Friday, November 23, 2012

1939 - UNION PACIFIC, is DeMille's very entertaining western.

This is a large scale Western film, from Cecil B. DeMille. The film is long but completely entertaining.  DeMille has loaded Union Pacific up with lots of fights, a soap opera love triangle, and two spectacular train wreck sequences. 

The plot is about the building of the transcontinental railroad, Barbara Stanwyck and actor from Brooklyn is stuck playing and Irish engineer's daughter complete with stereotypical accent.  Joel McCrea who was a capable light comedian plays the railroad troubleshooter who is such a tough guy he wears his guns backwards.  Brian Donlevy frequently played bad guys and he again gets the honors in this film.  Finally, Robert Preston, an actor who struggled in films is the 2nd lead bad guy.  Preston didn't his the big time until he starred in The Music Man on Broadway.

Frequently criticized for his lack of sophistication, Cecil B. DeMille was an extremely good at producing and directing films that were very successful with the public.  DeMille also had a much more impressive visual sense when it came to staging films than he was usually given credit for.  Union Pacific is a well staged and photographed film.

Union Pacific is a very good piece of commercial enterainment, from a master commercial filmmaker.

135 minutes

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