The Grey Vulture/California in '49 [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

California in '49
The epic struggle for the rights to California became the basis for Days of '49, a 15-chapter serial produced by Ben Wilson's Berwilla Corporation. The chapterplay was re-edited into this 7-reel feature Western starring Neva Gerber as Swiss settler Johan Sutter's highly fictitious but spirited daughter who falls for a handsome trail guide (Edmund Cobb). Historical episodes keep interfering the slam-bang action in this Western, such as when a group of settlers, stranded in a snow storm, poignantly implore Cobb to "try to break through -- and take our last horse, even if it will cut our food supply short!" The group in question was, of course, the ill-fated Donner Party. Constantly reminding the viewer of its serial origins, the film is often quite disjointed. In fact, Neva Gerber's "Sierra Sutter" could have been referring to California in '49, when following an Indian raid she remarked (via a title): "I shall never forget the awfulness of it all." ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

The Grey Vulture
An undistinguished silent B-Western, The Grey Vulture starred personable newcomer Ken Maynard as Bart Miller, a drifter who mistakenly believes that he killed a man in a fight. Heading for the hills, Miller encounters -- of all things -- a stagecoach filled with a bevy of chorus girls. Escorting the girls to their destination, Bart makes the delightful acquaintance of yet another lovely girl, Betty Taylor (Hazel Deane aka Hazel Maye), the daughter of the ranch owner. Miller earns the girl's eternal gratitude by catching the ranch foreman (Boris Bullock), who had absconded with the cattle. To make Miller's day even more perfect, the sheriff (Fred Burns) arrives with the news that the man he thought he had killed has recovered. To publicize Ken Maynard's first series as a star, producer Clifford S. Elfelt hired six former Ziegfeld Follies girls, who appeared -- uneasily -- in all five Maynard/Davis films. The girls were variously billed as The Hollywood Beauty Sextette and The Six Famous Beauties, but they were merely window dressing. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Cast & Crew

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    Neva Gerber - Sierra
  • Edmund Cobb
    Edmund Cobb - Cal Coleman
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    Ruth Royce - Arabella Ryan
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    Wilbur McGaugh - Robert Marsden
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    Charles Brinley - John Augustus Sutter
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