Dodge City (1939): An Appreciation

Dodge City Poster

Although it is unlikely that the western Dodge City (1939) would be included on any critic's ten best western lists, I personally consider it to be one of the most enjoyable super westerns ever made. (Of course, I was somewhat biased before I saw it for the first time--I already considered The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) one my favorite films--and both films have the same stars and director.) Errol Flynn and Olivia deHaviland were in top form and the supporting cast, which includes Alan Hale and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, all add to the fun.

Since the film tells a highly fictionalized story of the taming of the wild Kansas cattle town, it gives Flynn an opportunity to swashbuckle with a six-gun rather than his oft used sword. Michael Curtiz, a master (albeit tyranical) director keeps the story moving briskly with few slow spots. The outdoor color photography is excellent--and seldom does a studio set stand in for the great outdoors. The second unit photography blends almost seamlessly with the shots involving the stars--a definite plus in my book.

I especially like the interplay between Flynn and his sidekicks Hale and Williams--much of the fun can be found in their scenes together. Also, I very much enjoy Ms. deHaviland's scenes where she combines spunkiness and a very attractive femininity. And, of course I can't ignore what probably is the greatest saloon brawl on film--by itself almost worth the price of admission!

Dodge City (1939)

Warner Brothers Pictures
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Screenplay by Robert Buckner
Music by Max Steiner
Principal cast: Errol Flynn, Olivia deHavilland, Ann Sheridan, Bruce Cabot, Frank McHugh, Alan Hale, Guinn Williams, John Litel, Henry Travers, Victor Jory, William Lundigan

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