Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Forgotten Films: Santa Fe Trail

If you're looking for historical accuracy, well, this isn't the movie for you. It's wildly off the wall. If you're looking for an entertaining western with plenty of action, well, this is a fine choice. Errol Flynn is J. E. B. Stuart, and Ronald Reagan is Custer (Flynn played him a year or so later in They Died with Their Boots On). Olivia de Havilland is the woman they both love. Raymond Massey plays John Brown, and it's almost as if he's in a different movie, at least when compared to Reagan and Flynn. They aren't bad. They're playing the kinds of characters they were best at. Massey is . . . intense. Just watch the trailer and you'll see what I mean.

Besides being an entertainment, Santa Fe Trail is a serious attempt to show the evils of slavery in a way that Hollywood didn't often do. The message is clear throughout, but it doesn't get in the way of a rousing good time. Check it out.


Anonymous said...


Yeah, that's a fair description.

Wildly over the top is another. But then, I've always pictured John Brown that way.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Erroll Flynn could play a lot of different types. So to Olivia. And RR was this type.

Anonymous said...

Massey played John Brown again in SEVEN ANGRY MEN.

iluvcinema said...

Solid pick. Can't go too wrong with Flynn/deHavilland!

Massey's performance as John Brown was superb - really captured what I feel Brown was like - feverishly manic