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Mountie Randolph Scott is leading a patrol when they discover a
massacred wagon train with the sole survivor, a little girl hidden
inside a barrel. Scott takes Shirley Temple back to the post where she
becomes the mascot of the post.
Susannah of the Mounties borrows a whole lot from Shirley's previous film Wee Willie Winkie. She's the granddaughter of the post commandant there, also becomes a mascot. She's got an Irish sergeant as a special friend in Wee Willie Winkie it's Victor McLaglen, here it is J. Farrell MacDonald. And of course the little child in all her innocence brings about an accommodation between Indians on two separate continents and the white man.
The period identified here is 1882-1884 when the Canadian Pacific Railway is being constructed and that's worked into the plot also. I thought I had spotted a goof in Susannah of the Mounties when I saw during a flag raising ceremony a British Union Jack raised. A Canadian cyberfriend says I was wrong and proved it. Canada even though it became a self governing dominion in 1867 never got its own flag until 1965. Learn something new every day.
Susannah of the Mounties also reminded me of the Rin Tin Tin series from back when I was a lad. A boy and a German Shepherd puppy were the only survivors of a wagon train massacre and Lee Aaker as Corporal Rusty got to grow up on Fort Apache. I thought the same back in the Fifties when I saw this film re-released as the second half of a double bill.
Randolph Scott and Shirley Temple show some real affection for each other, he may have been the best of her adult male co-stars. Of course Scott also has eyes for the extraordinarily beautiful Margaret Lockwood who is his commanding officer's daughter. Lockwood did two films in Hollywood, Rulers of the Sea and this one before returning to the UK.
Although Shirley was getting a bit old and her box office was just beginning to wane, Darryl Zanuck still made a mint off Susannah of the Mounties. And the public got its money's worth too.
As always with any movie Shirley was in, she did a brilliant job.Her lines were good, not missing any, and her dance routines were excellent as always. I have seen her perform with the best of the best, and she stands right out as being very professional. She is a child actress that never let success go to her head. She always comes off as being sweet and caring and in my opinion never once got arrogant even though she made it big. you can see the sincereness that she had when portraying Susannah and in every other roll she portrayed. There will never be another actress who will even come close to her talents and spirit. She is a once in a lifetime person.
I happen to be viewing the colored version on tv, which is fine. Young
Shirley had grown up just a little more since her last role as the Little
This movie about Mounties, Indians, and adventure is the kind of entertainment we as kids would sit through in a dark theater on Saturday afternoons, with much noise, lots of popcorn, and plenty of fun. I believe the main storyline deals with the troubles encountered when laying down the railroad line out West. Such an action clashed with the Indians' way of life; they also felt threatened by the white man's progress into their territory.
It's questionable to see Victor Jory as an Indian. Well this is a movie so anything can happen. Little Susannah (Shirley Temple) has a harrowing time at the beginning, being the only one left after an Indian raid. She's found hiding under a barrel and befriended by Inspector Monty (Randolph Scott) who takes her under his wing and gives her shelter. One episode later shows her having a good time teaching Monty how to dance (with a book on his head), him being so tall and her still short, it's very amusing to watch.
Much action of Indians, war dances, troubles afoot. I liked the scenes of beautiful mountains as I live west of the Rockies too. Original Blackfoot tribesmen were a big part of this film.
Good adventure, lots of activity, great for youngsters and those who are still young at heart!
A young girl, the only survivor of an Indian attack, becomes involved
in the life of the Canadian Mounted Police officer who rescued her.
An aging Shirley Temple (she was 12) brings her special charm to this pleasant, if predictable, programmer. Although her glory days were behind her as Hollywood's top box office star, the mighty moppet still had the power to delight audiences with her appealing personality. If at times it seemed as though she was straying a little too near the hammy or histrionic, who can blame her? For years she had been one of the industry's hardest working troopers, tirelessly promoting her movies, Fox Studios and the many efforts to raise the American people's spirits during the Depression. And she did it all with that marvelous, megawatt smile. By the time she appeared in SUSANNAH OF THE MOUNTIES, one of her last 'little girl' roles, her spot in cinematic history was secure & unassailable.
