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Boulder Dam (1936)

Passed  |   |  Action, Drama  |  7 March 1936 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 63 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 2 critic

"Rusty" Noonan, a hard-boiled, cynical, selfish smart-aleck, working as a mechanic in a Detroit garage, is outraged when he has to work overtime on repairing the shoddy work he had done on ... See full summary »



(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: Boulder Dam (1936)

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Complete credited cast:
Patricia Ellis ...
Eddie Acuff ...
Ed Harper
Henry O'Neill ...
Mr. Agnew
Egon Brecher ...
Eleanor Wesselhoeft ...
Joseph Crehan ...
George P. Breakston ...
Stan Vangarick (as George Breakston)
William Pawley ...
Wilson - Garage Boss
Ronnie Cosby ...


"Rusty" Noonan, a hard-boiled, cynical, selfish smart-aleck, working as a mechanic in a Detroit garage, is outraged when he has to work overtime on repairing the shoddy work he had done on a taxicab, gets into an argument with the shop-foreman, Wison. The foreman takes a swing at him and misses but Noonan, a trained boxer connects with his punch. The blow catches Wilson on the chin, knocks him off his feet and his head hits the floor and he is killed. Noonan flees, wanders about the country and eventually arrives in the desert-town of Las Vegas, Nevada, where the mighty Boulder Dam is being constructed on the near-by Colorado River. He is befriended by Ann Vangarick, gets a construction job on the dam project, and he begins to see the error of his past ways. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 March 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La montagna incatenata  »

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Did You Know?


Toddling Along with You
(1935) (uncredited)
Music by Allie Wrubel
Lyrics by Mort Dixon
Sung by Patricia Ellis
See more »

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User Reviews

An Interesting Snapshot
27 June 2012 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

The movie's first part is gritty and cynical, the sort of qualities that defined Warner Bros. of the time. Rusty's got a chip on his shoulder and because of that ends up joining thousands of other unemployed guys, except the cops are looking for him on a murder charge. These passages are riveting. At the same time, we don't so much identify with the surly Rusty as we wait to see what happens to him as he hops freights and stays in hobo jungles. A sense of the Depression-era 1930's is vividly conveyed in these scenes.

However, once Rusty meets up with Ann (Ellis), the movie settles into a more conventional love story, with construction of Boulder Dam as a background. The construction scenes are pretty well done, a mix of real footage of the dam, plus process shots for the more difficult staging. Also, we see how public works projects of the 30's, like the dam, were used to put lines of men back to work, perhaps a lesson for our own recessionary times.

I'd never seen Alexander before. Despite his slender frame, he manages to convey the needed amount of grit and toughness, though his Rusty is not particularly likable, an interesting departure from most movies. But it's really tall, blonde Ellis who impressed me. She projects a lot of no-nonsense personality right out of the Warner Bros. stable of tough dames (Blondell, Farrell, et. al.). Ellis had the talent and looks for bigger things, but mysteriously dropped out of sight at decade's end (IMDB).

All in all, the movie remains an interesting little slice of history that deserves more cable showings than it's had.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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