Monday, October 6, 2014

Movie Review: ***The Long Trail (John Wayne, 1930)

This is a  black and white movie with sound.  However, they hadn't gotten away from the written narration because several times, there was narration explaining the scene.  This is John Wayne's first starring role, and the role that made him a star.  He was in several uncredited movies before this, and one in which he was credited as Duke Morrison.
This trail is a bit long, and I had difficulty trying to follow them.  They were in the dessert, but decided not to go to California, For a time I saw the Tetons, and they talked of the last fort which would have been Fort Hall, but that is before the Tetons if you go past them and they are out of the way of the Oregon Trail where I assumed they were going.
This wagon trip used Calistoga wagons, which were neat to watch.  The went through mud, river and snow.  They had quite a struggle.  There was the battle with the native Americans, I assume Cherokee, but they mentioned Shoshone.  Wayne portrayed Breck Coleman, who is the scout for the company, but also on the trail of a group of murderers who killed his friend.  The suspect he is after them, and the crime boss, Flagg (Tyrone Power Sr.) keeps sending his men to kill him, but they always miss.  Of course there is a girl, Ruth Cameron (Marguerite Churchill), who gets off on the wrong foot with Coleman for the first quite a few steps.  Zeke (Tully Marshall) is Coleman's friend. 
Some of the special effects miss.  The wind is just awful.  But the struggling through the mud was very interesting.  They must have abused the animals terribly. 
Flagg and his man make their play, and then they have Coleman on their trail.  Wayne hadn't developed his swagger.  In fact he runs to the woman at the end, rather than swaggering.
Wayne is always entertaining.  They also have one of the characters add some mother-in-law humor which is fun. The romance between Wayne and the girl was also effective.

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