The true story of the famous Mormon leader, Brigham Young and his battle to transport his people across the Rocky mountains to settle in Salt Lake City. The plot focuses on two of his people, Jonathan Kent and Zina Webb and the hardships they have to face along the way.Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
According to a MovieTone newsreel, the Salt Lake City premiere of Brigham Young, a month before the New York premiere, was the largest premiere in film history. 215,000 people crowded the streets of Salt Lake City to view a massive parade, complete with floats and racing cars with the stars riding in them. Twentieth Century Fox's studio head Darryl F. Zanuck, also the producer of the film, had a part in planning the parade. The Salt Lake City Mayor named that August 23rd Brigham Young Day- the first and only. Originally, one theatre in Salt Lake City was to show the film, but the demand for seats became so high that eventually seven theatres in the city showed the film. See more »
In the movie Joseph Smith is shown unarmed when he is shot and killed. In reality he was armed with a "Pepper" pistol. See more »
Comments from a Mormon about Brigham Young-Frontiersman
I enjoyed Brigham Young-Frontiersman immensely, however, I would not characterize the movie as an accurate portrayal of the personalities in the film. Although the events are accurate enough, the film does not do justice to the historical figures. Immediately noticeable is the positive light that Mormons are cast in, and I think this is necessary to make the film work given the subject matter and historical events portrayed. Nevertheless, being a card carrying Mormon, and having read a great deal of history and biography on the leaders of the Church, I cannot say that the personalities are true to history. I thought that Vincent Price cast as Joseph Smith was very strange, though my reaction to him in the role was heavily tainted by his later roles in the Roger Corman adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe's works (The Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven, etc.). Still, I felt that Price was not charismatic enough, and did not have the forceful presence that Joseph Smith surely had in life. Dean Jagger cast as Brigham Young was more tolerable, but not really as convincing as say Brian Keith in the Wind and the Lion, or George C. Scott in Patton. Furthermore, Brigham Young had a very powerful, direct, yet unrefined manner of speech that had it been carefully followed or mimicked, would have made the character much more convincing. His manner of speech is entirely unique and really gets a reader's attention. It is often very humorous as well. Hearing it in the film would have greatly improved the script, but the writers would have needed to immerse themselves thoroughly in his discourses and writings to carry it off.
Moreover, there are a host of perspectives or ways of looking at things that are unique to Mormons, not to mention a very distinctive manner of speech and phraseology regarding religious matters that the film failed to capture. As an active Mormon, I would have to say that as I watched the film I felt like an insider observing a film written by outsiders who had not properly done their homework. The film has many fine qualities and I give it a good rating. If the writing had been more true to Mormon thinking, speech patterns and their leaders unique personalities, it would have been all that was necessary to raise the film from good to great. All of this aside, I give the film three stars out of a possible four.
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