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The Big Trail (1930)

Passed  -  Adventure | Western | Romance  -  1 November 1930 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,080 users  
Reviews: 51 user | 31 critic

Breck Coleman leads hundreds of settlers in covered wagons from the Mississippi River to their destiny out West.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writer:

(story)
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Title: The Big Trail (1930)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Marguerite Churchill ...
Ruth Cameron
El Brendel ...
Gus
Tully Marshall ...
Zeke
Tyrone Power Sr. ...
Red Flack (as Tyrone Power)
David Rollins ...
Dave Cameron
Frederick Burton ...
Pa Bascom
Ian Keith ...
Bill Thorpe
Charles Stevens ...
Lopez
Louise Carver ...
Gus's mother-in-law
Edit

Storyline

Breck leads a wagon train of pioneers through Indian attack, storms, deserts, swollen rivers, down cliffs and so on while looking for the murder of a trapper and falling in love with Ruth. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Important Picture Ever Produced


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 November 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Raoul Walsh's The Big Trail  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(35 mm) | (70 mm) | (FMC Library Print) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was shot in both a format known as Fox Grandeur, a 70mm wide screen film process developed by the Fox Film Corporation and used commercially on a small scale in 1929-31, as well as a standard Academy ratio format. Both versions survive, and differ significantly in composition, staging and editing. Grandeur was a forerunner of the Todd-AO 70mm system which was introduced in 1955.) Grandeur was one of a number of wide screen processes which were developed by the major Hollywood studios alongside sound in the late 1920s and early 1930s. A combination of the Great Depression and the costs of converting thousands of cinemas to sound prevented the successful introduction of any of these projection systems on a commercial scale. See more »

Quotes

Marshal: Thorpe, why don't you get back on the Penzy Belle (a riverboat) and make yourself scarce. If you're here when the boat pulls out, the boys will certainly lead your pony out from under ya.
See more »

Connections

Edited into New Frontier (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

Gruss (Leise zieht durch mein Gemüth)
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Words from a poem by Heinrich Heine (only instrumental)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I feel like a film archaeologist
5 February 2005 | by (Stockholm, Sweden) – See all my reviews

I have really nothing to add to all the other comments, save this: To me the film looked like a silent film slowly being adapted to sound. The text boards bringing the story along reinforced that impression I suppose. Along the way the actors were allowed to leave the stilted, theatre-like acting; Marguerite Churchill very much looks like a typical early silent movie heroine at the beginning of the film, but at the end is allowed finer expressions. Gus, the Swede?, reminded me of the comic characters of Shakespeare plays, and Windy sounded to me like an early Donald Duck.

It truly amazed me that it was all filmed outdoors, on location, and even though the dust of all the wagons, horses and cattle obscured the view it must actually have been like that for the real settlers! It also was clear to me that many of those Indians must have been real, and I didn't detect any overt racism towards them. And John Wayne looks so incredibly young! As someone who became a real Wayne fan through the cavalry trilogy by John Ford, and thought that Stage Coach was Wayne's first as a leading star, this film was a revelation. The plot is very simple, again reminding me of a silent film, but the grit is very real indeed! An amazing film to have been made with that technique and under those conditions in 1930!


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