One of the last bills signed by President Lincoln authorizes pushing the Union Pacific Railroad across the wilderness to California. But financial opportunist Asa Barrows hopes to profit from obstructing it. Chief troubleshooter Jeff Butler has his hands full fighting Barrows' agent, gambler Sid Campeau; Campeau's partner Dick Allen is Jeff's war buddy and rival suitor for engineer's daughter Molly Monahan. Who will survive the effort to push the railroad through at any cost? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The world premiere in Omaha, Nebraska, was a three-day celebration that drew 250,000 people, doubling the population of the city and requiring the National Guard to help keep order. The special train en route from Hollywood to Omaha, carrying Cecil B. DeMille and stars Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea, took three days and made stops along the way, drawing large crowds. The film was shown in three theaters simultaneously; President Franklin D. Roosevelt was reported to have started the premiere proceedings by pressing a button in Washington, DC, which opened the civic auditorium. An ad stated that the premiere, which involved parades, radio broadcasts and a banquet, was the biggest in motion picture history. An antique train continued on a 15-day coast-to-coast promotional tour, stopping at 30 cities around the country. See more »
After the train wreck, and during all the scenes that immediately follow, Barbara Stanwyck suddenly appears with a very stylish 1939 bobbed hairstyle which we had not seen before, and which, of course, is completely inappropriate to the time period during which the story is taking place. See more »
What's a dead Indian, more or less? The Army's been killing them for years.
The Army doesn't kill Indians for fun, Campeau. And I don't think you do, either.
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Another reason why 1939 is the #1 Hollywood Production Year!
Amidst the glamour of "Gone With the Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz", this b&w Cecil B. DeMille Historical Fiction Classic received its share of eager 1939 movie theatre audiences. Starring a wholesome Irish immigrant Barbara Stanwyck, a noble law man Joel McCrae and a dashing dare devil Robert Preston, "Union Pacific" delivers a love-triangle centered around the historic 1869 joining of rail road tracks to connect the Western and Eastern borders of the United States. The love story is "formula", but delivers several "moments" where many viewers will fumble for their Kleenex. The climactic final scene showing the pay-off for all of the material and human sacrifices is priceless!
The very last of DeMille's b&w ventures, Union Pacific is one of those gems that endured the test of time, endearing the "glorious black and white" to generations of viewers. I first saw this classic as a child; I loved it then, as I still do today. Of all of the Hollywood movies ever produced, no single year of film-making has ever stood out from the rest like 1939. "Union Pacific" helped solidify this status. A true Hollywood Classic!
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