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Olivia de Havilland,
Clay Hardin is a San Antonio rancher who has been run off his land by cattle rustlers. There's a range war going on and Hardin is determined to get the man behind it all, Roy Stuart. Hardin has been hiding out in Mexico, biding his time and decides the time has come for him to return. He's managed to get hold of one of Stuart's tally books that clearly shows he was selling cattle that didn't belong to him. Stuart and his partner Legare will go to any lengths to stop Hardin before he can put the evidence before a court. Beautiful dance hall performer Jeanne Starr arrives in San Antonio under contract to Stuart and Legare but she is clearly smitten with the handsome Hardin. When the army is called away, Hardin and his supporters are left on their own to defend themselves. Written by
As he lies dead in Flynn's arms, John Litel blinks at least twice. See more »
[about the dance]
Took me years to pick up.
It must have been the only thing that took you that long.
Well, we don't get pretty girls like you down here often. Guess that's why we have to pay for it.
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After a layoff of four years from the American west, Errol Flynn returns to the western genre in a stylish film about post Civil War Texas and a man looking for some justice for himself and his fellow cattle ranchers. Errol's been in exile in Mexico, but he's back now with the evidence against cattle rustling Paul Kelly who is the local boss of the San Antonio area.
Flynn makes it to San Antonio and in the process hooks up with entertainer Alexis Smith and her two retainers Florence Bates and S.Z. Sakall, a pair of the biggest scene stealers that the movies ever had. Smith is appearing at Kelly's saloon there, courtesy of his partner Victor Francen for whom she worked back in New Orleans. Francen's an ambitious sort and wants to cash in Kelly's other businesses besides the saloon. So we've got two villains working their own agendas at cross purposes whom Flynn has to deal with.
Errol Flynn did a total of eight westerns, but only San Antonio got any kind of recognition from the Academy. San Antonio was nominated for two Oscars, for Art&Set Decoration for a color film and for Best Song with Some Sunday Morning which Alexis Smith sings in a saloon scene. The song is a good one, Dick Haymes had a record of it that sold quite a bit back in the day.
All the cast had to keep on their toes with both Florence Bates and S.Z. Sakall in the cast. Especially 'Cuddles' Sakall. Part of the plot involves Sakall witnessing the murder of Flynn's friend and ally John Litel and being intimidated by the bad guys. With his eye rolling and fractured English, Sakall is at his best in San Antonio.
For the traditional western fan there's enough gunplay and fights to satisfy anyone. Flynn has a nice triangular shootout with both Kelly and Francen at the Alamo ruins, each man trying to get the other two for their own reasons. I say ruins because the chapel had not been restored yet as a historical monument as it is now in downtown San Antonio.
As for the film, San Antonio is a most satisfying western for both fans of the genre and Errol Flynn.
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