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Across the Wide Missouri [DVD]
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This film is set in a period of American history rarely covered in motion pictures. Due to the popularity of beaver fur for hats, trappers invaded the Rocky Mountains ,still wild and not officially part of the United States. Clark Gable stars as Flint Mitchell, a beaver trapper who takes a Blackfoot woman (Mexican actor Maria Elena Marques) as his wife with passionate result. The supporting cast is a who's who of cinema history Ricardo Montalban (Fantasy Island) Adolphe Menjou a veteran of films from the silent era. Alan Napier (butler to Adam West's Batman) and J. Carrol Naish combine their talents in this magnificent panorama of epic Americana. Made in the last great days of the American studio system the craftsmanship in the making of this film has never been equaled. A great picture a great story and a great cast including King of Hollywood Clark Gable.
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The new Cornestone DVD offers a gererally clean and crisp picture with no more color distortion one would expect from a old Technicolor movie that has not been digitally remastered: the skin tones are on the brown side, the bright reds tend to bleed a little and sometimes theres a slight purple hue in the distance.
I cannot believe, that the French DVD from Warner that somebody else mentioned, looks any better. Recommended.
Amazingly, what remains is still a recommended piece of film for the discerning Western fan. The locations are just breath taking, expertly shot in Technicolor by Mellor, at times rugged and biting, at others simply looking like God's garden. This part of the world is the perfect back drop for the story as the white man's greed brings them into conflict with the Native Americans.Read more ›
Clark Gable plays one of these larger than life characters. A trapper who with his two fists and great resolve carves out a life for himself in the new Eden. But it is an Eden doomed to destruction as the white race pushes ever deeper into fur country. The old ways being replaced by a less principled new order, leading to the coming of sin and a fall. It is an old theme first introduced by the wonderful novels of James Fenimore Cooper, and it is still happening today to remote tribes in the Amazon basin. This is what Wellmans film addresses.
Wellman is not my favourite director of Westerns. "The Ox Bow Incident" was what I feel to be his crowning achievement. "Yellow Sky" is also an extremely good Western. This film is not a classic but it is impressive and alternates seamlessly between lyricism and bitterness. Gable still had a huge screen persona and could carry a film. He fitted into the role easily. The wonderful landscapes are captured and evoke a sense of what much of America was like at that time. The film was savagely cut after it was previewed, so we will never know what Wellmans true vision was. It stands as one of the few films to cover that period well. "The Big Sky" and "Jeremiah Johnson" spring to mind. This film runs both those very fine films a close race. Recommended viewing. I must add that I cannot vouch for the quality of these rather expensive imported DVDs. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated as I have my eye on one or two.
The Fifties were not a good time for William Wellman, beginning and ending the decade losing control of personal projects to studio executives. Despite starring Clark Gable, who personally requested Wellman be hired, MGM were less than satisfied with 1951's Across the Wide Missouri and, to be fair, you can see their side. This tale of mountain men and free trappers in the golden days of the unopened frontier may be full of quirk and color, but the story is very thin, with Gable marrying Blackfoot woman Maria Elena Marques in the hope she'll be able to smooth things over with her tribe in the beaver-rich Blackfoot country only to find himself genuinely falling in love with her and understanding that the Blackfoot are "people who laughed and loved and dreamed" only for his brigade of trappers to become targets for Ricardo Montalban's chief-in-waiting who knows that they'll herald the loss of his people's freedom. (Montalban came out of the film even worse than Wellman, with a serious spinal injury that would leave him with pain for the rest of his life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My Mother loved this DVD, as she is a great John Wayne fan. A must for all John Wayne fans and lovers of westernsPublished 7 months ago by Carol Bradford
I would recommend this to anyone.Enjoyable adventure film. Quality on DVD is suberb you would never think it was made so long ago.Published on 30 Mar. 2013 by redhead
Great, but I always said "why did she have to die"-It looked as if the whole crew enjoyed making this movie, as it was so natural-thank youPublished on 31 Dec. 2012 by Brian Conduct