Eastern millionaire's son Bard finds his father murdered and flies west to see rancher Drew who may know something about it. En route he crashes his plane into Jerry's bathroom; she falls ...
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Eastern millionaire's son Bard finds his father murdered and flies west to see rancher Drew who may know something about it. En route he crashes his plane into Jerry's bathroom; she falls in love with him which makes her suitor Steve jealous.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
powerful early-sound George O'Brien western--not what I was expecting!
I wound up with a copy of this film by accident--and figured I'd watch it before sending it back to the collector who made me a copy of this instead of the film I'd actually requested, so I had little or no expectations...just wanted to see what it was. The first few scenes take place back east and feature Robert Warwick, so I was thinking "oh no, another of those 'dude goes West' films." However, the film soon shifts into high gear with Warwick's death, which motivates George O'Brien to go out to Wyoming. There's some well-placed humor in the film, such as when O'Brien lands his plane in a lady's bathroom (!), but the film is as much a mystery as it is a western. There's also a nice "Bad Day At Black Rock" kind of feel to the small town in which O'Brien arrives, asking questions. The way the plot develops is suspenseful, and the finale, which ends cold right after the climax, is powerful. The film, as with most 1931 productions, has no music, so ending the film abruptly and in silence is a powerful technique. The heavy in the film is played by the young Humphrey Bogart, in what must have been one of his first significant roles, and he is menacing and intense, just as he would be a few years later in PETRIFIED FOREST. George O'Brien, best known today for the silent classic SUNRISE and for his work in John Ford films, can play an upper-class polo-playing young man, but he is also genuinely tough (not a surprise, considering he was a boxing champ earlier in his life), has a keen sense of humor, and has a warm screen presence. He's also a fine horseman. In under one hour, this film tells a complex story, yet is exciting and plays like a good mystery, though in a western setting. Some who aren't that familiar with early-sound films may find it a bit slow going, but it's actually quite fluid for a 1931 film, and I give it a full 10 star rating. It completely achieved what it set out to do and holds up well today. (interestingly, my copy had "fade in" and "fade out" on the screen in between a number of films--was this a television print with those meant for the local TV station projectionist???). I don't get the Fox Movie Channel, but as this was a Fox film, maybe it will be shown there sometime. Watch for it...and don't get up to get a soda or a snack. Watch it uninterrupted.
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