|Index||3 reviews in total|
Zane Grey's "To The Last Man" ("The Golden West" was supposedly based on
"The Last Trail") has been expanded to include all of the historic
of the American westward expansion movement. Pictorially impressive
due the the inclusion of much stock footage from the earlier silent film
collaborations of John Ford/ George O'Brien "The Iron Horse" and "Three
Men" (the Grand Tetons and the Nevada desert) and scenes from the 1930
I have hunted for this movie as various sources indicated that it had scenes filmed in Sedona, AZ. Unfortunately, the copy I found was made from a poor print (missing 6 minutes of footage) and an absolutely horrible video transfer. I am unable to be sure if the Indian encampment was filmed in Sedona due to the murkiness and fuzziness of the background scenery. The same is true of the scene where Motano presents Betty's daughter with his only former life's possession-the music box. It may have been filmed on Oak Creek. Other new footage appears to have been filmed at the upper Iverson Ranch, and definitely at Vasquez Rock.
There is almost too much movie for its 74 minute running time. The silent footage is edited into the production in a nearly seamless fashion. The usual self deprecating O'Brien humor is evident throughout, as are the many Americana vignettes. The movie is interesting for early performances by Hattie McDaniel and Onslow Stevens. Bert Hanlon makes for an amusing itinerant Jewish Irishman Dennis Epstein.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Thanks goodness for CINEVENT Film Festival for playing it in 2013.
Seeing is believing, and this film has to be seen to be believed. It's a funny, corny action film with great melodramatic scenes mixed with multiple shots of major silent films to make it look like a bigger production than it actually was.
And the plot(s) seem to be mashed together from several short stories.
SPOILERS: In this western, based on a Zane Grey novel, the hero leaves town after someone is killed during a feud. As he escapes, he meets up with Indians. Generations pass and the children of feuding families finally get together but only after radical plot twists.
It was hard to take this picture seriously since the plot was so
contrived and beyond believability. I would say it has too much plot,
and is actually a saga or an epic type film, but condensed here to 74
minutes. George O'Brien is the hero of the piece, and it begins as he
graduates from an eastern college, on a stagecoach with his
bride-to-be, played by Janet Chandler.
Fast forward twenty years, after O'Brien and Chandler move west and are slaughtered by marauding Indians, leaving their young son to be captured. He grows up and becomes their chief. One day he and a raiding party come upon settlers, including the daughter of the ex-girlfriend of his father. They capture the settlers, but soon after he becomes an ally of the U.S. Cavalry.
If it all sounds hard to swallow, it is. Too much plot contrivance squashed in to a picture which needed more run time. Ultimately, the film becomes less interesting as a good story peters out into confusion. The acting is sub-par, but O'Brien is stalwart and masculine and he gets some help from Bert Hanlon as an Irish/Jewish traveling salesman. "The Golden West" is a tough slog except maybe for George O'Brien fans. At Cinevent, Columbus O., 5/13.
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