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Dodge City (1939)

Approved | | Western | 8 April 1939 (USA)
A Texas cattle agent witnesses first hand, the brutal lawlessness of Dodge City and takes the job of sheriff to clean the town up.

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Writer:

(original screen play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Matt Cole
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Dr. Irving
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Col. Dodge
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Yancey
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Lee Irving
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Tex Baird
Bobs Watson ...
Harry Cole
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Mrs. Cole
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Munger
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Storyline

Dodge City. A wide-open cattle town run by Jeff Surrett. Even going on a children's Sunday outing is not a safe thing to do. What the place needs is a fearless honest Marshal. A guy like Wade Hatton, who helped bring the railroad in. It may not help that he fancies Abbie Irving, who won't have anything to do with him since he had to shoot her brother. But that's the West. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's Errol Flynn In His Greatest Role . . . A picture for every red-blooded son and daughter of the stars and stripes ! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 April 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Esclavos del oro  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The barroom brawl was supposedly the largest ever filmed. See more »

Goofs

During the scene where the angry townspeople gather en masse outside the jail after Yancey is arrested, just above the rooflines of the buildings is seen a group of tall palm trees - certainly not native to Dodge City, Kansas, but relatively plentiful outside the studio sound lot in California. See more »

Quotes

Rusty Hart: Well, well. So this is Dodge City, huh? Sort of smells like Fort Worth, don't it?
Wade Hatton: Oh, that's not the city you smell. That's you! We better get you to a bathtub before somebody shoots you for a buffalo.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Making of 'Cape Fear' (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

(I Wish I Was in) Dixie's Land
(ca 1860) (uncredited)
Written by Daniel Decatur Emmett
Sung by some patrons in the saloon
See more »

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User Reviews

Warner Western Gamble Pays Off with Flynn Hit...
7 October 2003 | by (Las Vegas, Nevada) – See all my reviews

1939, the greatest year in film history, produced a number of classic westerns (John Ford's STAGECOACH, George Marshall's DESTRY RIDES AGAIN, Cecil B. DeMille's UNION PACIFIC), and while Michael Curtiz' DODGE CITY may not be in quite the same league, it represented a considerable gamble for Warner Brothers, and had a major impact on the career of it's star, Errol Flynn.

Prior to DODGE CITY, there had NEVER been a successful western with a non-American leading man; foreign actors were considered too alien to the settings and action of this most American of genres. But there had never been an actor like Errol Flynn, the wildly successful Tasmanian who had proved himself as comfortable on a horse as with a sword in his hand. Coming off the most prolific year of his career (THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, THE DAWN PATROL), Flynn had become such a box office draw that the WB decided it was worth the risk to star him in a big-budget western.

The risk paid off, as DODGE CITY was a major hit for the studio!

As Wade Hatton, an adventurous 'soldier of fortune' who decides to try his hand herding cattle in the 'Wild West', Flynn looks too boyishly handsome to be true...but teamed (yet again!) with Alan Hale and Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams (a new 'drinking buddy' for his off-screen carousing), he proves himself more than a match against the desperadoes ever present in these films. When his boss, Col. Dodge (veteran WB character actor Henry O'Neill), needs a man to bring law and order to the town named after him, the fast-shooting, incorruptible Hatton (loosely based on Wyatt Earp), is his only choice.

Of course, with Flynn present, it was nearly inevitable that Olivia de Havilland would be on hand, as well, although a tragedy early in the story would delay their romance for a bit. Meanwhile, corrupt town boss Jeff Surrett (Bruce Cabot, another off-screen pal of Flynn), plots to rid 'his' streets of the annoying crusading sheriff.

Adding to the fun is rising star Ann Sheridan, as a saloon singer who is also Surrett's mistress. In her first film with Flynn, she matches his rakish, 'devil-may-care' attitude, and would go on to make two more movies with him (EDGE OF DARKNESS and SILVER RIVER).

Featuring broad comedy by Hale and Williams (including one of the most memorable barroom brawls in screen history), a terrific large-scale climactic shootout, and Flynn and de Havilland's potent on-screen chemistry, DODGE CITY offered audiences all the elements they expected in a western...with Technicolor (one of the first major westerns to use it), and a famous Max Steiner score, to 'sweeten' the mix.

There is a curious twist at the film's end; Dodge City now tamed, Col. Dodge informs our heroes that another community, Virginia City, needs their help, in what looks like an obvious lead-in for a sequel. While VIRGINIA CITY would be made, in 1940, again directed by Curtiz, with a Max Steiner score that repeated the DODGE CITY themes, and starring Flynn, Hale, and Williams, their names would be different, and the film would NOT be a sequel to DODGE CITY!

With the success of DODGE CITY, Errol Flynn proved his profitability in westerns, which would became a staple of his career. He made a total of eight at the WB over eleven years, and, in fact, made more westerns than swashbucklers OR war movies.

The western 'experiment' completed, Flynn and de Havilland now returned to tights and medieval gowns, to join Bette Davis in THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX...


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