All of a sudden, in 1939, westerns were upgraded from "B" films to "A." Even swashbuckler Errol Flynn, although he had to be talked into it, became a western star, too, thanks to this film. That's just one of many things we learn watching this short bonus feature "documentary" on the "Dodge City" DVD.
Film historian Robert Osborne said "Stagecoach, in 1939, kind of elevated the whole western genre" and "Dodge City" followed right after, and now westerns were suddenly 'in."
Rudy Behlmer, film historian, said "most of things we look upon as clichés today were not back in 1939, and Dodge City had all of the elements of a classic western: great chase scenes, cattle stampede, barroom ladies, can-can dancers, good guys, bad guys, good women, bad women.....you name it; it was all in "Dodge City."
The above-mentioned guys, and a few more on this bonus feature, all agree Director Michael Curtiz loved big vistas, big crowds, big amounts of violence and action and, with Technicolor thrown in the mix, it was all the better, so Curtiz, too, became a fan of westerns after working on this one.
The "experts" in here, too, laud the film's supporting cast. This isn't just another Flynn and Olivia de Havilland film. They cite Clara Lou Sheridan, who was given a new first name - Ann - and a new persona and mention how Warner Brothers supported their new big-time female star, beginning with this movie. Bruce Cabot, a great friend of Flynn, is shown, along with clips with Victor Jory, better-known on Broadway but a great villainous face for films, and, of course, Alan Hale, who always was with Flynn and usually the comic element in his movies.
Since there was no television to help promote movies, a huge premier was held in Dodge City, featuring all kinds of activities including a parade, other WB stars like Humphrey Bogart all kinds of things happening. There has never been a premier like it, before or since!
All of the above, and more, made this an interesting little bonus feature.
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