At the 1932 Democratic Convention, Rogers is given a favorite son nomination for President, and his father is represented as being in the Oklahoma delegation. His father Clem Rogers died in 1911. See more »
Both Michael Curtiz and his longtime employer, Warner Brothers, showed a flair for biographies, and this one has been somewhat underrated. The story is the familiar one of the rise of a young man from obscurity to worldwide fame, and there are really no surprises here. Audiences at the time the movie came out (1952) probably knew much about Rogers' life anyway, though he is nowadays an almost forgotten figure. This movie is solid entertainment, nicely photographed in color, and Will Rogers, Jr. gives an excellent, engaging performance as his father. It is basically a series of cliches, which, once once accepts the premise, one can thoroughly delight in, as I did, as the skill with which such material is handled constitutes the pleasure of watching such a predictable movie as this.
Rogers was a huge star in vaudeville on Broadway and in the movies. He was also a newspaper columnist and radio commentator, and hugely popular in his day. His homespun humor has dated badly, but the rough and tumble world he came out of is fascinating to see recreated on screen. There are nice ironies in the movie, among them, Rogers' move from the "real west" (Oklahoma) to the "false west" (Hollywood). I also like the casting of the refined, almost patrician actor, Carl Benton Reid, as Rogers' father. The arrival of barnstorming aviator who lands literally in Rogers' backyard, is stunningly filmed, and one can't help get a lump in one's throat as soon as one learns his name: Wiley Post.
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