Errol Flynn and Olivia DeHavilland were one of the screen's greatest romantic teams. Offscreen they had feelings for one another (which, according to interviews with DeHavilland, they never acted upon), and the adoration caught on screen in their films together certainly seems to be more than mere acting. DODGE CITY is no exception. They are a wonderful pair.
DODGE CITY, Flynn's first Western, is simultaneously slowly meandering and bigger than life. It takes a while for the plot to develop -- DeHavilland's entrance at the 30-minute mark and Flynn taking over as Dodge City's sheriff at the hour mark are significant turning points -- but as you mosey through the story you're accompanied by a mile-deep cast of some of Hollywood's greatest character actors, including Alan Hale, Victor Jory, Ward Bond, Bruce Cabot, Henry Travers, and Russell Simpson, plus Ann Sheridan as a dance hall girl.
The film's Technicolor is nothing less than stunning. The memorable musical score is by Max Steiner, who would write the music for GONE WITH THE WIND that same year. The film also boasts what's reputed to be one of the biggest saloon brawls in movie history. And oh, yes -- there's also Flynn, dashing as ever in his buckskin jacket, and the lovely Miss DeHavilland.
The DVD runs just short of 104 minutes, although the box lists the running time as 100 minutes and some sources list the time as 105 minutes.
DODGE CITY is available on DVD, individually or as part of the Errol Flynn Signature Collection, a must-have for Flynn fans.
The DVD includes a "Warner Night at the Movies" program of 1939 trailers, newsreel, cartoon, and an interesting Technicolor short film, SONS OF LIBERTY. Claude Rains stars in SONS OF LIBERTY as Haym Solomon, a relatively unheralded patriot who played an important role in the American Revolution. The 20-minute short co-stars Gale Sondergaard and Donald Crisp and was directed by Michael Curtiz.
DODGE CITY is also available on video.
The film is part of the Turner Classic Movies library and will next air on December 26, 2006. The trailer can be viewed here.