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>
Good Silent But You Might Want to Hit the Mute Button
Tide of Empire (1929)
*** (out of 4)
This film would be the last silent Western released by MGM before they'd go to all sound and it's a pretty strong one even if it doesn't contain anything we haven't already seen. Tom Keene *under his real name George Duryea) plays cowboy Deermod D'Arcy who comes to California to get in on the gold rush. He ends up entering into a gambling contest where a rich baron loses his farm to him. This upsets the old man's daughter (Renee Adoree) who the cowboy tries to strike up a friendship with but her brother just can't seem to stay out of trouble and this here gives the cowboy a chance. TIDE OF EMPIRE isn't a very well known picture but it actually turned out to be much better than I expected due in large part to some nice performances and some fine direction. At just 73-minutes there's not too much time for boring subplots as things pretty much play out in a straight-forward fashion and in the way you'd expect. It might sound like a negative thing having everything happen as you expect but the performances make it worthwhile and you want to see everything turn out in the end. Keene does a very good job in the role of the good-hearted cowboy as I found him to be very believable in the part and he managed to get the characters good nature across without it seeming too corny. Adoree, best known for King Vidor's THE BIG PARADE, is very good as well. Her character is a flaw in the film because she's rather stupid in blaming everyone else for the family problems when it's in fact her father and brother causing all of them. I thought the screenplays weakness was with her character and the ways they try to get her across because it simply didn't work. It's hard to feel sorry for the brother or the father and it's even harder to accept the woman's "problem" with everyone else. Adoree still manages a strong performance as does William Collier, Jr. as the brother and George Fawcett as the father. Another major problem with this film is the annoying soundtrack that was added. If a movie wasn't sound by this time then it usually had at least a soundtrack to try and make it seem more "modern". This soundtrack isn't too bad when Leo the Lion is doing his growl at the start of the film but the crowd effects, chicken noises and everything else just comes off cheap and annoying. It's said that even crowds in 1929 were tired of this fake and silly noises and it's easy to see why as they do more harm than good and quite often they take you out of the moment.
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