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Virginia City

Virginia City(1940)

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  • A good Western

    • Arch Stanton
    • 7/11/16

    Not sure why Virginia City is generally held in lower regard than Dodge City. They're both good films. Dodge City has the advantage of Technicolor and star power in the female lead, but Virginia City has a slightly better story and character development; where the conflict between supporters of North and South was treated with cartoonish frivolity in Dodge City, this film explores the issue with a welcome dose of maturity and depth. Both films require suspension of disbelief at preposterous plot developments, and both earn it. Virginia City scores extra points for providing a Ford-esque action-filled journey/chase across wide-open Desert Southwest country.Both films allow Hale and Williams to shine as lovable, brawling lunkheads, but Virginia City gives them a bit more opportunity for comic nuance. For instance, after Williams decks a guy, he pulls out a knife, bends over the man, and for a moment we aren't sure where this is going, but then we see that he's deftly cut the guy's cigar, leaving just the stub still in the mouth, then Williams merrily starts puffing the lion's share of the cigar as he struts away. In another scene---in a more subtle comic touch that could easily go unnoticed---Williams uses the same knife to inappropriately slice off a hunk of wood from a storefront post and whittle it down to a toothpick. If everyone did that, the building would fall down!Contrary to the standard snickering from critics of this film, Bogart actually does a creditable job pulling off his bandito role. Watch for glimpse of youthful George "Superman" Reeves as a telegraph operator.

  • Bogart's role is politically incorrect

    • Jarrod McDonald
    • 2/18/11

    But then so were a lot of classic film parts. If you can get past his miscasting, there's a lot to be enjoyed here. Of particular note is Miriam Hopkins who guides Errol Flynn to an unusually strong performance. I think Hopkins should've done more westerns. She excelled at everything thing she did on film.

  • Virginia City (1940)

    • Barry Brittain
    • 10/18/10

    Excellent Errol Flynn western!! This was one of director Michael Curtiz's best! Beautiful cinematography, it should have been at least nominated in this category! Even though it was shot in black and white, the California and especially the Arizona desert location shots were stunning to say the least! Curtiz must have been watching some of John Ford's early westerns, the whole style of the movie looks very much "Ford-like"! Some critics say that Humphrey Bogart was miscast as the Mexican bandido "with the pencil-thin moustache". I have to strongly disagree! While it is true that Bogart was being typecast in villainous roles a few too many times in this portion of his career and that his potential as a leading man/good guy was not yet being realized (fortunately THE MALTESE FALCON was just around the corner and would mark a spectacular turning point for him) I think that he played the bad guy particularly well in this one. He was a pretty versatile actor! I always enjoy seeing a movie with Errol Flynn and Alan Hale Sr. They always seemed to work so well together and seemed like such good friends! I too was surprised to see Randolph Scott in a villainous role! I always thought he was better as the good guy!

  • Terrific Early Western

    • Chase K.
    • 11/28/09

    This early Western (directed during Curtiz's peak years at Warner Bros.) is a sprawling slice of American patriotism, as Errol Flynn's Union captain takes on Randolph Scott's Confederate gold-smuggler during the waning days of the Civil War. As Flynn and Scott, two clear enemies, find their moral footing, it becomes a clear, wonderful (if all too reverent) symbol of the nation's path to rebuilding and recovery.In my opinion, it's better than the 1939 Flynn-de Havilland Technicolor "Dodge City", which is a fine film in its own right in that Flynn/heroic sort of way. "Virginia City" is more John Ford than Michael Curtiz, and I love it for that. Tremendous Max Steiner score and Sol Polito B&W photography, as well.Plus who doesn't want to see Humphrey Bogart as an outlaw with a pencil-thin moustache and a spanish accent?

  • Miscast cast!

    • Steve
    • 7/2/09

    Errol is great and so are his usual sidekicks Hale & Williams but Bogie as a Mexican outlaw or Ms. Hopkins as Flynn's love interest - it just doesn't work. Also, Randolph Scott playing the heavy - you can tell that he much rather be the "good" guy!

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