Native son returns from school in Spain to California in 1855 and finds corrupt politicians stealing land from old California families. He becomes a sort of Robin Hood in order to fight ...
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Native son returns from school in Spain to California in 1855 and finds corrupt politicians stealing land from old California families. He becomes a sort of Robin Hood in order to fight them.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
A year before The Californian came out, MGM did a film about the famous bandit of early California statehood days Joaquin Murietta which starred Warner Baxter. Robin Hood Of El Dorado had a much bigger budget than this one had which was obviously an attempt by 20th Century Fox to cash in on what MGM did.
Darryl Zanuck didn't shell out any big bucks for this film which is barely an hour running time. He did use an actor past his glory days in Hollywood with Ricardo Cortez in the lead. The story begins as California has recently been taken over post the Mexican War and the natives, both grandees and peons are wondering about the new American conquerors. But Nigel DeBrulier is sending his son to Europe for a fine education befitting a Don's son. He takes leave of his son Gene Reynolds who returns years later as Ricardo Cortez
Cortez sees the people including his father crushed with onerous taxes and becomes the Robin Hood of the people. He takes over a rather bedraggled bandit gang that George Regas has and as Robin Hood Cortez makes them his Merry Men. But he won't give Katherine DeMille a tumble because he has his own Maid Marian in Marjorie Weaver. Katharine is a woman scorned and that sets up trouble.
So far this is pretty much along the story of Robin Hood Of El Dorado and Joaquin Murietta in real life. But Zanuck felt the film needed a happy ending. It sure works out better for Cortez and Weaver than it did for Murietta.
The Californian is good low budget entertainment, a kind of preliminary for 20th Century Fox who would do The Mark Of Zorro a few years later along similar lines.
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