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California (1947)

Passed  |   |  Romance, Western  |  21 February 1947 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 510 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 5 critic

Epic account of how California became a state, featuring a wagon train, the Gold Rush, a wicked saloon queen, and an evil profiteer.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: California (1947)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
George Coulouris ...
...
Mr. Pike
...
Don Luís Rivera y Hernandez
...
Whitey
Gavin Muir ...
Booth Pennock
James Burke ...
Pokey
Eduardo Ciannelli ...
Padre
Roman Bohnen ...
Col. Stuart
...
Elvira
...
Sen. Creel
...
Wagon Woman
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Storyline

"Wicked" Lily Bishop joins a wagon train to California, led by Michael Fabian and Johnnny Trumbo, but news of the Gold Rush scatters the train. When Johnny and Michael finally arrive, Lily is rich from her saloon and storekeeper (former slaver) Pharaoh Coffin is bleeding the miners dry. But worse troubles are ahead: California is inching toward statehood, and certain people want to make it their private empire. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No town would have her! No man could tame her! See more »

Genres:

Romance | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 February 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kalifornia  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on January 30, 1950 with Ray Milland reprising his film role. See more »

Goofs

A number of the pistols used by characters appear to be cartridge revolvers, rather than cap-and-ball. See more »

Quotes

Booth Pennock: You know, Trumbo, if ever you grow up, you'll learn that a woman is like a poker game. What you take in one hand you drop in the next.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Something to Talk About (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

CALIFORNIA OR BUST
Music by Earl Robinson
Lyrics E.Y. Harburg
Sung by chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fails to Gel
20 August 2012 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

The movie is a stab at an epic western that simply fails to gel. The best part is the "moving west" scenes of wagon trains convoying across the open southwestern terrain. These achieve an epic feel that the dramatics unfortunately fail to duplicate. The screenplay itself is pretty crowded, telling the story of California's becoming a state, no less. From settlers to gold rush to saloons to political intrigue, the story is traced out mainly through Milland, Stanwyck, and Coulouris, with Fitzgerald as a salt-of-the-earth anchor.

Now, that might work, except director Farrow has little feel for the material. The various parts come across in rather limp, unexciting fashion. It's as if he's content to simply film the script without bringing its many conflicts to dramatic life. Thus, the drama is conveyed in words instead of characters. Then too, Oscar winner Milland appears either miscast or uninspired. His role really calls for a bigger personality than Milland's generally low-key wagon master. (He may have viewed a western as a comedown after his award winning role in The Lost Weekend.) Stanwyck is of course Stanwyck even though she's dolled-up to suit Technicolor filming and crowded around by the packed screenplay . Too bad the guy who could have enlivened the action remains in supporting background, namely, the commanding Albert Dekker (Pike).

Anyway, I guess I now know why this epic western remains so obscure, despite its Paramount pedigree and marquee cast.


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