IMDb > The Iron Horse (1924)
The Iron Horse
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The Iron Horse (1924) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.3/10   1,115 votes »
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MOVIEmeter: ?
Up 13% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers:
Charles Kenyon (story) and
John Russell (story) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Iron Horse on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1925 (Germany) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
THE WEDDING OF THE RAILS! ONE OF AMERICA'S MOST THRILLING HISTORICAL DEEDS--THE DRIVING OF THE LAST SPIKE FOR THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD (original ad - all caps) See more »
Plot:
Springfield, Illinois. Brandon, a surveyor, dreams of building a railway to the west, but Marsh, a contractor... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
1 win See more »
NewsDesk:
(29 articles)
Our Daily Bread #6
 (From MUBI. 13 May 2014, 1:23 AM, PDT)

Top 10 movie westerns
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 8 November 2013, 8:21 AM, PST)

Killruddery Film Festival–A Festival with a difference
 (From TheMovieBit. 24 September 2013, 9:46 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Where East Meets West See more (24 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

George O'Brien ... Dave Brandon

Madge Bellamy ... Miriam Marsh
Charles Edward Bull ... Lincoln
Cyril Chadwick ... Jesson
Will Walling ... Thomas Marsh
Francis Powers ... Sergeant Slattery
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Corporal Casey (as J. Farrell Macdonald)
Jim Welch ... Private Mackay (as James Welch)
George Waggner ... Buffalo Bill (as George Wagner)
Fred Kohler ... Bauman
James A. Marcus ... Judge Haller (as James Marcus)
Gladys Hulette ... Ruby
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Jean Arthur ... Reporter (uncredited)

Chief John Big Tree ... Cheyenne Chief (uncredited)
Danny Borzage ... Minor Role (uncredited)
George Brent ... Worker / Extra (uncredited)
Milton Brown ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Thomas Carr ... Rail Worker (uncredited)
Peggy Cartwright ... Miriam as a Girl (uncredited)
Colin Chase ... Tony - Italian Worker (uncredited)
Harvey Clark ... Dentist-Barber (uncredited)
Elmer Dewey ... Minor Role (uncredited)
John Webb Dillon ... Tall Woodsman in Prologue (uncredited)
Thomas Durant ... Jack Ganzhorn (uncredited)
Bob Fleming ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Willie Fung ... Chinaman (uncredited)
Jack Ganzhorn ... Thomas C. Durant (uncredited)
James Gordon ... David Brandon Sr (uncredited)
Ed Jones ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Tiny Jones ... Woman Who Wants a Divorce (uncredited)
Sid Jordan ... Gunfighter (uncredited)
Dick La Reno ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Delbert Mann ... Charles Crocker (uncredited)
Robert Milasch ... Hell on Wheels Bartender (uncredited)
Winston Miller ... Davy as a Boy (uncredited)
Pat Moriarity ... Rail Worker (uncredited)
Charles Newton ... Collis P. Huntington (uncredited)
Herman Nowlin ... Minor Role (uncredited)
John B. O'Brien ... Dinny (uncredited)
Charles O'Malley ... Maj. North (uncredited)
Jack Padjan ... Wild Bill Hickok (uncredited)
Edward Peil Sr. ... Old Chinese Railroad Worker (uncredited)
Jack Richardson ... Union Officer at White House (uncredited)
Vinegar Roan ... Bit Role (uncredited)
Walter Rodgers ... Gen. Dodge (uncredited)
Harold D. Schuster ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Tom Smith ... Cowhand (uncredited)
Chief White Spear ... Sioux Chief (uncredited)
Charles Stevens ... Indian (uncredited)
Frances Teague ... Polka Dot - Dance Hall Girl (uncredited)
Stanhope Wheatcroft ... John Hay (uncredited)
Leo Willis ... Gunman in Saloon (uncredited)
Chief Eagle Wing ... Indian (uncredited)
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Directed by
John Ford (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
Charles Kenyon (story) and
John Russell (story)

Charles Kenyon (scenario)

Charles Darnton (titles)

Produced by
Kevin Brownlow .... producer (1995 version)
David Gill .... producer (1995 version)
Patrick Stanbury .... executive producer (1995 version)
John Ford .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
John Lanchbery (1995)
William P. Perry (1974)
Erno Rapee (1924) (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
George Schneiderman (photography)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Edward O'Fearna .... assistant director (uncredited)
Frank Powolny .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
William S. Darling .... art department supervisor (uncredited)
Lefty Hough .... property master (uncredited)
R.L. Hough .... props (uncredited)
Herbert Plews .... assistant props (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Burnett Guffey .... additional photographer (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Nick Adams .... telecine engineer (1995 version)
Martin Gent .... on-line editor (1995 version)
Harold D. Schuster .... assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
John Lanchbery .... orchestrator (1974 re-release)
 
Other crew
William Fox .... presents
Karl Malkames .... restorator (1974 re-release)
Harold D. Schuster .... production assistant (uncredited)
 
Thanks
George Stephenson .... dedication: to the honour and memory of the Scottish engineer
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
150 min | 133 min (TCM print)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Sweden:15 | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
When on location, the crew built a large town set in which many of the buildings had practical rooms. These rooms soon became living quarters, holding areas and storage space. The editing lab was set up in the post office set.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Snow all over the girl disappears by the time she goes through the gate with her father.See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
Where East Meets West, 8 October 2005
Author: lugonian from Kissimmee, Florida

THE IRON HORSE (Fox, 1924), directed by John Ford, is an story set during the middle of the 19th century America about the building of the first Transcontinental Railroad. One of the very best examples of a lavish scale western produced during the silent era, said to be the answer to Paramount's earlier production of THE COVERED WAGON (1923), but most importantly, the first major project for Ford after nearly a decade in the director's chair to now gain the recognition he truly deserves.

