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This review is from: Virginia City (1940) - Official Warner Bros. Region 2 PAL release, plays in English without subtitles (DVD)
Errol Flynn (Bradford) and Randolph Scott (Irby) are on opposite sides of the American Civil War. Both end up in Virginia City to get their hands on a consignment of gold that could influence the outcome of the war. Miriam Hopkins (Julia) provides the romantic interest for these two men to fight over, while Humphrey Bogart (Murrell) heads a gang of bandits who also go after the gold. Who gets the gold?
This is an interesting western in that, even though Flynn and Scott are pitted against each other, neither is clearly identified as a goodie or a baddie. The bad guys are Bogart and his mob. Whilst many reviewers point out that Bogey and Hopkins are miscast, I say “so what?” They are not bad, apart from Hopkins’ singing. Ouch! Bogey is one of the film’s highlights, with every appearance bringing on an “Oh good, he’s back” reaction. I find him a very likable bad guy. I far prefer him in this type of role to a leading good guy character, when I find he never quite wins me over. Errol Flynn has star quality but it is Randolph Scott that surprised me and does the best job of actually acting. Unfortunately, we also have the comedy characters as played by Alan Hale (Olaf) and Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams (Marblehead) for Flynn’s sidekicks – not needed. Cast some credible sidekicks, please! Flynn is very capable of passing off his own type of humour if that’s what the director thinks is needed.
The film has a rather far-fetched, cop-out ending that includes Abe Lincoln and while I’d say that the film is a little too long, it has a cast of 3 leading men that keep you watching. Essentially, it’s a spy story with an honourable message.