Saturday, January 30, 2010

review: Dodge City

Flynn and deHavilland together again, but this time in the notorious Dodge City. Directed my Michael Curtiz, Flynn is the town hero who, after a tragedy, takes on the role of sheriff to clean up the town. Mostly warring against one man in particular, who is the center of most the vice in Dodge. It's hard to explain who deHavilland is without telling too much of the story, so let's just leave it at: she's his girl. Ann Sheridan hardly has a role in the movie, although she does have a couple snippets of singing - which she isn't amazing at anyways. Why she got third billing is beyond me. It has a really great cast of supporting characters - no kidding, they are top notch, and they include my favorite "old man" of the movies, Henry Travers. It also includes Flynn's constant sidekick Alan Hale, and Donald Crisp, Ward Bond, and Bruce Cabbot and Victor Jory. Also, the technicolor cinematography is quite beautiful - wonderful and fantastic to see in a movie from the 30s.
I'm pretty sure this came out after Stagecoach became such a huge hit. Suddenly, people realized that westerns would be more than just "B" pictures. This movie was epic in the sense that it was in color which was rare in 1939, it had the Flynn/deHavilland team, and it includes most of the devices that make westerns classic: cattle, trains, law, shootouts, fights, the essensial good vs. bad. Especially the barroom brawl scene, which is fantastic! EVERYTHING gets torn apart! It is kinda interesting to consider that this movie was made before the western cliche was established, but this movie is almost entirely a western cliche - in a good way. Watching the special features of the film, they talked about the premiere of this movie in Dodge City as a huge publicity event, which it was. They had rodeos and a parade, and it became almost a festival surrounding the showing of this one movie. Hearing about it, you can't help but wonder how amazing that would have been.
But, all in all, it was good with lots of action and mularky.
3 out of 5 stars

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