The story opens with a prologue set in Springfield, Ill., 1853, revolving around Davy Brandon, first as a youngster (Winston Miller) with deep affection towards Miriam Marsh (Peggy Cartwright), his childhood sweetheart. Davy's father (James Gordon) is a surveyor who dreams about the crossing of the western wilderness, while Miriam's father, Thomas Marsh (William Walling), is a skeptic. However, one of the citizens, Abraham Lincoln (Charles Edward Bull), believes in this man's theory and knows he'll accomplish his means. Setting out to accompany his father on a mission to survey an appropriate route through the mountains for the coming railroad, Davy bids a tearful farewell to Miriam. During their westward journey, Davy, who is hidden away because of foreseen danger, witnesses the brutal killing of his father by a white man dressed up as an Indian whose only identification if the loss of a thumb and two fingers on his right hand. After burying his father, Davy is taken in by a passing scouting party. A decade later, 1862, Abraham Lincoln is president of the United States; Davy (George O'Brien) is a Pony Express rider out to fulfill his father's dream leading into the building of the Transcontinental Railroad; and Miriam (Madge Bellamy), now engaged to Peter Jesson (Cyril Chadwick), an Eastern surveyor working for her father actually working for Deroux (Fred Kohler), the richest landowner, who stands to profit if the railroad goes through instead of through the pass. After being reunited with Miriam, Jesson finds himself in stiff competition. The two men become bitter enemies, especially after Jesson's attempts in doing away with him. Matters become complex until the golden spike gets hammered into the rail on that historic day of 1869 as east meets west through the continental railroad.

In the supporting cast are Gladys Hulett (Ruby); Jack O'Brien (Dinny); three musketeer pals of J. Farrell MacDonald (Corporal Casey); Francis Powers (Sergeant Slattery); and James Welch (Private Schultz), as well as historical figures of Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickock and John Hay enacted by George Wagner, John Padjan and Stanhope Wheatcroft.

THE IRON HORSE (title indicating the locomotive train) plays like a D.W. Griffith production with prologue, historical figures, flashbacks and epilogue, and like a screen adaptation to an Edna Ferber novel telling its story through the passage of time, along with soap-opera ingredients (complicated love triangle), but no usual conclusions of central characters going through the white hair and wrinkles aging process. Overall, this is John Ford's storytelling, cliché as it may be, placing fictional characters against historic setting, along with the oft-told murder-mystery subplot of a son out to avenge his father's killer, a historical movie that's become an important part of cinema history. Ford, the future four time Academy Award winning director, with a handful of motion pictures to his credit, best known for westerns, would provide similar themes in his future film-making. As popular as THE IRON HORSE was back in 1924, it's amazing that Ford didn't attempt doing a remake, especially in 1939 when westerns reached it peak of popularity. It took Cecil B. DeMille to attempt a similar story with UNION PACIFIC (Paramount, 1939) starring Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea. Like THE IRON HORSE, UNION PACIFIC, which tells its story in over two hours, features villains, Indian massacres and thousands of extras.

George O'Brien, a rugged actor, was an ideal choice for the role of Davy Brandon. Although he worked under Ford's direction numerous times in latter years, and showed his capability as a dramatic actor in F.W. Murnau's SUNRISE (1927), he never achieved major stardom. He did work steadily mostly in "B" westerns through the early 1950s. Co-star Madge Bellamy offers her typical heroine performance, caught between two men who vie for her affection, but is far from being a strong character. While the acting overall is satisfactory, from today's viewpoint, some heavy melodramatics as the method of fainting by youngster Davy after witnessing his father's massacre, or Bellamy's performance in general, might provoke some laughter. Scenes such as these can be overlooked by great location scenery as Monument Valley, a race against time and action scenes typically found in Ford westerns.

Television history to THE IRON HORSE began when it became one of the movies from the Paul Killiam collection to air on public television's 13-week series of "The Silent Years" (June-September 1975), hosted by Lillian Gish. In her profile about THE IRON HORSE (accompanied by an excellent piano score by William Perry), Gish talks about its location shooting in the Nevada desert, the use of 100 cooks to feed the huge cast, and 5,000 extras consisting of 3,000 railway workers, 1,000 Chinese laborers, many horses and steers. Decades later, THE IRON HORSE made it to the American Movie Classics (1997-1999) and Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere December 9, 2007 ) accompanied by orchestral score with 15 minutes of additional footage as opposed to the 119 minutes presented on both "The Silent Years," and the Western Channel in 2001. Distributed to home video Critic's Choice in 1997, availability on DVD came a decade later.

THE IRON HORSE may not be historically accurate as promised through its opening inter-titles, but it's sure an ambitious John Ford production to still be entertaining today. (****)

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