Saturday, June 1, 2013

THE VIRGINIAN (1946)

I've never read the novel "The Virginian" by Owen Wister which I've heard was really good, so I can't compare this film to the source material.  But I liked the movie.  The strikingly beautiful Barbara Britton plays a young woman who travels out West to take a job as a school teacher in a small Wyoming town.  Upon her arrival she immediately gets the attention of all the men in town including two old cowboy friends Joel McCrea and Sonny Tufts.  At first they make a game out of winning the affections of Barbara, but then things take a darker turn when Sonny joins a group of cattle rustlers (ran by the all black wearing Brian Donlevy).

A bunch of the standard old western stuff happens...horses racing about, campfires, square dancing, trash talking, shootings, people can't read, gambling in a saloon, frontier justice, posse tracking down rustlers and so on.  The town of Medicine Bow is described as just a bump in the road, but it looked like your standard western backlot to me.  Some of the outdoor scenes were obviously shot on a soundstage and McCrea is quite a bit older than Britton, but despite all those things THE VIRGINIAN was still an entertaining film and one I would gladly watch again.