Jack London tale of a woman and weakling brother who inherit a mine. When the brother commits suicide the guide is accused of murder.Jack London tale of a woman and weakling brother who inherit a mine. When the brother commits suicide the guide is accused of murder.Jack London tale of a woman and weakling brother who inherit a mine. When the brother commits suicide the guide is accused of murder.
John Carradine's very first lead villain
1936's "White Fang" was a 'B' sequel to the previous year's "The Call of the Wild," its title character half dog, half wolf, and all white, played by German shepherd Lightning. The human star is Michael Whalen, as trail guide Gordon Scott, who has tired of seeking riches in the Yukon and yearns to return to his native Seattle, only to save the precious money belt of Hal Burgess (Thomas Beck) from a thief (Ward Bond in a silent bit). Making the acquaintance of Hal's pretty sister Sylvia (Jean Muir), Scott is convinced to stay and act as guide for the young Hal, who has inherited his grandfather's gold mine in Gambetta. The route is treacherous, and the harsh Arctic winter takes its toll on the once headstrong Hal, who takes his own life with his final bullet, buried along the trail by Scott, saved from death himself by the unexpected presence of White Fang, who watches over him until he is found. The local populace find the Burgess money belt, and believe Scott to be the real Hal, which Scott continues after discovering the mine has been claimed by unscrupulous saloon owner Beauty Smith (John Carradine), who reluctantly accepts that the new owner has now arrived. The surprise return of Sylvia forces Scott to come clean about her brother's death, but continues one charade, claiming it was pneumonia rather than suicide by gunshot. This does not prevent the larcenous Smith to continue trying to gain control over the mine, learning of the circumstances surrounding the Burgess demise, and accusing Scott of cold blooded murder. This was the very first lead villain for 30 year old John Carradine, only recently becoming a recognized character star after his scene stealing work in John Ford's "The Prisoner of Shark Island." Although his first appearance doesn't come until the half hour mark, he enjoys one of the largest roles of his first decade, at over 12 1/2 minutes screen time. The small cast and studio bound exteriors betray its minuscule budget, and White Fang himself is used only sparingly, but this little seen Fox programmer delivers the goods in solid fashion. By the 50s, Michael Whalen's career had begun to parallel Carradine's with roles in "The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues" and "Missile to the Moon."
- May 20, 2015
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