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Nineteenth century Wyoming: the wild West. Mild-mannered Tom Healy has a two-wagon theater troupe hounded by creditors because Angela, his leading lady and the object of his affection, constantly buys clothes. In Cheyenne, they meet with applause, so they hope to stay awhile: the theater owner likes Angela, and she keeps him on a string. She's also the object of the attentions of Mabry, a gunslinger who's owed money by the richest man in Bonanza. Complications arise and the troupe heads for Bonanza, through hostile Indian territory. Is the troupe doomed to a peripatetic life, is Mabry in danger, and does Tom stand a chance with Angela, a hellion in pink tights? Written by
Actor Ken Clark, a close friend of writer DeWitt Bodeen, brought Louis L'Amour's book to Bodeen's attention. Bodeen, a friend of director George Cukor, told him about the book, which Cukor read and was enthusiastic about. Bodeen was to write the script with L'Amour himself, but L'Amour wanted more money than the studio was willing to pay and was not hired. The final screenplay is signed Dudley Nichols and Walter Bernstein. Cukor thanked Clark by casting him as a soldier warning the traveling company about the presence of Indians in the area. See more »
When Mabry is pursuing the wagons, shots of him from the front show his shadow going uphill to the right of screen. Shots of the wagons from the front show their shadows going to the left of the screen. This would indicate that they are going in opposite directions. See more »
This film is really very badly directed - which is amazing given Cukor's excellent filmography. He rarely focuses the attention of the viewer where it should be - and seems obsessed with close-ups on Sophia's eyes. I wonder if Carlo Ponti interfered a lot here - as Sophia is rarely out of shot, to the detriment of the other characters and the film. This is one of Sophia's worst performances - she seems to be struggling with her lines - although she looks good blonde. The excellent supporting cast is wasted - even Anthony Quinn is allowed little screen time. Eileen Heckhart is allowed even less time, but it's interesting to see child actress Margaret O'Brien in a rare adult role. Her little girl voice is jarring however. The only reason to see this film is to witness the final performance of the legendary Ramon Novarro. He is splendid and stylish as the villain - a great lesson in screen acting, although again we don't see enough of him. Is there a story about the making of this film? I wonder if Cukor had to battle the Ponti-Loren partnership and was forced to give too much screen time to Sophia. What a mistake!
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