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Barbara Bel Geddes,
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[Fred's holding Albany's horse]
Turn loose Fred! Turn loose!
You still haven't told me where you spent last night!
I told you 10-times I stayed at the Tavern!
The stable boy said not!
Because I told him to tell you that! Because I'm sick of your crazy jealousy and because you or nobody else owns me!
Your a liar!
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"Chad Hanna" is truly the kind of film they don't make any more. A pity!
Chad Hanna (Henry Fonda) is a country farm boy who helps a black slave to escape, and then runs away with a circus together with a slave tracker's daughter (Linda Darnell). Originally dazzled by a seemingly glamorous circus performer (Dorothy Lamour), Chad eventually falls in love with the daughter and marries her, and they both make the circus their way of life. Nothing very enthralling happens, and the charm of the film comes from watching famous people early in their careers.
Linda Darnell is particular is a revelation. She was about seventeen years of age when she made "Chad Hanna", yet already her rapport with the camera is evident. So too is the warmth of her personality and the skill of her underplaying. With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to see why she became a big star, but what is intriguing is that in "Chad Hanna" Dorothy Lamour, who was already a big star, no longer seems attractive or interesting. It is not obvious why she was so popular at that time. Henry Fonda, of course, was already a movie "natural". He never seems to be acting, but somehow he is always both likable and believable. Fonda really holds this movie together.
20th Century Fox was the first major studio to master colour in movies. In the late 'thirties and early 'forties, most colour in films was garish and gaudy, but several Fox films had really beautiful colour, and "Chad Hanna" is one of them.
"Chad Hanna" is certainly a throw-back to the past, and quite possibly people who judge movies only in terms of their kinetic imagery will find it slow. For those who are not stimulated by violence and synthetic excitement, "Chad Hanna" is well worth watching.
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