|ROCKY MOUNTAIN (director: William Keighley; screenwriter: story by Alan LeMay/Alan Le May/Winston Miller; cinematographer: Ted McCord; editor: Rudi Fehr; music: Max Steiner; cast: Errol Flynn (Lafe Barstow), Patricia Wymore (Johanna Carter), Scott Forbes (Lieutenant Rickey), Guinn Williams (Pap Dennison), Dick Jones (Jim Wheat), Howard Petrie (Cole Smith), Slim Pickens (Plank), Chubby Johnson (Gil Cralgie), Buzz Henry (Kip Waterson), Sheb Wooley (Kay Rawlins), Peter Coe (Pierre Duchesne), Rush Williams (Jonas Weatherby), Nakai Snez (Mandog); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William Jacobs; Warner Bros.; 1950)|
Flynn's last Western is an enjoyable
by Dennis Schwartz
last Western is an enjoyable old-fashioned one,
shot in black-and-white. It tells of a gallant
Confederate officer getting involved in an
Indian war and surrendering his life to act
honorably to save a Yankee lady in distress. For
an oater, its ending is unusually tragic.
Director William Keighley ("The
Street With No Name"/"Torrid Zone"/"Four Mothers")
bases it on the story by Alan Le May,
who based it on a real incident. The screenplay is by
Le May and Winston Miller.
March 6, 1865, Confederate Captain Lafe Barstow (Errol
Flynn), under secret orders from General
Robert E. Lee, leads seven Rebs (Kip
Waterston, Pierre Duchesne, Pap Dennison, Kay
Rawlins, Jimmy Wheat, Jonas Weatherby and Plank)
trying to make inroads in California for the Rebels,
in a last ditch effort to save the war for their
cause. He was sent to recruit the outlaw Cole
Smith (Howard Petrie) to
join the Reb cause with 500 outlaws under his command.
The Rebs show up at the Rocky Mountain rendezvous
point, and instead of meeting Cole they meet one
of his gang. Later it's learned that it was indeed
the cagey Cole (Howard
Petrie) who met them, but did
not reveal himself until he sized up his new
allies. When the Rebs spot a runaway stagecoach,
the eight of them swarm down from the mountain and
save from an Indian attack the lives of the rider
and rescue the
unconscious passenger Johanna Carter (Patricia
Wymore, soon to be Flynn's third wife).
Johanna is coming west to stay with her fiancee, Lieutenant
Rickey (Scott Forbes), stationed at
a California fort.
Warning: spoiler alert.
Lieutenant Rickey comes with a search party patrol and
3 Indian scouts from his nearby fort, the Captain sets
an ambush and takes him hostage. Two Indians are shot
while escaping, but their father, the chief (Nakai
Snez), escapes. Rickey also escapes.
Fearing an Indian Attack, Cole promises to return in 2
days with his men. But Cole's horse returns without
him and then the Indians return in great numbers.
Thereby Lafe allows Johanna and the stage driver to
escape by going in the opposite direction of the
soldiers. She rejoins her Lieutenant, who is coming to
rescue her with a patrol. But the Rebs are slaughtered
by the Indians. The Union soldiers salute them for
their bravery and honorable deed.
Never mind the story, Flynn is iconic and his performance is breathtaking.
REVIEWED ON 12/12/2014 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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