Born to Be Wild (1938)

Approved  |   |  Action, Comedy, Drama  |  16 February 1938 (USA)
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Truck drivers Steve Hackett and Bill Purvis are fired from their jobs with the West Coast Trucking company for not using second-gear going down steep grades. Davis, the company ... See full summary »



(original screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Doris Weston ...
Mary Stevens
Robert Emmett Keane ...
J. Stearns Davis
Ben Hewlett ...
Wilson (as Bentley Hewett)
Charles Williams ...
Company Spotter
Davison Clark ...
Byron Foulger ...
George Anderson ...
Edwin Stanley ...
Ben Hendricks Jr. ...
Sterlita Peluffo ...
Manuela (as Stelita)
Lew Kelly ...
Reilly, Diner Counterman
Harrison Greene ...
J. Carroll Malloy
George Magrill ...


Truck drivers Steve Hackett and Bill Purvis are fired from their jobs with the West Coast Trucking company for not using second-gear going down steep grades. Davis, the company vice-president, surprisingly asks them to carry a load of merchandise to Arrowhead and offers a $1000 bonus. He tells them it is a load of lettuce. Several miles out of Los Angelese, they are stopped by a mob of lettuce-farm workers on strike. When the first crate is tossed off the truck, it explodes and the two pals learn their merchandise is a cargo of dynamite. The workers let them proceed and they crash into a car driven by Mary Stevens, whom they had met at a restaurant. She and her dog, "Butch" (played by a Credited dog named Stooge), join them and they deliver their cargo, and learn unscrupulous real-estate operators have jammed the locks on the dam in order to ruin the ranchers and farmers and take over their property. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


There's danger about when two motor maniacs hit the high spots of the highways! See more »


Action | Comedy | Drama | Music


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Release Date:

16 February 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nasceu para ser Selvagem  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Written by Eduardo Durant, Harold Peterson & Carlos Ruffino
Sung and danced by Sterlita Peluffo (as Stelita)
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User Reviews

Adventures of truckers Byrd and Bond hauling a load of dynamite
2 August 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

No "Wages of Fear" this, but a fun Republic picture directed by Joseph Kane and written by the famous novelist Nathanael West (!), who wrote "Day of the Locust" and "Miss Lonelyhearts". That's reason enough to see what's going on, and there are indeed some pretty nifty repartee and one-liners rattled off.

Look what we have going for us. We have Ward Bond, the major John Ford player, and he does a rhumba in one scene. Ralph Byrd, who played Dick Tracy. There's lots of open road photography in semi-arid landscapes and California landscapes, with fast-moving cars and trucks. There's an explosion of a diversion lock to a dam that's fun. Plus there are several songs, lip-synched by Byrd I'd guess. These are light opera fare and enjoyable. Throw in a Spanish dance for good measure.

It's a totally unexpected mix. Who cares about the plot? Byrd and Bond think they're hauling lettuce, but instead it's dynamite. Along the way, others attempt to stop them, and this includes a girl that Byrd falls for, in good humour no matter what she does. She's played by one Doris Weston whose three year movie career ended in 1939. She represents ranchers who don't want to be flooded out, and then there are some bad guys.

Writer West is an uncredited writer of an early and famous film noir, "Stranger on the Third Floor" and the noirish "Five Came Back", but his fame is due to the two novels mentioned above, both of which were made into worthy films.

Perhaps if I watched "Born to be Wild" again with the idea in mind of picking up West's novelistic themes, I might detect them. But they didn't jump out at me, so for now it looks as if he was earning his paycheck.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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