(Average=3.59 out of 5; Total Number=17)
John Brown Should Be The Hero (rating=4)
I've always liked Sante Fe Trail even though it may not be the most accurate and is definately not PC. Whenever I see this movie I can't help rooting for John Brown to succeed. The quality of the movie is very good. There are only a frames that are not crisp. I didn't notice any hiss.
The quality is Abilene Town is not great, but it is very watchable. The image is mostly dull and blurry, but there wasn't any hiss. This movie suprised me because of the plot and acting. Both are good. The love intrest does not follow the normal formula.
This DVD is worth purchasing. Another reviewer stated that he hadn't ever seen Abilene Town on DVD.
Good Action, No Historical Accuracy (rating=4)
Santa Fe Trail is an exciting western set in the years leading up to the Civil War. Mostly the story revolves around John Brown and the problems he caused with his abilitionist movement. The soldiers pursuing him are JEB Stuart and George Armstrong Custer, played by Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan. The final showdown takes place in Harper's Ferry where Brown makes his final stand. This is a good movie that has very little to do with history except that John Brown does die. Anyways, the movie is very good whether it is accurate or not. There is good action and enjoyable characters. Errol Flynn is his usual self with Olivia de Havilland excellent as the love interest in the story. Raymond Massey is disturbingly good as John Brown. Also starring is Van Heflin in a good guy/bad guy role. Entertaining western with good cast! Just don't use it as a history lesson.
Twisted History (rating=2)
This is a very strange film. One the one hand, you've got Michael Curtiz, a great director (Casablanca, Angels With Dirty Faces, et al) and a stirring Max Steiner score. You've got a remarkable performance by Raymond Massey. You've got Errol Flynn doing his sex symbol action hero thing. You've got Reagan cast as the sidekick, as he so often was when he got to be in A list movies (when Jack Warner of Warner Brothers was an old man and they told him that Reagan was running for Governor of California he said: "No, no. Jimmy Stewart for Governor. Ronald Reagan for Best Friend." No film exemplifies that studio attitude better than this one!) You get to see Olivia de Havilland, as someone other than Miss Mellie or The Heiress. So, all all, you think: this is typical, or above-average studio fare ... but it's the politics of this film that are twisted. Van Heflin is the weasely bad guy from the time the men are at West Point -- why is he so bad? Because he has the bad manners to be openly anti-slavery around JEB Stuart (and believing Errol Flynn is a Southerner is a stretch -- 'cause he sure doesn't, for the role.) The film culminates with Flynn rescuing bewildered, terrified black people from a burning building, and it's all John Brown's fault; here we have Flynn, the noble, paternal slave owner saving the slaves from the crazed abolitionist . . . very messed up stuff. In some ways, considering some of the talent involved, it's a rather pedestrian exercise. But Massey's compelling performance, (which made Flynn resentful because he hated to be upstaged) and the extremely dubious, icky politics of it make it stand out -- make it a film worth seeing.