterward he solemnly swears to never again use a gun. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Western Cyclone
In this "Billy the Kid" series western, Billy (Buster Crabbe) is framed by an outlaw gang. Fortunately, state governor Arnold (Karl Hackett) is in Billy's corner, and surreptitiously helps Our Hero prove his innocence and bring the crooks to heel. But he'd better hurry: part of the bad guys' frame involves the kidnapping of Mary (Marjorie Manners), the governor's daughter. Al St. John as usual provides genuine laughs as Billy's sidekick Fuzzy Q. Jones. Though Buster Crabbe's PRC westerns were as a group pretty threadbare, Western Cyclone is definitely better than usual. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Sheriff of Sage Valley
In this episode of the "Billy the Kid" series of westerns, outlaw Billy (Buster Crabbe) is mistakenly appointed Sage Valley's new sheriff. He likes the job and works hard to maintain order. Unfortunately his crooked twin brother, who runs a casino and is in hiding after a murder, wants to keep the town a haven for crooks. To do this, he masquerades as Billy and starts causing trouble. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Ray Milland
    Ray Milland - Jonathan Trumbo
  • Barbara Stanwyck
    Barbara Stanwyck - Lily Bishop
  • Barry Fitzgerald
    Barry Fitzgerald - Michael Fabian
  • George Coulouris
    George Coulouris - Pharaoh Coffin
  • Albert Dekker
    Albert Dekker - Mr. Pike
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