The discovery of gold in California in 1848 brings a tide of gold seekers to the area, disrupting the lives of the Guerrero family who have owned nearby Rancho Chico for generations. Among these are Dermod D'Arcy, in partners with a jailer, Bejabbers. At a fiesta where horse races are traditionally run, a stranger notices Dermod's exceptionally fast horse, Pathfinder, and urges him to enter the horse in the race. It becomes a three-horse race, with Don José Guerrero betting his ranch that his horse will win. When Pathfinder wins, Dermod takes the ranch as his share of the winnings and gives it to Don José's daughter, Josephita, with whom he had fallen in love earlier, when he met her. Dermod and Bejabbers leave to search for gold, and the town grows rich as more and more gold is amassed. Meanwhile, a bandit chief, Cannon, met Josephita's brother, Romauldo, and forced him to join the gang, which planned to loot the town of its gold before Wells and Fargo shipped it east. As two of the ... Written by
Arthur Hausner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The California Gold Rush provides the backdrop for this late-term western "silent" from MGM and director Allan Dwan. Early in his career, handsome young Tom Keene (as Dermod D'Arcy) makes a likable cowboy star; billed under his real name George Duryea, Mr. Keene would make a good dramatic impression in King Vidor's "Our Daily Bread" (1934). Her career winding down prematurely, painted leading lady Renée Adorée (as Josephita Guerrero) goes through the motions and emotions well; her small character roles from the period are surprisingly more memorable.
The two stars are upstaged by trouble-making brother William Collier Jr. (as Romauldo), who not only runs, but also gallops away with the film's best characterization. The Spanish ballad "Josephita", heard as Mr. Keene arrives for dinner with Ms. Adorée, reveals the later Anita Bryant (1960) and Marie Osmond (1973) melody "Paper Roses" was not very original. While nicely-produced and directed, the story, performances, and synchronized sound effects were old-fashioned when "Tide of Empire" was released; the film retains more of an out-of-sync than artful look.
****** Tide of Empire (3/23/29) Allan Dwan ~ Renee Adoree, Tom Keene, William Collier Jr., Fred Kohler
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