Stalwart Randolph Scott & pretty Margaret Lockwood deal with the romantic subplot, which fortunately is not allowed to intrude too much. Victor Jory, as usual, plays his villainous role well. Splendid character actor J. Farrell MacDonald, as an old Irish Mountie, shares some tender moments with Shirley.
The film's action scenes are well done, with lots of shooting & excitement. While an attempt is made to show some of the conflict from the viewpoint of the Indians, having them all speak in pidgin English, even to each other, is a bit wearying. Members of the Blackfoot Nation appear throughout the film, adding greatly to its authenticity.
This is one of my favorite Shirley Temple films. She as always is captivating. The story line is interesting, and the characters believable. I would recommend this to any family to watch.
I have a vast collection of Shirley Temple movies in my possession. I don't however have all of them I am still in search of some of the ones that I don't have but, I do have Susannah of the Mounties and I watch it often. I enjoy this movie because I've always liked movies that have a variety of nationalities in it. And Susannah of the Mounties has a mixture of white and native americans in it and I liked it. True she doesn't sing or dance in it like she is known for in her earlier works but, she still touches the hearts of watchers through her talents. In this movie she ends up teaching watchers that not all native americans are bad and that indeed whites and native americans could live together peacefully. Through her befriending the young native american chief she is showing people that all ethnic groups can live together peacefully and be friends to. She also shows how important it is to be there for loved ones or good friends when they are in need like she does for Inspector Montague after she finds out that he has been captured and almost put to death by the Blackfeet Tribe. And by being friends with Chief Big Eagle and Little Chief she convinces the Blackfeet tribe to save Inspector Montague and to punish the real traitor. I think all her movies teaches us the lessons of life we need to learn and because of her being the popular child star she was and how everyone loved her she was able to teach children good from bad and be the positive influence that she was and always will be.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SUSANNAH OF THE MOUNTIES (20th Century-Fox, 1939), directed by William
A. Seiter, stars Shirley Temple, now 11-years-old, trying new ground so
not to repeat herself. No songs or dance numbers here, just plain
outdoors adventure between white men and Indians.
Temple plays Susannah Sheldon who is orphaned after her family is killed in an Indian massacre, thus, becoming the sole survivor found and taken in by a Canadian Mountie, Angus Montagu (Randolph Scott). She soon bonds with the Mountie and later rescues him from being sacrificed by Indians, who believe him to be a traitor. Susannah later exposes the one who is.
Not as memorable as some of her earlier outings, but watchable. Temple has her moments with Scott in a scene in which she tries to teach him how to dance in order to impress an attractive visitor, Vicky Standing (Margaret Lockwood). Margaret Lockwood, an English actress, is best known for her performance in the Alfred Hitchcock's suspenser, THE LADY VANISHES (1938). She also worked in another Hollywood produced feature, RULERS OF THE SEA (Paramount, 1939) before returning to England where her roles surpassed those made in Hollywood. As for Shirley, she is even given some screen time opposite an Indian boy, Little Chief (Martin Good Rider), who calls her "papoose," which is Indian for "baby." Also featured in the cast are J. Farrell MacDonald, Moroni Olson and Victor Jory. As mentioned during the opening credits, scenes were filmed on location in the Canadian mounties. With plenty of background scenery, one wonders why it wasn't done in Technicolor. Otherwise, it's convincing actioner.
SUSANNAH OF THE MOUNTIES, which can be found on video cassette from Playhouse Video, formerly played in the colorized context on the Disney Channel in the early 1990s, later on American Movie Classics from 1996 to 2001, and afterwards on the Fox Movie Channel, where it's presented either in its original black and white format or colorization. (***)
Well, "all good things come to an end," or "nothing lasts forever." One
of those clichés can pertain to this film which, sadly,signaled the end
of Shirley Temple's career as the cute kid America and the world fell
in love with during the 1930s. Her films that were so successful during
this decade that she was number one at the box office for several
years. This movie did not do well at the box office and certainly is
not a memorable film.
