Having masterminded the hold up of his company office, a mining engineer is barred from the industry. He then sets up shop as an assayer, scheming to acquire a rich silver mine lease from its operators.
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The office of mining engineers and partners Larkin Moffatt and Charlie Storrs is robbed. Storrs accuses Moffatt of complicity with the robbers and fires him. He also asks all major mining companies in the region to avoid hiring Moffatt. Unemployable, Moffatt opens his own small independent assay office in Silver City. His first client, Candace Surrency, leases a mine from the greedy R. R. Jarboe, owner of several mines. Candace Surrency and her father have invested all their funds in the mine lease which is due to expire in 12 days, reverting the mining rights back to its owner, R. R. Jarboe. So far the mine has been dry but the Surrencys have hired Moffatt to do another assay on the latest batch of ore. Moffatt finds silver in large amounts in the test batch, making the Surrencys rich. News of their silver strike spreads fast. Mine owner R. R. Jarboe refuses to extend the mine lease to the Surrencys who won't have enough time to extract and process the silver ore during the remainder... Written by
Silver City is a slightly more complex tale of the west than is usual with the sins of greed and jealousy working overtime here.
Hard to believe but little elfin Barry Fitzgerald is one of the villains in this film. Barry plays a miserly silver mine owner who has leased one of his played out mines to Edgar Buchanan and his daughter Yvonne DeCarlo. That is Barry thought it was played out, but Edmond O'Brien has found a rich new vein and Fitzgerald is frozen out. Not if he can help it though.
Jealousy is what Kasey Rogers arouses in men. She's got her husband Richard Arlen who represents a big eastern mining concern all hot and bothered over here flirtations. One of those flirtations has been with O'Brien who used to work for Arlen. He's blackballed O'Brien from getting work with most outfits and O'Brien is picking up chump change from wherever he can.
Now how these two plot elements combine is for you to watch Silver City and learn. But I assure you the recipe delivers a good performance cake. I was most impressed with Fitzgerald in this one. The only other time I recall he essayed villainy on the screen was in And Then There Were None and we don't know he's the bad guy until the very very end. Also note Michael Moore in this cast, not the documentary maker, but an actor who sports a mean and sadistic disposition as another of Fitzgerald's cronies.
That most noted of color cinematographers Ray Rennahan does some nice work here, but Silver City could use a restoration. Check it out and see what I mean.
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