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   1,139 votes »
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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:
John Ford's First Epic Look At American 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)

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:
According to Lefty Hough, about thirty-five of the many extras were retired, elderly Chinese-Americans who had previously had decades-long careers working for the railroad. Hough described them as 'wonderful' to work with.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: The Union Pacific steam engine at the Golden Spike ceremony was the UP119, not the UP116.See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
24 out of 25 people found the following review useful.
John Ford's First Epic Look At American West, 13 December 2000
Author: Ron Oliver (revilorest@juno.com) from Forest Ranch, CA

A young boy grows to fulfill his murdered father's vision of seeing THE IRON HORSE, the mighty transcontinental railway, stitch the country together, binding East to West.

Bursting with excitement & patriotic fervor, THE IRON HORSE is the film which put young director John Ford on the cinematic map. He brought together all he had learned from years of making shorter, smaller films and he produced a product which heralded his enormous contributions to sound films in the years to come. This is a `director's picture' in that the stars, as good as they are, are almost negligible; what was important here was Ford's vision & his ability to place it before the audience. Indeed, he does not even bring his leading man (George O'Brien) on screen until 45 minutes into the story - a shortcut to disaster almost anywhere else.

(In all fairness it should be noted that O'Brien, handsome & strong-limbed, does very well as the gentle hero. He would find similar roles in other epic films of the decade. J. Farrell MacDonald, as Irish Corporal Casey, is the prototype for many comically eccentric fellows who would appear in other Ford westerns.)

The film often takes on the aspects of an ancient newsreel. Cattle drives, Indian attacks & endless track laying all look utterly real. Particularly fascinating is the depiction of the dismantlement of the end-of-the-track town, so that not even a dog is left, as it is moved many miles further on to the west. This type of arcane information is what makes watching very old films so enjoyable.

THE IRON HORSE represented the largest migration out of Hollywood for location shooting up to that time. Nothing like this had been attempted before, so Ford & his lieutenants were forced to make up the rules as they went along.

Hiring a circus train, the small army of extras arrived at the subzero Nevada location in January of 1924. The conditions which greeted them were authentically primitive. It was so cold, the extras quickly began sleeping in their costumes. Finding the train to be flea ridden, they moved into the sets and began living exactly as the characters they were portraying. The female extras especially suffered from the rugged conditions. A frontier mindset seemed to take over many of the cast & crew; the circus tent, which doubled as both the movie saloon and the crew's commissary, eventually had to have the catsup bottles removed from the tables to discourage the many fights which kept breaking out.

Authenticity found its way into the movie in other, more positive, ways. Several of the elderly Chinese extras, representing laborers on the Central Pacific, had actually worked on the real McCoy sixty years previous. They came out of retirement to appear in the film & enjoyed themselves immensely. Ford also managed to locate the two original locomotives which met at Promontory Point, Utah, in 1869 and reunited them for the film's climax.

Composer John Lanchbery has contributed a splendid soundtrack to the restored video version, incorporating several contemporaneous tunes of the period. It would be intriguing to double bill THE IRON HORSE with Cecil B. DeMille's UNION PACIFIC (1939), which tells the same historical story, but with a completely different tack & set of fictional characters.

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