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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where sun rise, white man's land. Where sun set, Indian land.
The Plainsman is directed by Cecil B. DeMille and written by Courtney Ryler Cooper & Frank J. Wilstach. It stars Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, James Ellison, Charles Bickford, Helen Burgess and Paul Harvey. Music is by George Antheil and cinematography by Victor Milner. Film is a fictionalised account of the relationships involving Wild Bill Hickok (Cooper), Calamity Jane...
Published on 1 May 2012 by Spike Owen

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars EARLY BENCHMARK.
i suppose at the time 1936 this western would have been one on the top films of the genre and the benchmark upon which to improve . the storyline entwines the great characters and events of the wild west but not in a historically acurate order , the portrayal of the characters is done well and all the main events from the leading characters are covered , but with far less...
Published on 2 Mar 2010 by BUBS.


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars EARLY BENCHMARK., 2 Mar 2010
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This review is from: The Plainsman [DVD] (DVD)
i suppose at the time 1936 this western would have been one on the top films of the genre and the benchmark upon which to improve . the storyline entwines the great characters and events of the wild west but not in a historically acurate order , the portrayal of the characters is done well and all the main events from the leading characters are covered , but with far less action {indian wars} than the cover leads you to expect . the film is also in black and white not coloured like the region 1 version states on the internet and the cover again leads you to believe .
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where sun rise, white man's land. Where sun set, Indian land., 1 May 2012
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Plainsman [DVD] (DVD)
The Plainsman is directed by Cecil B. DeMille and written by Courtney Ryler Cooper & Frank J. Wilstach. It stars Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, James Ellison, Charles Bickford, Helen Burgess and Paul Harvey. Music is by George Antheil and cinematography by Victor Milner. Film is a fictionalised account of the relationships involving Wild Bill Hickok (Cooper), Calamity Jane (Arthur), Buffalo Bill (Ellison) and George Custer (John Miljan).

Master of the epic DeMille crafts a big and bold Western that's finely acted, interesting in its telling and big on idealism. You obviously have to forget real time lines, this is a splicer as DeMille and Co take some of the Wild West's most famous characters and stir them into one Oater stew! Friendships and affairs of the heart form the basis of thematics, with the war against the redskin giving the characters reason for being. Gun running and politico musings drift in and out of the narrative but leave a mark, while DeMille proves classy in action construction as a number of warfare sequences raise the pulse considerably.

The flip-side...

