Western Classics I [When the Daltons Rode / The Virginian / Whispering Smith]
Directed by George Marshall, Stuart Gilmore, Leslie Fenton
This collection features three classic 1940s westerns. WHEN THE DALTONS RODE (1940) – From George Marshall, the acclaimed director of Destry Rides Again, The Ghost Breakers, Murder, He Says, The Blue Dahlia and Pillars of the Sky, comes this western classic based on the legend of the notorious Dalton Gang. Screen legend Randolph Scott (Western Union, 7 Men from Now) co-stars with Kay Francis (Trouble in Paradise), Brian Donlevy (Beau Geste), George Bancroft (Old Ironsides), Broderick Crawford (Night People) and Andy Devine (Canyon Passage). When young lawyer Tod Jackson (Scott) arrives in pioneer-era Kansas, he learns his rancher friends, Grat and Bob Dalton (Donlevy and Crawford), are in danger of losing their land in a crooked development deal. Jackson tries to help them, but a fake murder charge turns the Daltons into outlaws. Now, Jackson is trapped between duty to his friends and obligation to the law in this action-filled western adventure. THE VIRGINIAN (1946) – Based on the best-selling love story of the West, The Virginian stars screen legend Joel McCrea (Ride the High Country) as a local ranch hand who risks losing his best friend and the woman he loves when forced into a showdown with ruthless cattle thieves. When Molly Wood (Barbara Britton, Albuquerque), a well-educated Easterner, arrives in a small Wyoming town to be the new schoolteacher, the Virginian (McCrea) and his best friend, Steve (Sonny Tufts, The Crooked Way), immediately vie for her affection. Against the warnings of his friend, Steve falls in with the corrupt Trampas’ (Brian Donlevy, When the Daltons Rode) gang and is caught cattle rustling. The Virginian must choose between their friendship or upholding the severe laws of the West. Beautifully shot in glorious Technicolor by Harry Hallenberger (Louisiana Purchase), this action-packed western directed by veteran editor Stuart Gilmore (The Half-Breed) is classic storytelling at its best. WHISPERING SMITH (1948) – Screen legend Alan Ladd (Shane, The Badlanders) heads up a superior cast in this riveting, heart-pounding tale of crime and punishment. Luke “Whispering” Smith (Ladd) is a by-the-book, no-nonsense railroad detective who learns his friend, Murray Sinclair (Robert Preston, Abandoned), has been fired from his railroad job. Seeking vengeance, Sinclair begins helping outlaw Barney Rebstock (Donald Crisp, How Green Was My Valley) to loot the railroads. Now, Smith must find and bring his old friend to justice at any cost, in this suspenseful western filled with pistol-packing action. Whispering Smith was beautifully shot in Technicolor by Ray Rennahan (Blood and Sand, The Paleface) and wonderfully directed by Leslie Fenton (Streets of Laredo, The Redhead and the Cowboy).