Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tonight's Movie: Allegheny Uprising (1939)

One of my recent viewing goals is to catch up with more previously unseen John Wayne movies. He's one of my favorite actors, but when I'm ready for a Wayne film I tend to go right to one of the many tried and true favorites I've come to love over the years.

ALLEGHENY UPRISING (1939) is part of a Wayne "to watch" list which also includes titles such as A MAN BETRAYED (1941), REUNION IN FRANCE (1942), IN OLD CALIFORNIA (1942), IN OLD OKLAHOMA (1943), THE FIGHTING SEABEES (1944), DAKOTA (1945), TYCOON (1947), WAKE OF THE RED WITCH (1949), and OPERATION PACIFIC (1951), to name a few. It's a good-sized list! Hopefully in the next few months I'll be able to check off having seen more of these. I'll soon be seeing BLOOD ALLEY (1955) for the first time when I review the new Warner Archive Blu-ray.

ALLEGHENY UPRISING reunited Wayne with his STAGECOACH (1939) costar of earlier that year, Claire Trevor. Immediately after this film they also appeared together in DARK COMMAND (1940).

ALLEGHENY UPRISING, a "Western" set in the pre-Revolutionary Colonial era, lacks the artistry of Wayne and Trevor's prior film -- which of course had been directed by John Ford -- but it's a sturdy little movie with a good cast which is worth a look.

There's not a great deal of plot to this 81-minute film. Wayne's Jim Smith leads Pennsylvania settlers against an evil trader (Brian Donlevy) who's sneaking rum to the Indians, which in turn incites the Indians to massacre settlers.

George Sanders is the obdurate British military captain who insists that since the trader has a military pass, the goods are intended for the army and nothing untoward could possibly be happening.

Trevor plays Janie, a tomboy in love with Jim who regularly attempts to follow him into battle.

That's pretty much the story on which a number of battle set pieces are hung. The P.J. Wolfson script (based on Neil H. Swanson's story "The First Rebel") isn't much, but it's a nice outdoorsy film, with much of it shot in the Lake Sherwood area.

Trevor's perpetually animated character gives the film much of its energy, and it's perfectly understandable that she chases after the handsome young Wayne.

In addition to Wayne, Trevor, Sanders, and Donlevy, the supporting players include Chill Wills, Moroni Olsen, Ian Wolfe, Robert Barrat, Wilfrid Lawson, and Eddie Quillan.

ALLEGHENY UPRISING was directed by William A. Seiter. It was filmed in black and white by the great Nicholas Musuraca.

As an aside, the opening credits are particularly stylish, well-scored by Anthony Collins.

ALLEGHENY UPRISING is part of the six-film John Wayne Film Collection. The Amazon pricing on this set is currently a steal! I've previously reviewed two other films in the set, the very enjoyable WITHOUT RESERVATIONS (1945) and BIG JIM MCLAIN (1952).

Stay tuned for more Wayne reviews in the coming weeks!


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

I must have been in a mood the first time I saw Allegheny Uprising because Wilfrid Lawson's character really got my nerves to such an extent that it took me years to revisit the little movie. On the other hand, I absolutely loved him as Doolittle in Pygmalion. Every movie is a surprise.

4:07 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I have to admit he's not an actor I'm familiar with -- sounds like I need to finally get around to PYGMALION. :) Thanks for the feedback!

Best wishes,

7:43 PM  

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