Fifty Roads to Town


1h 21m 1937

Film Details

Also Known As
50 Roads Back
Release Date
Apr 16, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Fifty Roads to Town by Louis Frederick Nebel (Boston, 1936).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 21m
Film Length
7,300ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

One winter day, when Peter Nostrand receives word that a warrant for him is being issued, he packs liquor, a gun and clothes and leaves New York. About a hundred miles from Canada, Peter arrives at the Outpost Lodge, which is closing for the season, and convinces the manager to let him stay one night. Millicent Kendall, who is wearing a fur coat over a nightgown, enters Peter's cabin while he is in the shower. Thinking she is there to serve the warrant, Peter gets his gun and orders her to burn her "legal document." Millicent thinks that Peter has been hired by her father to stop her from eloping with her fiancé in Rochester, and she burns her marriage license. When they realize that they are not who they thought they were, Peter orders Millicent to remain until it is safe for him to leave. After she attempts an escape, Peter takes one shoe from her. They spend the night together in the cabin, and he gives her his gun for protection before insisting that she take the only bed, which is in the bedroom. The next day, Peter takes the gun to hunt for a rabbit to eat, and Millicent is visited by Edwin Henry, a befuddled trapper. She tells him that a gangster is holding her, and they find Peter's valise, which is filled with bottles of scotch. Peter then enters and wants to cook the live rabbit that Edwin has caught, but Millicent won't let him. Meanwhile, the newspapers carry the story that Millicent, an heiress and daughter of a tycoon, is missing in the vicinity, and the sheriff deputizes ten men to look for her. The sheriff then learns that there is a $5,000 reward for the desperate gangster Dutch Nelson, who is heading their way. That night, Edwin sleeps in the bedroom, and Peter lets Millicent sleep on the couch, while he tries to sleep on two chairs. After an uneasy moment during which their desire is awakened, Peter walks away and unknowingly drops his gun on the rug. Millicent retrieves it, and in the morning, while Peter showers, she awakens Edwin and orders him to call the police. When Peter finds that she has the gun, he tells her that it isn't loaded and dares her to fire it at the ceiling. She does, and when it goes off, he reveals that it only had one bullet left. Millicent says she now wants to return to her family because she feels that it would be dangerous for them to spend another night together. Upset, Peter drives off alone, and while he is gone, Dutch comes to the cabin. Thinking that he is a police officer, Millicent tells him that Peter got away. Peter returns and recognizing Dutch, convinces him that the police are closing in. Dutch shoots the tires on his own car and, after getting into Peter's, orders them to bring him food. In revenge, they mix up a can of rattlesnake meat for Dutch, and he drives away. Meanwhile, Edwin tells the sheriff that Peter must be Dutch. That night, Peter reveals to Millicent that he is not really a gangster, but only a fugitive from a bench warrant for him to be a witness in a divorce case. Because of a snow storm, the sheriff and his men cannot get through to the cabin. Peter and Millicent kiss and she tells him that she loves him. After drinking Peter's scotch, Millicent faints, and Peter carries her to the bedroom and locks her in. When she revives, she calls him a coward. As the sheriff and his men arrive on foot, Peter thinks that they are hunters, so he fires into the air to scare them. In response, the sheriff and his men open fire with machine guns, and as Peter believes they are going to die, he confesses to Millicent that she is the first girl he has ever loved. The sheriff throws bombs of tear gas, but the wind blows the gas back to the men, who start to cry. When Peter and Millicent no longer see anyone outside, they leave, but she falls down, and the sheriff helps her and handcuffs Peter. At his office, the sheriff interrogates Peter and tries to get him to confess to pulling bank robberies, until he gets a call that Dutch has died of ptomaine poisoning from the rattlesnake meat. Peter then finds out that the couple who had planned to divorce has reconciled. He promises to pay for the damage to the cabin, and Millicent tells the sheriff that he should release Peter, as he is now her fiancé. Peter then says that he and Millicent want to rent the cabin for the rest of the winter.

Film Details

Also Known As
50 Roads Back
Release Date
Apr 16, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Fifty Roads to Town by Louis Frederick Nebel (Boston, 1936).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 21m
Film Length
7,300ft (9 reels)

Articles

TCM Remembers - Ann Sothern


Actress Ann Sothern passed away on March 15th at the age of 89. Her film career spanned sixty years and included a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for The Whales of August (1987) and several Emmy nominations for her roles in the TV shows Private Secretary (1953) and The Ann Sothern Show (1958). Sothern was born as Harriette Lake in North Dakota. She made her first film appearance in 1927 in small roles (so small, in fact, that some sources omit any films before 1929) before deciding to work on Broadway instead. Shortly afterwards she signed with Columbia Pictures where studio head Harry Cohn insisted she change her name because there were already too many actors with the last name of Lake. So "Ann" came from her mother's name Annette and "Sothern" from Shakespearean actor E.H. Sothern. For most of the 1930s she appeared in light comedies working with Eddie Cantor, Maurice Chevalier, Mickey Rooney and Fredric March. However, it wasn't until she switched to MGM (after a brief period with RKO) and made the film Maisie (1939) that Sothern hit pay dirt. It proved enormously popular and led to a series of nine more films through 1947 when she moved into dramas and musicals. During the 50s, Sothern made a mark with her TV series but returned to mostly second tier movies in the 1960s and 1970s. Finally she earned an Oscar nomination for her work in 1987's The Whales of August (in which, incidentally, her daughter Tisha Sterling played her at an earlier age). Turner Classic Movies plans to host a retrospective film tribute to her in July. Check back for details in June.
Tcm Remembers - Ann Sothern

TCM Remembers - Ann Sothern

Actress Ann Sothern passed away on March 15th at the age of 89. Her film career spanned sixty years and included a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for The Whales of August (1987) and several Emmy nominations for her roles in the TV shows Private Secretary (1953) and The Ann Sothern Show (1958). Sothern was born as Harriette Lake in North Dakota. She made her first film appearance in 1927 in small roles (so small, in fact, that some sources omit any films before 1929) before deciding to work on Broadway instead. Shortly afterwards she signed with Columbia Pictures where studio head Harry Cohn insisted she change her name because there were already too many actors with the last name of Lake. So "Ann" came from her mother's name Annette and "Sothern" from Shakespearean actor E.H. Sothern. For most of the 1930s she appeared in light comedies working with Eddie Cantor, Maurice Chevalier, Mickey Rooney and Fredric March. However, it wasn't until she switched to MGM (after a brief period with RKO) and made the film Maisie (1939) that Sothern hit pay dirt. It proved enormously popular and led to a series of nine more films through 1947 when she moved into dramas and musicals. During the 50s, Sothern made a mark with her TV series but returned to mostly second tier movies in the 1960s and 1970s. Finally she earned an Oscar nomination for her work in 1987's The Whales of August (in which, incidentally, her daughter Tisha Sterling played her at an earlier age). Turner Classic Movies plans to host a retrospective film tribute to her in July. Check back for details in June.

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The print viewed was missing end credits. The working title of this film was 50 Roads Back. Concerning the liberties taken in the film with the novel, Frank S. Nugent in his New York Times review remarked, "Dipped in the whimsy bath by the Twentieth Century-Fox chemists, Frederick Nebel's novel Fifty Roads to Town emerged...with its original melodramatic content washed out and an inlay of gibbering farce in its place." Variety commented that the film "belongs to the slightly mad school of nonsense so popular these days." According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, in October 1936, this film was up as a directing assignment for Otto Preminger. Although Donald Meek is mentioned in a Hollywood Reporter news item as a last minute cast addition, his inclusion in the final film is doubtful.