Cast & Crew
J. Carrol Naish
In 1890, the Powells are the ironmasters of Minnesota. Although eldest son David inherited management of the family business, daughter Christine has the shrewdest business mind and conspires to take over. She is backed by their brother Steve, who recently masterminded a train robbery that ended in murder, and the local banker, John Mulholland, who hopes for Christine's love in return. Confident that her power play has not offended the visiting Henry S. Chapman of Pittsburgh, whose steel company is their biggest account, Christine smugly tells him she will extend the company's mining operations to the Mesabi area, which she plans to grab when the abandoned lease, owned by the deceased Professor Ramlo, runs out in two weeks. Her plans are altered when she discovers that Ramlo's son Kyle is working the claim. She sends Steve and his ruffian gang to intimidate Kyle's group by setting fires to their camp and engaging them in a nocturnal gun battle. Steve leaves behind a tell-tale cartridge from his German-made gun, which is found by the old Swede, Axel Nordlund, a family friend who works for Kyle. With the assistance of his sweetheart Cathy, Axel's daughter, Kyle determines that the ore on his property lies near the surface and is especially rich. To finance replacement of equipment destroyed in the fire, Kyle goes to Duluth to offer the Powells a partnership in his mine, but is sent away without an interview. He stubbornly waits, until he encounters Christine at the hotel where she is attending a party. Unaware that she is the company's real power, he explains his offer, while she pretends barely to understand. She then invites him into the party, where he makes a good impression on Mr. Chapman, but drops his guard by intimating to her that he possesses $20,000 to pay the lease. Later, in Kyle's darkened hotel room, Steve robs Kyle, but loses his gun in the skirmish. The next day, Kyle learns from a gunsmith that the unusual German gun belongs to Steve, and although he can believe Steve's involvement in the fires, gunfight and robbery, Kyle is reluctant to think that Christine is also involved, as Cathy suggests. When Christine snubs him, having achieved her objective, he is determined to get his money back, and follows when she rides out to warn Steve. However, the observant Christine lets him catch up, and in an angry exchange of words, she insists she is the kind of woman he has always wanted. He retaliates by forcing a kiss, saying she asked for it. After leaving her, Kyle pushes a boulder onto the cabin hideout of Steve's gang as they wait to ambush him, and then kills Steve in a shootout. Searching Steve's body for his stolen wallet, Kyle finds a wanted poster for the train robbery and making the connection, collects the $25,000 reward. With the money, he starts his mining company and Chapman contracts with him instead of the Powells. After Kyle develops an idea to use a steam-shovel for mining shallow ore deposits, his company flourishes, but Kyle, working long and hard, becomes vengeful. Seeing the Powells' empire declining, he leases property that blocks their wagon train right-of-way and destroys the ailing company. Neglected by Kyle, Cathy perceives that his need for revenge is fueled by insecurity over an infatuation with Christine. Meanwhile, Christine, in reduced circumstances, plans a revenge of her own with the loyal Mulholland, promising she will be with him when she succeeds. She woos Kyle by claiming newfound sincerity, and Kyle succumbs. During Kyle and Christine's European honeymoon, Mulholland replaces Axel, who quit, with Turner, who sees that production levels drop. Then, to distract the miners from their jobs, Mulholland sets up an alcoholic, O'Hara, with a saloon near Kyle's property. When Kyle returns, he fires Turner, doubles production to meet deadlines and bans the miners from the saloon. When the men, whose loyalty is really to Axel, grudgingly comply, O'Hara, at Christine's direction, repeatedly blocks the roads to town, causing shipment delays. Mulholland then offers Kyle a loan, using the Mesabi claim as collateral, to build railroad tracks from the mine to the Duluth docks, while Christine pretends to oppose over-expansion. Their psychological tactics work and Kyle builds the railroad. However, on the train's first run, three days before Kyle's note to Mulholland is due, O'Hara and his men dynamite a railroad trestle. Cathy sees them and recognizing O'Hara, tells Axel, who guesses that Mulholland and Christine are sabotaging Kyle. Meanwhile, Kyle makes brave plans to start over, but Christine triumphantly taunts him, admitting how she schemed for two years to take over his company. She says she is divorcing him to marry Mulholland, who will foreclose in forty-eight hours. Defeated, Kyle strikes her and returns to the mine, where Axel has convinced the men quickly to rebuild the trestle in time for Kyle to pay off Mulholland. Later, discussing the failed scheme with Mulholland, who she believes will always do as she bids, Christine says that she is returning to her husband. At a public assembly held in Kyle's honor, she begs her husband to return to her, confident that he will. Before Kyle can respond, Mulholland shoots her and as she dies she claims that she really loves Kyle. Finally free from Christine, Kyle reunites with Cathy and their future together looks bright.
J. Carrol Naish
Jay C. Flippen
Charles "bud" Post
Hal K. Dawson
Thomas S. Allen
R. Dale Butts
John Mccarthy Jr.
