Architect Gordon Wales finds fellow apartment house resident Joan Marsh locked out and flirts with her. When she is murdered evidence points to him. He and Joan's roommate Noreen become ... See full summary »
Tom Brown shows up at Harvard, confident and a bit arrogant. He becomes a rival of Bob McAndrew, not only in football and rowing crew, but also for the affections of Mary Abbott, a ... See full summary »
Cullen has hired Tom to try and stop the robberies on his railroad. Knowing Cullen's secretary Holt is tipping off the gang, Tom works undercover by posing as a highwayman. To help him ... See full summary »
Bad guy Kincaid controls the local water supply and plans to do in the other ranchers. Government agent Saunders shows up undercover to do in Kincaid and win the heart of one of his victims Fay Denton.
Breck leads a wagon train of pioneers through Indian attack, storms, deserts, swollen rivers, down cliffs and so on while looking for the murder of a trapper and falling in love with Ruth.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
(at around 10 mins) Breck Coleman leans his rifle against the water pump, then leaves it there and goes into the house. Not something a 'real' frontiersman would do. See more »
When a man begins to do a lot of talking about hanging, he better make pretty sure as to who is going to decorate the end of the rope.
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The film finishes with THE END of the BIG TRAIL See more »
Filmed in two versions simultaneously: widescreen process Grandeur in 70mm, and in standard 35mm. Some scenes were shot simultaneously in both formats; other scenes were shot twice, once for each format. The two versions are not identical in content - the 70mm version runs 125 minutes, while the 35mm version runs a shorter 108 minutes (but does contain some scenes not found in the longer widescreen version). See more »
Only three years after Able Gance's "Napoleon," was released in the revolutionary Spherical (1:33:1) and Triptych (4:00:1 aspect ratio) process, Raoul Walsh's "The Big Trail" hit the market, shot in then-experimental "Fox Grandeur 70 mm."
That alone makes "The Big Trail" a technically significant film. Word has it that it failed economically, in part due to only two U.S. theatres presenting its original format (NYC's Roxy and LA's Grauman's Chinese Theatres). The rest of the country's movie houses balked at the cost of the extra equipment necessary, after having recently converted to sound. (Does this seem reminiscent of the "'Star Wars' digital satellite controversy" of 2002?)
Finding a VHS or DVD widescreen print of "The Big Trail" is difficult. It's been shown on tv and in special movie houses that way on occasion. Generally, though, one gets a standard screen version, which fails to capture the eye-popping 70 mm. aspect ratio of the original.
The production's statistics are impressive--a 347 cast/crew, covering 7 states in 10 weeks, replete with wagons, cattle, oxen, mules, horses, et al., retracing the first settler's trek over the Oregon trail one hundred years earlier.
Twenty year old Marion Morrison was renamed John Wayne and teamed with nineteen year old Broadway actress Margurite Churchill for a hoped-for "hot screen combination." The two worked efficiently, with Wayne's untrained, natural talent in evidence.
The production looks very laborious and challenging--yet appropriate to the conditions of those early pioneers. European "superiority" vs. Native American "savagery" is expressed in the script--establishing a skewed perspective for numerous films to follow. Likewise, macho "frontier justice" is forcefully dramatized--a model for many later western efforts.
"The Big Trail," while a technical landmark, also presents a Hollywoodized depiction of American history. For a more complete understanding of this period and these events, one is prone to engage in more committed and comprehensive research.
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