The Spoilers


1h 24m 1956
The Spoilers

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1956
Premiere Information
New York opening: 23 Dec 1955; Los Angeles opening: week of 29 Dec 1955
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Spoilers by Rex Beach (New York, 1906).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 24m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)

Synopsis

In Nome, Alaska in 1899, old-timer gold miners, led by Flapjack Simms and Banty Jones, storm the office of new gold commissioner Alex McNamara to berate him for allowing claim jumpers to dispute their land holdings. Finding Alex gone, they adjourn to the local saloon, the Northern, to arrange a posse. There, croupier Blackie calls owner Cherry Malotte to calm them, which she does with her beauty, her charm and her liquor. Concerned, Cherry later visits Alex's office and "borrows" Flapjack's claim record from Montrose, the assistant. Before she can pocket it, however, Alex appears, introduces himself and assures her he is checking into all new claims. Interested both in her and the brewing unrest, he accompanies her back to the Northern and there explains to the miners that federal judge Stillman is arriving soon to settle all disputes legally. Just then, a whistle announces the arrival of a ship, which Cherry knows is carrying her boyfriend, Miter Mine owner Roy Glennister. She attempts to look detached, but soon, to the chagrin of Blackie, rushes to the dock to greet Roy. When he disembarks, however, he is carrying fellow traveler Helen Chester in his arms, and a jealous Cherry refuses his kiss hello. Further angered by Roy's refusal to let the proper Helen board at the saloon with her, Cherry, leaves in a huff with his partner, Dextry. In town, Roy and Alex meet when they both stop a shootout between a drunken Flapjack and claim jumpers Clark and Bennett. The next day at the Miter, Roy promises Dextry that although he has been spending time with Helen, he loves only Cherry, but when he visits Cherry at the Northern, she refuses to speak to him and instead greets Alex warmly. The miners turn angry upon hearing that Alex's land survey will last another two weeks, and Roy helps calm them before he leaves, undaunted by Cherry's ire. The next day at the Miter, the marshal and lawyer Jonathan Struve deliver a claim on the mine filed by a man named Gallaway. Although Dextry immediately draws his gun, Roy urges him to handle the problem legally. Roy's problems worsen that night when he visits Cherry and she responds to his kiss by slapping him. When court adjourns the next afternoon, Flapjack and Banty's claims are restored, but Stillman and Alex later arrive at the Miter to survey it. Dextry once again pulls out his gun, and when Roy agrees to turn the mine over to the law for a week, a furious Dextry dissolves their partnership and stalks over to Cherry's. There, Dextry's suspicion that a scheme to steal the mine is afoot seems confirmed by Blackie's announcement that the mine's safe, which contains all their gold and claim records, has been moved to the bank vault. Cherry brings Dextry to her friend, lawyer Wheaton, and finds Roy already there. With no legal recourse, they wait until the hearing the next day, and all are enraged to hear that the case has been delayed for ninety days, thus leaving the mine vulnerable to looters. Later, in his parlor, Alex congratulates Stillman, Struve and Helen for helping him trick Roy out of his land. Knowing that Wheaton plans to travel to Seattle to appeal the decision, Alex schemes to keep him from leaving town. Just then, Roy arrives to speak to the judge, and upon spotting the four together, realizes they are conspirators. He rushes to the saloon to inform Cherry and Dextry that their suspicions are correct, and after Cherry falls into Roy's arms, they kiss. Blackie overhears Dextry and Roy's plan to blow up the bank vault and retrieve their safe, and, as part of his plot to win Cherry, urges the marshal to race to the bank. In the ensuing gunfight, Blackie secretly shoots at Roy and then kills the marshal, knowing that Roy will be blamed for the lawman's death. Soon after, Alex visits Cherry's rooms above the saloon looking for Roy, and, to her surprise, Roy strolls out of the back room. Cherry and her maid, The Duchess, act as Roy's alibi, but Alex spots dynamite in Roy's jacket and arrests him. Cherry visits Helen, who is packing, and forces her to admit that she is leaving because she cannot bear to watch Alex carry out his plan to let Roy escape from jail and then kill him. Cherry races to the jail, where Roy is indeed about to flee into the back alley, where Alex's men are waiting to shoot him. She creates a diversion and warns him to run out the front instead, and Blackie watches as they kiss. Cherry then lies to Alex that Roy has been shot, and convinces him to help her to her apartment, where the Duchess helps her to keep him distracted. Meanwhile, Roy, Dextry and the miners, heedless of the danger, board a train and prepare to break through the barricaded mine. They burst in, crashing the train, and engage in a shootout with Alex's men. The miners are almost defeated when Dextry remembers some dynamite he previously buried, and detonates it, prompting the remaining looters to surrender. Blackie lies dying from the train accident, but before he collapses, he admits to Roy that he killed the marshal. Roy and Dextry then go to Helen's, and after she informs them that Alex is at Cherry's, Roy arrives there just in time to rescue Cherry from Alex's clutches. The two men fight viciously, crashing first into the saloon and then out a window into the street. Roy finally knocks Alex out, and Cherry rushes to embrace him in the street.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1956
Premiere Information
New York opening: 23 Dec 1955; Los Angeles opening: week of 29 Dec 1955
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Spoilers by Rex Beach (New York, 1906).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 24m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to a January 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item, Robert Arthur was originally hired to produce The Spoilers, but was replaced by Ross Hunter after Arthur's production schedule changed. Rex Beach's novel was first filmed in 1914 by the Selig Polyscope Co., starring William Farnum and Kathlyn Williams and directed by Colin Campbell (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20). In 1923, Lambert Hillyer directed a Jesse D. Hampton version, starring Milton Sills and Anna Q. Nilsson, and a 1930 Paramount version starred Gary Cooper and Kay Johnson and was directed by Edwin Carewe (for both, see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30). Universal produced its first adaptation of the novel in 1942, directed by Ray Enright and starring Marlene Dietrich, John Wayne and Randolph Scott (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1956

Based on the novel "The Spoilers" written by Rex Beach and published in 1906.

Released in United States Winter January 1956