Norman Reilly Raine
Richard L. Van Enger
Charles Marquis Warren
Herbert J. Yates
TCM Remembers - John Agar
Popular b-movie actor John Agar died April 7th at the age of 81. Agar is probably best known as the actor that married Shirley Temple in 1945 but he also appeared alongside John Wayne in several films. Agar soon became a fixture in such films as Tarantula (1955) and The Mole People (1956) and was a cult favorite ever since, something he took in good spirits and seemed to enjoy. In 1972, for instance, the fan magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland mistakenly ran his obituary, a piece that Agar would later happily autograph.
Agar was born January 31, 1921 in Chicago. He had been a sergeant in the Army Air Corps working as a physical trainer when he was hired in 1945 to escort 16-year-old Shirley Temple to a Hollywood party. Agar apparently knew Temple earlier since his sister was a classmate of Temple's. Despite the objections of Temple's mother the two became a couple and were married shortly after. Temple's producer David Selznick asked Agar if he wanted to act but he reportedly replied that one actor in the family was enough. Nevertheless, Selznick paid for acting lessons and signed Agar to a contract.
Agar's first film was the John Ford-directed Fort Apache (1948) also starring Temple. Agar and Temple also both appeared in Adventure in Baltimore (1949) and had a daughter in 1948 but were divorced the following year. Agar married again in 1951 which lasted until his wife's death in 2000. Agar worked in a string of Westerns and war films such as Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), Breakthrough (1950) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). Later when pressed for money he began making the films that would establish his reputation beyond the gossip columns: Revenge of the Creature (1955), The Brain from Planet Arous (1957), Invisible Invaders (1959) and the mind-boggling Zontar, the Thing from Venus (1966). The roles became progressively smaller so Agar sold insurance and real estate on the side. When he appeared in the 1988 film Miracle Mile his dialogue supposedly included obscenities which Agar had always refused to use. He showed the director a way to do the scene without that language and that's how it was filmed.
By Lang Thompson
DUDLEY MOORE, 1935-2002
Award-winning actor, comedian and musician Dudley Moore died on March 27th at the age of 66. Moore first gained notice in his native England for ground-breaking stage and TV comedy before later building a Hollywood career. Like many of his peers, he had an amiable, open appeal that was balanced against a sharply satiric edge. Moore could play the confused innocent as well as the crafty schemer and tended to command attention wherever he appeared. Among his four marriages were two actresses: Tuesday Weld and Suzy Kendall.
Moore was born April 19, 1935 in London. As a child, he had a club foot later corrected by years of surgery that often left him recuperating in the hospital alongside critically wounded soldiers. Moore attended Oxford where he earned a degree in musical composition and met future collaborators Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett. The four formed the landmark comedy ensemble Beyond the Fringe. Though often merely labelled as a precursor to Monty Python's Flying Circus, Beyond the Fringe was instrumental in the marriage of the piercing, highly educated sense of humor cultivated by Oxbridge graduates to the modern mass media. In this case it was the revue stage and television where Beyond the Fringe first assaulted the astonished minds of Britons. Moore supplied the music and such songs as "The Sadder and Wiser Beaver," "Man Bites God" and "One Leg Too Few." (You can pick up a CD set with much of the stage show. Unfortunately for future historians the BBC commonly erased tapes at this period - why? - so many of the TV episodes are apparently gone forever.)
Moore's first feature film was the 1966 farce The Wrong Box (a Robert Louis Stevenson adaptation) but it was his collaboration with Peter Cook on Bedazzled (1967) that's endured. Unlike its tepid 2000 remake, the original Bedazzled is a wolverine-tough satire of mid-60s culture that hasn't aged a bit: viewers are still as likely to be appalled and entertained at the same time. Moore not only co-wrote the story with Cook but composed the score. Moore appeared in a few more films until starring in 10 (1979). Written and directed by Blake Edwards, this amiable comedy featured Moore (a last-minute replacement for George Segal) caught in a middle-aged crisis and proved popular with both audiences and critics. Moore's career took another turn when his role as a wealthy alcoholic who falls for the proverbial shop girl in Arthur (1981) snagged him an Oscar nomination as Best Actor and a Golden Globe win.
However Moore was never able to build on these successes. He starred in a passable remake of Preston Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours (1984), did another Blake Edwards romantic comedy of moderate interest called Micki + Maude (1984, also a Golden Globe winner for Moore), a misfired sequel to Arthur in 1988 and a few other little-seen films. The highlight of this period must certainly be the 1991 series Orchestra where Moore spars with the wonderfully crusty conductor Georg Solti and leads an orchestra of students in what's certainly some of the most delightful television ever made.
By Lang Thompson
TCM Remembers - John Agar
Working titles for the film were Minnesota, The Iron Master and Woman of the Wilderness. The film opens with the following written prologue: "1890 The forested desolation of northeastern Minnesota." According to April and July 1951 Hollywood Reporter news items, Republic shot much of the action in Minnesota's Mesabi Mountain region. A clip from Woman of the North Country was to be televised on Hollywood Feature Story, according to an August 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item.