Pete Wilson is on top. He is the highest paid professional football player in the league. He has seen other players come and go, but he was MVP last year and the future looks rosy. His wife... See full summary »
In 1856, backwoods businessman Logan Stuart escorts Lucy Overmire, his friend's fiancée, back home to remote Jacksonville, Oregon; in the course of the hard journey, Lucy is attracted to Logan, whose heart seems to belong to another. Once arrived in Jacksonville, a welter of subplots involve villains, fair ladies, romantic triangles, gambling fever, murder, a cabin-raising, and vigilantism...culminating with an Indian uprising that threatens all the settlers. No canyon in sight.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
"The Hedda Hopper Show - This Is Hollywood" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on October 19, 1946 with Susan Hayward reprising her film role. See more »
At the beginning of the film, after Logan deposits his gold, he is shown crossing the street in the rain. In the long shot he gets one foot on the sidewalk, but in the next closer shot he is still a few feet from the sidewalk and then steps onto it again. See more »
In place of the glittering black-&-white Art Deco glass globe ("A Universal Picture") with rotating stars that opened Universal films from 1939-46, this early Universal Technicolor film opens with a still card, a colored globe with letters superimposed: "A Universal Picture". See more »
Any man, I suppose, who believes as I do that the human race is a horrible mistake.
Canyon Passage is directed by Jacques Tourneur and is adapted by Ernest Pascal from the novel written by Ernest Haycox. It stars Dana Andrews, Brian Donlevy, Ward Bond, Susan Hayward, Lloyd Bridges & Patricia Roc. In support is Hoagy Carmichael who offers up ditties such as the Oscar Nominated "Ole Buttermilk Sky". Music is by Frank Skinner and cinematography by Edward Cronjager.
More famed for his moody black & white pieces (a year later he would craft one of film noir's best pics in Out of the Past), Canyon Passage finds Tourneur operating in glorious Technicolor on Western landscapes, the result of which is as gorgeous as it is thematically sizzling. The story follows Andrews' Logan Stuart, a former scout turned store & freight owner who has landed in Jacksonsville, Oregon. Also residing here is the girl he is courting, Caroline Marsh (Roc) and his friend George Camrose (Donlevy) who plans to marry Lucy Overmire (Hayward). However, there are problems afoot as George has a serious gambling problem, one that will send this tiny town into a vortex of turmoil. Affairs of the heart also come under great pressure, and to cap it all off, the Indians are on the warpath after the brutish Honey Bragg (Bond) kills an innocent Indian girl.
The first thing that is so striking about Canyon Passage is the town of Jacksonville itself, this is a vastly different Western town to the ones we are used to seeing. Built in a sloping canyon that helps to pump up the off kilter feeling that breathes within the picture, it's also green, very green, but in a most visually interesting way. The greenery and red flowers give a sense of harmony, a sneaky way of diverting the viewer from the smouldering narrative, for we find that Tourneur is delighting in not only painting a pretty picture that belies the trouble bubbling under the surface of this apparent place of prosperity, but he's also revelling in using various camera shots to embody the unfolding story and the characterisations of the principals. This really is a film that begs to be revisited a number of times, for then you find with each viewing comes something new to appraise, to pore over to see just why Tourneur did something in particular. The host of characters are varied and have meaning, each given impetus by the uniformly strong cast - the latter of which is also a testament to the supreme direction from the Parisian maestro.
I honestly feel that if this was a John Ford film it would be far better known & appraised accordingly. At time of writing this review it's still something of an under seen and vastly under rated Western, and this in spite of it garnering praise over the last decade or so from some big hitters in the directing and film critic circles. Cronjager's Technicolor photography is rich and piercing, where Tourneur and himself expertly utilise the Diamond Lake and Umpqua National Forest exteriors to expand mood of the story. Skinner's score is excellent, as is Carmichael's (wonderfully creepy characterisation) musical input, while the costuming is top dollar. Now widely available on DVD, there's hope that more people will seek this out. With the number of finely drawn sub-plots, and the wonderful visual delights and directorial tricks, Canyon Passage is essential viewing for Western and Tourneur purists. For sure this is a film that rewards more with each viewing, so just keep your eyes and ears firmly on alert and enjoy. 9/10
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