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The Walking Hills (1949)

Passed  |   |  Adventure, Thriller, Western  |  5 March 1949 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 276 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 1 critic

A group of treasure hunters search for a wagon load of gold, buried years before in Death Valley.

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(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Walking Hills (1949)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
William Bishop ...
'Shep' Dave Wilson
...
Old Willy
...
Chalk
...
Frazee
Jerome Courtland ...
Johnny
Russell Collins ...
Bibbs
Josh White ...
Josh
Houseley Stevenson ...
Reed Howes ...
Young King
Edit

Storyline

A long-lost gold treasure, believed buried in the sand dunes of the fabulous Walking Hills, attracts adventurers Jim Carey (Randolph Scott), a rancher; Shep (William Bishop), rodeo rider wanted for murder; Old Will (Edgar Buchanan); Chalk (Arthur Kennedy); Frazee (John Ireland), a detective hunting Shep; Johnny (Jerome Courtland), a cowboy and Josh (Josh White), an entertainer. Uninvited, Chris Jackson (Ella Raines, loved by both Jim and Shep, joins the treasure-hunters. Hard work, suspicion, danger and intrigues and hatreds culminate in a grim fight with shovels, and a raging desert sand-storm leads to the conclusion. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

VIOLET PASSIONS CLASHING IN FIERCE DESERT ADVENTURE! (original print ad-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 March 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

7 Homens Maus  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some regard this as the only "film noir" western. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the picture, just before Ella Raines rides off, she calls Randolph Scott, "Jeff", only his character's name is "Jim". See more »

Quotes

Chris Jackson: [Referring to the large bandage on her forehead] Yeah, until I went bangin' my puss! Now get lost, will ya?
See more »

Soundtracks

You Won't Let Me Go
Sung by Josh White
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User Reviews

 
A treasure hunt that's a gem itself
23 November 2006 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

A very rewarding "lust for gold" adventure that tells its story in a brief 78 minutes and is all the better for it. Director John Sturges would later in his career allow some of his films to run overlong (THE GREAT ESCAPE) or blow up what should have been more simply told (GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL - the depicted gunfight itself is but one example), but earlier in his career made a number of lean, taut treasures, this is one of them.

A group of people are bound together in the search for some wagons believed to have been lost in the desert a century earlier, and the legend has it that gold was on them. When the youngest of them happens to mention something spotted in the desert, the need for secrecy binds the group together lest someone reveal the "golden opportunity." Several in the group have pasts that they are trying to hide and potential futures they are trying to escape if caught. One of them is a detective hot on a fugitive's trail, but willing to set aside duty for his share of the loot.

Randolph Scott headlines as the more or less moral center of the group, even if his intentions and actions seem to defy that description. For a slightly less than "A" feature, the film boasts an admirable cast of characters, among them Ella Raines, John Ireland, Arthur Kennedy, Edgar Buchanan (scene stealing as usual) and blues/folk revivalist singer Josh White whose musical contributions to the film capture a legendary performer for posterity on film. William Bishop, a young man whom Columbia was grooming for stardom (but who failed to click and would soon "descend" to mostly TV work) is the least familiar perhaps of the major actors, but he's impressive enough here for one to wish he had done better within the ten years that he had left before cancer took him at 41.

An interesting subplot has Scott's mare about to foal - a metaphor for new life or spiritual rebirth being created among the desert ruins. It gives nothing away to reveal that the fugitive surrenders or that some characters realize that gold fever can cause one to suspend principles

  • the latter is expected in such melodramas. But with its stunning


black-and-white cinematography, especially in night scenes and the climatic desert storm, this film is as much of a treasure as that which its protagonists seek. Camera ace Charles Lawton must have impressed Scott and producer Harry Joe Brown as he would do five more films with the pair in the next decade. Highly recommended.


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