Aboard the freighter Glencairn, the lives of the crew are lived out in fear, loneliness, suspicion and cameraderie. The men smuggle drink and women aboard, fight with each other, spy on ... See full summary »
When transplanted Texan Bob Seton arrives in Lawrence, Kansas he finds much to like about the place, especially Mary McCloud, daughter of the local banker. Politics is in the air however. ... See full summary »
Viennese surgeon Dr. Braun and his daughter Leni come to a small town in North Dakota as refugees from Hitler. When the winds of the Dust Bowl threaten the town, John Phillips leads the ... See full summary »
Texas cattle baron Stiles killed John Clayborn's parents ten years earlier. Now a lawyer, Clayborn tries legally to break up Stiles' water monopoly and rustling operation. When that fails he must use force.
As a youngster John Wyatt saw his parents killed and his brother kidnapped. On a wagon train heading West he meets his brother who is now a spy for the gang which originally did the dirty work. He and his brother both fall for Mary Gordon.
Robert N. Bradbury
Frank McGlynn Jr.
Though he fought for the North in the Civil War, John is asked by the Governor of Texas to get rid of some troublesome carpetbaggers. He enlists the help of Holden before learning that ... See full summary »
Featuring members of the 1931 National Champion football team from the University of Southern California Trojans, with team members Russell Saunders and Oscar "Dutch" Hendrian also cast in ... See full summary »
Roy William Neill
Talbot uses a phony land grant to rule thirteen million acres, taxing everyone heavily and evicting those who won't pay. The Three Mesquiteers becomes mysterious "night riders" to fight ... See full summary »
California Straight Ahead finds John Wayne as a school bus driver turned truck driver. The film was one of a series of six films that John Wayne made for Universal Pictures that was an attempt to broaden his acting horizons. Not one of these films that he did for Universal was a western.
Though this one does have some western like elements. The final climax has Wayne leading a wagon train like caravan of big rigs trying to beat the railroad to the Pacific Coast before a longshoreman's strike commences is definitely western like in its presentation for the screen.
California Straight Ahead also bears no small resemblance to the working stiff pictures that were more popular at Warner Brothers. Wayne's in a part that Pat O'Brien normally would have played. If the film had been done at MGM, Spencer Tracy would have been cast.
The Duke does not do badly as the happy go lucky Biff Smith who's a lazy fellow with little ambition, content to be a school bus driver. He's got a thing for Louise Latimer, but his lack of ambition distresses her mother, Grace Goodall, to no end. He actually gets himself canned from that job when he helps Latimer's brother, Emerson Treacy, get his cargo to Chicago after villain LeRoy Mason disables Treacy's truck. Wayne and Treacy form a partnership that later includes Harry Allen.
Mason was no stranger to John Wayne films, he appeared in several of Wayne's films as a western villain right up to and including some Three Mesquiteers series. Allen has a nice part, he plays cockney- accented James McCorkle, though there's no explanation as to how he landed from Piccadilly in the American mid-west.
California Straight Ahead, despite some big holes in the plot, is not a bad film for John Wayne. Considering some of the hard driving parts he mostly played, those early scenes in this film were something I had never witnessed from him before, even though he does eventually grow into the usual Duke character. That opening with him driving the school bus and the kids singing almost looks like the setting of a number from a Bing Crosby film.
The film's not great, but it's an interesting part for the Duke.
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