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Boulder Dam (1936)

Passed | | Action, Drama | 7 March 1936 (USA)
"Rusty" Noonan, a hard-boiled, cynical, selfish smart-aleck, working as a mechanic in a Detroit garage, is outraged when he has to work overtime on repairing the shoddy work he had done on ... See full summary »


Frank McDonald


Sy Bartlett (screen play), Ralph Block (screen play) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Ross Alexander ... Rusty Noonan
Patricia Ellis ... Ann Vangarick
Lyle Talbot ... Lacy
Eddie Acuff ... Ed Harper
Henry O'Neill ... Mr. Agnew
Egon Brecher Egon Brecher ... Pa Vangarick
Eleanor Wesselhoeft Eleanor Wesselhoeft ... Ma Vangarick
Joseph Crehan ... Ross
George P. Breakston ... Stan Vangarick (as George Breakston)
William Pawley ... Wilson - Garage Boss
Ronnie Cosby ... Peter Vangarick


"Rusty" Noonan, a hard-boiled, cynical, selfish smart-aleck, working as a mechanic in a Detroit garage, is outraged when he has to work overtime on repairing the shoddy work he had done on a taxicab, gets into an argument with the shop-foreman, Wison. The foreman takes a swing at him and misses but Noonan, a trained boxer connects with his punch. The blow catches Wilson on the chin, knocks him off his feet and his head hits the floor and he is killed. Noonan flees, wanders about the country and eventually arrives in the desert-town of Las Vegas, Nevada, where the mighty Boulder Dam is being constructed on the near-by Colorado River. He is befriended by Ann Vangarick, gets a construction job on the dam project, and he begins to see the error of his past ways. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

7 March 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Backfire See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film's earliest documented telecast took place in Indianapolis Tuesday 2 October 1956 on WISH (Channel 8); it first aired in San Diego CA Saturday 10 August 1957 on KFMB (Channel 8), and in Honolulu Wednesday 15 August 1957 on KHVH (Channel 13). See more »


Toddling Along with You
(1935) (uncredited)
Music by Allie Wrubel
Lyrics by Mort Dixon
Sung by Patricia Ellis
See more »

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User Reviews

Predictable Melodrama
30 June 2012 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Boulder Dam (1936)

** (out of 4)

Predictable "B" movie from Warner has Detroit mechanic Rusty Noonan (Ross Alexander) accidentally killing his boss after being fired so he heads off to Colorado to start over. Once there he begins working as a construction guy at Boulder Dam while falling in love with a woman (Patricia Ellis) who befriended him but soon a man (Lyle Talbot) who knew him in Detroit threatens everything. BOULDER DAM is pretty much a by-the-numbers melodrama that doesn't have too much going for it. If you're a film buff you enjoys watching ever rare film that turns up on Turner Classic Movies then I'm sure you'll get some mild entertainment out of this thing but just about everyone else should stay clear. There are many problems with the film and the majority of them are in the screenplay. For starters, the opening few minutes features Rusty coming off as such a jerk that you really have to wait quite a while before you ever warm up to him. Another problem is that if you've ever seen a movie before then you really shouldn't have any problems figuring out what's going to happen long before it ever actual happens. This includes a few twists along the way and of course it never really makes sense why this woman would fall for this guy. And don't even get me started on the ending. Alexander isn't too bad in the lead as he has no trouble playing the jerk but he also doesn't have any issues when the character starts to change. Talbot delivers the fun performance you'd expect to see from him. Ellis actually steals the film with some good comic timing and the way she fights back at Alexander was quite funny. There's a minor action scenes at the very end of the picture, which is okay but all in all only film buffs are going to want to check this one out.

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