One reason it wasn't appealing was that Shirley only sang one quick number (a waltz). That's it - one song! There was no dancing, nothing up-tempo to perk up the audience.....zilch!
The story is a Canadian Mounted Police/railroad one with good and bad Indians thrown in. The two main bad men, a railroad guy and an Indian, don't have big roles so most of the people in the film are good guys. Randolph Scott and Margaret Lockwood are appealing leads.
I just found the story too bland, too flat....just nothing to get excited about or warrant giving a second look. Most people who saw it at the theater seemed to agree. Her "era" had come to an end.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Right out of the gate you get a surprise with this film when you see
Shirley Temple's name above both Randolph Scott and Margaret Lockwood
during the opening credits. I happened to catch the colorized version
of this picture on Turner Classics, and it had it's good and bad
points. The filming locations included some impressive scenery, but at
the same time some of the long shots like those of the Indian camp
looked like rear screen projection photography. It was a bit
distracting in those instances.
I caught this picture shortly after seeing Shirley in 1936's "Stowaway" with Robert Young, and the three year difference in her age is noteworthy. In "Stowaway" she was just about at the height of her popularity; as the older Susannah Sheldon here some of the charm seems to have worn off of her persona. Not that she doesn't have an affecting screen presence, but the more 'mature' aspect of her character requires a bit more workmanship and the situations she finds herself in are more adult like.
I take political correctness in stride but I wonder how modern day viewers watch a movie like this today. There's plenty to get worked up about if one's a feminist or sensitive about racial intolerance. Susannah berates Mountie Pat O'Hannegan for doing a womanly chore like sewing a button on his uniform, while Shirley's opposite Little Chief (Martin Good Rider) scolds her for walking or riding ahead of him, he being a male and she being a mere squaw. I liked the way Little Chief ironed things out later in the story with 'Little Golden Hawk' by making her his 'blood brother'.
For a Shirley Temple picture, there's not much in the way of song or dance, though she does manage to teach Inspector Angus Montague (Scott) how to waltz so he can effectively romance Miss Vicky Standing (Lockwood). I'd have to say I was impressed with the actress's wardrobe throughout the story, in color her gowns and dresses were quite fashionable.
In terms of adventure, the movie did have it's share of cowboy, in this case Mountie versus Indian action, some of it quite vicious from a family viewing standpoint. I was going to have my young granddaughter watch this with me until I previewed it; I think I'll wait a while on that idea. But the resolution of the story is done effectively, with 'Little Golden Hawk' standing her ground with Blackfoot Chief Big Eagle to save Mountie Monty's hide and uncover the treachery of renegade Indian Wolf Pelt (Victor Jory). The closing scene of Shirley smoking the peace pipe is a well placed subliminal message to young viewers of all eras to refrain from smoking altogether.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Essentially, a lesser remake of "Wee Willie Winkie", in a setting of
sometimes hostile Canadian Native Americans, instead of thieving tribal
Afghans, in another part of the British Empire, of the times. Very
vaguely inspired by the novel of the same title. The second and final
appearance of ruggedly handsome, charming, Randolph Scott, as the male
lead in a Shirley Temple film. Actually, this wasn't their first dual
appearance in a western. Back in 1933, 5 y.o. Shirley had a minor role
in the Scott western "To the Last Man". Their second appearance
together, in "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm", is the best of the 3 films,
for various reasons.
