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California (1947)

Passed | | Romance, Western | 21 February 1947 (USA)
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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) | 1 more credit »
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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
...
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:

The Fabulous, Fantastic West! WHERE A MAN'S PLEASURE COSTS HIM HIS GOLD TREASURE! (original print media ad - many caps) See more »

Genres:

Romance | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In Feb. 1958, a reissue of this film was in wide release by Paramount on a double bill with another western, Desert Fury (1947). See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Lily Bishop: He was a gambler. He played the Mississippi boats. He always used to say, 'It's your cheat who's most afraid of being cheated.' You better stay on your horse after this, Trumbo. It makes you look more important than you really are. Another thing my father told me: 'Always leave a man burying money.'
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Shadows of Suspense (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

SAID I TO MY HEART, SAID I
Music by Earl Robinson
Lyrics E.Y. Harburg
Performed by Barbara Stanwyck (dubbed by Kay St.Germaine)
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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