Director Stuart Gilmore’s 1946 Paramount movie is the fourth filming of the famous Owen Wister Western yarn.
It lacks some bite in this handling, and Joel McCrea as rancher hero The Virginian and Brian Donlevy as the baddie Trampas, though both good, are not quite good enough to erase memories of Gary Cooper and Walter Huston in the 1929 version. But it is still a great yarn, and it looks a treat shot by Harry Hallenberger in Technicolor. Barbara Britton is lively as local school teacher Molly Woods.
Also in the cast are Sonny Tufts, William Frawley, Henry O’Neill, Fay Bainter, Bill Edwards, Tom Tully, Paul Guilfoyle, Marc Lawrence, Vince Barnett, Stanley Andrews, Al Bridge, Nana Bryant, James Burke, Joseph Crehan, Martin Garralga, Paul Hurst, Minerva Urecal, Minor Watson, Tom Dillon, Marjean Neville and Willard Robertson.
Owen Wister’s novel (and Kirk LaShelle’s play) was filmed before in 1914 (by Cecil B DeMille) and 1923, and again as The Virginian in 1929 with Gary Cooper. It was remade for TV in 2000 with Bill Pullman, Diane Lane, John Savage, Dennis Weaver and James Drury.
It was also of course the basis of the popular, long-running TV series (1962–1971) with Doug McClure, James Drury and Lee J Cobb, though the series bore little relation to the book.
© Derek Winnert 2017 Classic Movie Review 4880
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