There are no bad apples in the cast (Cooper wonderfully macho, Arthur whip-crackingly gorgeous and Bickford suitably weasel like), though Burgess doesn't quite grasp the dramatic thrust of being Buffalo Bill's good woman. The running time is a touch too long, with several passages of dialogue serving only as time filling exercises, while the back screen projection work is irritable if a little understandable given the time of production. Ultimately there are flaws that make this only a comfortable recommendation to classic era Western fans who can accept it as a 1930s dressed up bit of frontier malarkey. Casual observers, mind, are unlikely to get past the historical hodge-podge and hooray idealism. 7/10
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4.0 out of 5 stars Double Bill, 5 Jun 2014
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Plainsman (1936) - Westerns Collection 2011 [DVD] (DVD)
Cecil B. DeMille has was the acme of the booted whip-wielding director whose word was law. He could also, on this showing, direct with a clear eye and a visual sense which turns this early western from mere hokum into something much more.
Sadly but predictably, many American Indians are killed during the film`s 110 minutes` running time, and there are several scenes early on in which a few of them are shown pow-wowing with Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane (Gary Cooper & Jean Arthur, both superb) which strain one`s patience.
Most of this engrossing film rests on the shoulders of its two effervescent leads, as well as the rather colourless but nonetheless effective James Ellison as Buffalo Bill Cody - there are two Bills in the story, each adressing the other as Bill, something you`d think they would have got round at script stage. (Couldn`t Hickok have been Bill, and Buffalo referred to as Cody, perhaps?)
Coop has seldom been so winning or so cheerful - remember those pained performances in later years? Jean Arthur is so full of inventiveness and energy as Calamity that I wanted to cheer. She`s one of my favourite actress, here are plenty of reasons why. She balances cheeky flirtatiousness with tough stoicism, not to mention a petite sexiness all her own, and made me believe she was the well-named Calamity Jane of legend. She and Hickok`s bantering, fractious relationship is beautifully acted out, and their scenes glow.
The opening sequence involving Lincoln and his congressmen is a bit hard to take (especially the woman playing Mrs Lincoln, who simply couldn`t act) but when the film gets going, you`re in for a thoroughly enjoyable time.
Well worth seeing more than once, if only for Jean & Coop. He was her favourite leading man, and it shows.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting action, 30 Aug 2004
By 
Michael Bo (Frederiksberg Denmark) - See all my reviews
The new handful of Westerns that Universal has just released on DVD are not among the most well-known of their genre, but it is a joyful occasion all the same, all the more actually. Three out of the seven titles that I have seen are great, 'The Spoilers', 'No Name on the Bullet' and 'The Plainsman'. Not a bad average. The only really bad one is 'When the Daltons Rode'.
Veteran epic director Cecil B. CeMille's 'The Plainsman' is a hugely mounted, dramatic and blazing Western with Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, Lincoln and Custer in one and the same movie! And add numberless scores of exotically feathered Indians and cavalry men.
In this universe violence equals heroism, but the Sioux chief is given time to defend his people, and Jean Arthur's loveable Calamity has her own way of prevailing against the man she is seen chasing all through the film! Gary Cooper's Hickok is shy and awkward, and he is never quite made to kiss her.
The action scenes are riveting, the sets are beautiful, the humanity in the picture is convincing, and in the end, as we see Hickok place himself with his villanous hostages with his back to the saloon door, everybody with even a feeble grasp of Western mythology know what is up ...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cecil B. DeMille's "The Plainsman", 7 Feb 2010
This review is from: The Plainsman [DVD] (DVD)
This is a really good picture, if you don't take it too seriously of course. I showed it too my Grandad whose very picky and even he really enjoyed it. Please note if you watch it though that it's not mean't to be a history lesson.
In what can only be described as a fantasia of the lives of Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill Cody,DeMille's film spans about ten years in about two hours and is a celebration of the vastness of the West.
Different events are combined together to form a story arc. In this plot we've got Lincoln's assassination in 1865, there's a fight with Indians that looks very like the battle of Beecher's Island in 1868, Wild Bill's gunfight with 3 soldiers from the Seventh Cavalry in 1870, Custer's Last Stand in 1876 and of course Hickok's death at the hands of Jack McCall in Deadwood in 1876. The film flows along quite smoothly however and it was interesting to see how the plot links so much together.
Gary Cooper stars as Hickok, minus the long hair and moustache but if you picture him with those he does carry a vague resemblance to the real man. James Ellison is a ringer for Buffalo Bill . Jean Arthur is a bit annoying as Calamity Jane. Charles Bickford plays the villain very well. You might also spot Gabby Hayes, Francis Ford and a young Anthony Quinn in his first film.
If there is a problem with this film however it is its portrayal of Native Americans. They grunt, tear things apart and speak broken English. John Ford's Fort Apache was still ten years away and the Indians are still expendable villains with little or no personality.
Despite it all DeMille made an epic film at a time when westerns were practically dead. There are good action scenes and the set pieces and clothing are realist. Some scenes are quite dramatic though but if you do not nit pick and look on the plus side and remember that it is from 1937 you should enjoy the film.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Western, 11 Jan 2010
By 
Mr. Paul J. Clawson (Milton Keynes Bucks UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Plainsman [DVD] (DVD)
Great Garry Cooper performance super western from Cecil B De-Mille. For collectors of the Genre a must
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Plainsman, 17 Feb 2013
By 
Ian Pearson "Ensign Ewart" (Sheffield,South Yorkshire,UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Plainsman [DVD] (DVD)
An early Gary Cooper western,already showing the talent which would outshine a lot of others in the years to come! Cannot think of any "bad" or "poor" films featuring Gary Cooper.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well-known Gary Cooper picture and one I enjoyed many years ago., 21 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Plainsman [DVD] (DVD)
Gary Cooper was, at one time, on a par with John Wayne, and he was a 'cowboy' in the strictest sense of the word. An excellent cast and director (De Mille). Good print.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Begins well enough, 17 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Plainsman [DVD] (DVD)
This film begins well, with Gary C in great form and Jean Arthur not far behind plus a very capable supporting cast but the last third fizzles down a little abruptly. At this price, though, it should not be any skin off your nose and Gary C is always worth watching. Good photography and fine copy quality.
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The Plainsman (1936) - Westerns Collection 2011 [DVD]
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