I couldn't believe my eyes when, in the opening scene, with Scott leading a routine patrol of Mounties. They are wearing silly-looking bell hop caps, instead of the wide-brimmed 'police hats' we normally associate with the RCMP, or the 'pith helmets' sometimes worn in the earlier days of the North-West Mounted Police(NWMP)(The RCMP wasn't named as such until 1920). There must be a story behind this glaring travesty of decorum, but I don't know it. Very unusually, Scott is sporting a moustache, which seems to be a requirement for being a Mountie, since all the others have a similar moustache. Also, in the colorized version which I saw, their jackets are a dull orange, rather than the cardinal red traditional RCMP. The historical setting of the plot is equally unhistorical. It has certain elements of the Blackfoot attacking settlers and crews building the Canadian transcontinental railroad, which places this story in the 1880s. Well, the Blackfoot never joined the Sioux, Arapaho and northern Cheyenne, to the south, in their armed resistance to European expansion and the building of railroads across their hunting grounds, which by then had long ago been depopulated of their essential bison prey. On the other hand, some actual Blackfoot were included among the costumed Native Americans. This is more authentic than most westerns of this general era. Even John Ford usually cast his familiar Navahos as Apaches, Comanche, Cheyenne, etc.
The NWMP patrol led by Scott, as Monty, comes upon the remains of a wagon train, with no apparent survivors of an apparent 'Indian' attack, until a barrel is noticed rocking a bit. Inside they find Shirley(Susannah) who, strangely, initially is fearful of them, rather than relieved. Obviously, someone else must have placed the barrel over her, and it's strange the attackers didn't investigate the contents of the barrel, as possible plunder. Since Susannah doesn't seem to have any surviving relatives, it's decided to keep her at the post for a while. with Monty and Pat(J. Farrell MacDonald) serving as her unofficial guardians. Pat makes or buys her a new outfit, Susannah being surprised that he can sew well. His awful toupee, which he only occasionally wears, becomes a running gag, as naïve Susannah uses it to polish Monty's boots, then later it keeps being shot off during a Blackfoot attack on the Mounties' compound.
Beautiful Brit, Margaret Lockwood, cast as the superintendent's visiting daughter(Vicky) soon shows up. She and Monty immediately hit it off romantically, causing great jealousy on the part of 11 y. o. Susannah, who now considers Monty 'her man', acting the part of a wife in taking care of some of his domestic chores. She is greatly relieved when it's decided that city girl Vicky will return to Toronto, while Monty will remain at the post. Susannah's other new male in her life is Blackfoot Little Chief: son of Chief Big Eagle. The Blackfoot, real and fake, speak in stereotypical Hollywood 'Indian pidgin English', often in the extreme, with just 'unh' for yes. Little Chief exhibits this in the extreme. Although Susannah initially hates Little Chief for his dismissal of her as a mere childish squaw, with all the implications relating to Blackfoot squaws, eventually they strike up a bit of a friendship, even mingling blood from their fingers, supposedly making them 'blood brothers'. They also smoke a makeshift peace pipe together, with Susannah supposedly feeling sick and dizzy afterward. This is repeated in the final scene when, at a peace council, she is forced to smoke a real peace pipe, since she was instrumental in bringing out the truth about the stolen horses and supposed plan of the Canadian Army to attack the Blackfoot, thus causing Big Eagle to declare an end to hostilities. Again, she initially smiles, then frowns, clutching her throat. Shirley would begin a lifelong smoking habit in just a few years, which would eventually lead to her death just a year ago, from lung dysfunction.
Shirley's trademark dancing and singing is confined to teaching Monty to waltz, so he can dance with Vicky before she leaves......Humor is mostly confined to cultural conflicts between Susannah and Little Chief, Pat's toupee, and Susannah's jealousy relating to Vicky.....At times, there's a good deal of war-whooping and dancing, and shots of masses of 'Indians' riding horses on a war mission... During the Blackfoot night attack on the Mounties' post, it appears that most of the complex is on fire. Yet, in the morning, there appears to be only minor damage, quickly being repaired......In the critical matter of determining whether Susannah + Little Chief or Wolf Pelt is telling the truth about the stolen horses and Canadian troops, the medicine man employs a 'truth stick', placed vertically, supposedly falling toward the liar. I couldn't find any historical reference for any culture using such. However, in principle, it rather resembles 'trial by ordeal' or trial by other methods based mostly on chance.
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