Now With More Than 3000 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 2500 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to MAKSQUIBS@yahoo.com . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

TRADER HORN (1931)

Movie mavens will know the distinctive stance John Wayne holds for a melancholy moment at the end of John Ford’s THE SEARCHERS/’56; in a doorframe, left hand crossed over to hold the right arm (see below).  It was the signature pose of Harry Carey, regular star of Ford’s early silent Western serials and of this early Talkie, a rare big-budget pic for the fading star. Set in what used to be called Darkest Africa, Carey actually doesn’t strike his signature pose here. Instead, we get the basic plot of THE SEARCHERS! Carey’s in the John Wayne spot, heading into uncharted native territory as the Great White Ivory Trader; Duncan Renaldo is his handsome young partner (Mexican instead of Jeffrey Hunter’s half-Native American); and Edwina Booth is the abducted white child they’re searching for. Stolen by an African tribe, she’s been raised in their customs and now that she’s grown, worshiped as some sort of White Goddess. We even get a noble African gun-bearer (Mutia Omoolu, superb in his only film appearance) to match up with THE SEARCHERS' wise fool Mose Harper (Hank Worden). No wonder Ford cast Harry Carey’s wife & son in his Western 25 years on. So, is the old antique adventure any good? Not so easy to answer. With filming begun in Africa, then completed in the States & Mexico (where M-G-M could do as they pleased staging deadly wild animal hunts and such), it’s a mixed bag. Some laughable undercranking and stagy acting hurt the cause, and too much African location footage has doubles in for the leads. But there’s also some astounding animal footage from the ‘30s, along with shocking trophy hunting. One lion ‘gets it’ bullfight style with a wooden spear. Real horror; real thrills. But the editors & director W. S. ‘Woody’ Van Dyke do pull things together, especially for a third act escape where wildlife and cannibals have to be fought off without weapons. In moments like that, the film builds up a sort of daredevil-may-care flair, and an antique charm worth seeing . . . once.


No comments: