BIG TREES, THE (director: Felix Feist; screenwriters: John Twist/James R. Webb/story by Kenneth Earl; cinematographer: Bert Glennon; editor: Clarence Kolster; music: Heinz Roemheld; cast: Kirk Douglas (Jim Fallon), Eve Miller (Alicia Chadwick), Edgar Buchanan (Yukon Burns), John Archer (Frenchy), Patrice Wymore (Daisy Fisher/Dora Figg), Allan Hale Jr. (Tiny), Roy Roberts (Judge Crenshaw); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Louis F. Edelman; Warner Bros.; 1952)

"Kirk Douglas took no salary in exchange for getting his release from his contract with Warners."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz 

B-film filmmaker Felix Feist ("Donovan's Brain""The Threat"/"The Devil Thumbs a Ride") directs this mediocre modern-day Western, whose only big thing on display worth seeing is the redwood trees. It's adapted by writers John Twist and James R. Webb from a story by Kenneth Earl. Kirk Douglas took no salary in exchange for getting his release from his contract with Warners. It's a remake of Warners' 1938 "Valley of the Giants."

Ambitious and unscrupulous Wisconsin lumberman Jim Fallon (Kirk Douglas) takes advantage of a new law passed by Congress in 1900 and flees to Northern California to use a legal loophole to acquire free land that contains giant redwood trees. When his associate, an elderly lawman Alaskan gold-rusher, Yukon Burns (Edgar Buchanan), has seconds thoughts about his boss's hustle scheme and sides with a community of Quakers that view the redwoods as 'a sign of the Creator's work' and don't want the trees cut down, they become rivals and battle for who controls the land.

Fallon's crooked associate Frenchy (John Archer) opposes Fallon after he has a change of heart and refuses to cut down the trees when he falls in love with the feisty widow, Sister Chadwick (Eve Miller), a pious member of the religious sect. Fallon switches girlfriends from loose woman saloon singer Daisy (Patrice Wymore) to the virtuous Eve and from being a con man to a clean fighter for God, on the fly. This cornball scenario was too farfetched to even believe for a second.

This lame Western was as believable as believing the giant oil companies could have a religious experience that would suddenly stop their greed and they would cut their huge profit margin by giving the oil away at a fair price in order to help the poor and the economy.

REVIEWED ON 3/23/2010       GRADE: C-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"