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Dark Command [Blu-ray]

91 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the star and director of The Big Trail. In this pre-civil war saga - a Confederate renegade William Cantrell (Walter Pidgeon) clashes with the new Kansas City marshal, Bob Seton (John Wayne). Their mutual ill towards each other peaks when Cantrell steals Seton's girl, Marie McCloud (Claire Trevor), manipulating her into marriage to get even with Seton. Marie starts to question her decision when Seton exposes Cantrell and his guerrillas as war profiteers who've been raiding both Union and Confederate lines. The star-studded cast includes Roy Rogers as Marie's younger brother and George "Gabby" Hayes as Seton's best friend. Beautifully directed by legendary director Raoul Walsh (Pursued). Academy Awardsr nominee for Best Art Direction (John Victor Mackay) and Best Original Score (Victor Young).


Product Details

  • Actors: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Walter Pidgeon, Roy Rogers, George Gabby Hayes
  • Directors: Raoul Walsh
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: May 28, 2013
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00C3ALLNK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,429 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hellerstedt on September 6, 2005
Format: DVD
DARK COMMAND is a good, old-fashioned western. The movie takes places in Kansas on the eve of the Civil War. Not just anywhere in Kansas, either - the movie's set in bloody Lawrence, the hotbed of guerilla activity during that war. Perhaps no guerilla leader was more notorious than Kansas's William Quantrill, the school teacher turned raider who fought against the Union until his death in 1865.

Although DARK COMMAND is a work of fiction, it doesn't try hard to hide its sources. DARK COMMAND is adapted from a novel by the talented and prolific W.R. Burnett, whose Hollywood credits include either the based-on novel and/or screenplay for such action classics as Little Caesar, the original Scarface, The Asphalt Jungle, High Sierra, and dozens of others. John Wayne plays a roustabout Texan named Bob Seton who's traveling through with dentist/barber/sidekick Andrew `Doc' Grunch (George `Gabby' Hayes.) While in Lawrence Seton meets and immediately falls for pretty Miss Mary McCloud (Claire Trevor), local belle and daughter of the president of the town's bank, a Virginian (where you were from counted a lot in Kansas prior to the Civil War.) Seton's competitor for the affections of pretty Miss McCloud, and a bit later for the office of town marshal, is schoolteacher William Cantrell (Walter Pidgeon.) That the real life Quantrill was also a Lawrence, Kansas schoolteacher is, well, probably something more than a coincidence.

Of course, Cantrell loses both the election and the heart, if not the hand, of Miss McCloud to Seton. As filtered through the Hollywood lense that's more than enough justification to embark on a campaign of pillage and murder, which Pidgeon's Cantrell proceeds to do with a certain amount of righteous dignity.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Lee Taylor VINE VOICE on March 4, 2007
Format: DVD
This movie solidified Wayne's place as a western star after Stagecoach. It is a rollicking fun western that has plenty of action. A really amazing cast was assembled for this film starting with Claire Trevor (of Stagecoach) and Walter Pidgeon. Gabby Hayes and Roy Rogers round out the stars of this movie. This is just a joy to watch. The pace never falters and it delivers plenty of fights. Find out if the illiterate cowboy from Texas can overcome the learned teacher who becomes the leader of a vast outlaw band during the Civil War. Will John Wayne get the girl? Forget that I asked. Get this movie.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MJ on January 2, 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Nothing special here. Just a nice, crisp copy of the film. I loved seeing Roy Rogers in the juvinal role (at what.....30 years old?!?). It's a good, solid Republic show and the transfer is nice. What more could you want? Decent price, too. You'll be happy with it.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This Civil War era movie was very interesting as it tried to follow a generalized campaign of the very infamous Captain Quantrell, the Confederate leader of raiding party's into the North. This was not one of John Wayne's best pictures but it ranks up there as being rare and informative. A must see for true John Wayne fans.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John on February 9, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I wouldn't boar y'all with talking about the four movies, other reviewers have done that in a wonderful way. I just purchased this collection and I love how they fine tuned it, the enhancements are great. I have loved " Dark Command " since I was a boy and now I have a great copy. Well worth the price.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin J Burgraff VINE VOICE on November 3, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Dark Command" is a rip-roaring, entertaining 1940 John Wayne western with plenty of excitement, romance, and comedy, and it offers one of his most engaging pre-WWII performances, as illiterate but straight-shooting Texan 'Bob Seton', wooing Claire Trevor while defending Lawrence, Kansas as the Civil War erupts.

The film is significant in Wayne's career, as it acknowledged his emergence as a major star by the studio (Republic Pictures) who had produced the bulk of his 'quickie' westerns over the previous decade (in their previous incarnation, 'Lone Star' films). With the success of John Ford's "Stagecoach", Wayne's value to the young studio increased dramatically, as a commodity that could be 'loaned out' to major studios for a tidy profit, but without 'quality' Wayne films of their own, his 'bankability' wouldn't last, so Republic mounted a major production, with a top director (Warner's Raoul Walsh, who had helmed the Duke's ill-fated 'starring' debut, "The Big Trail", nearly a decade earlier), a first-class cast (including Trevor, in her third pairing with Wayne in less than two years, and MGM star Walter Pidgeon), and a terrific screenplay (based on a story by respected author W.R. Burnett). Wisely including their most popular character actor, Gabby Hayes, for comic relief, and rising star Roy Rogers (who, surprisingly, doesn't sing!) in support, the end result would not only build upon Wayne's rising status as a major star, but would give the studio credibility within the industry as more than a 'B' picture factory.

While the history covered in "Dark Command" is largely fabricated (with infamous mercenary William Quantrill reinvented as a more urbane, if equally dangerous 'William Cantrell', portrayed by Pidgeon), Walsh never lets the 'facts' interfere with the action, and the end result certainly delivers!

Definitely a 'keeper'!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Acute Observer on August 12, 2014
Format: DVD
Dark Command, 1940 film

“Some portions are based on facts, but this is a work of fiction.” Kansas was being settled by Northerners and Southerners in an effort to control its politics. It starts in a dentist’s office where some who offered a political opinion seek treatment. [Lawrence Kansas was settled mostly by people from Lawrence Massachusetts.] Mr. Will Cantrell runs a school to teach children. That woman rides side-saddle. We see her home life. Fletcher is anxious to tote a gun, his father disapproves. Mary is given advice by her father. Lawlessness and killing occur every week, they need to elect a Town Marshal. [People had more power in those days. Also, cowboys from Texas did not exist until after the Civil War.] Angus McCloud owns the local bank. Bob Seton wants to learn how to read and write.

The candidates speak to the voters. Bob Seton knows how to catch crooks. The voters make their choice - for experience. Seton talks to Mary McCloud. Cantrell plans to operate outside the law. The Marshal searches for gun runners. There is a political argument in a barber shop, one man is shot. There are raids and conflicts. Cantrell and his group raid other towns. A crowd gathers to drive Mrs. Cantrell out of town. Seton resigns as Marshal and plans to leave Kansas. He escorts Mrs. Cantrell to her husband. Cantrell’s camp has a celebration. He gives jewels to Mary. There is a surprise visitor! Seton meets Fletcher McCloud in jail, there is a change in plans. Seton overhears plans for a raid on Lawrence! Can he warn them in time and escape capture? They are pursued by shooting soldiers.

The citizens are warned and arm themselves. The Doctor will operate on Fletcher. There is a barricade in the street. The attackers are shot off their horses.
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Dark Command [Blu-ray]
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