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While "Fighting Caravans" is not as expansive as "The Big Trail", and while the young Gary Cooper is no young John Wayne, this early western is pretty entertaining.
In the story, Cooper helps the wagon train fend off Indians and evil traders, while his two crusty companions try and save him from falling in love.
There's plenty of action, and there's even a hint of pre-code Hollywood, as Cooper's character practically attempts to blackmail his new sweetheart into fooling around with him.
Laserlight/Delta found a pretty fair print, but there are several missing frames. The image will occasionally "black out", but while annoying, does not interfere with viewing. Originally 92 minutes, this print seems to be more or less intact, missing perhaps two or three minutes.
The story moves along well, and the opening credits alone are pretty snazzy for 1931.
The film has much to recommend it, and while "The Big Trail" is superior, this early Cooper vehicle is worth adding to your western DVD collection. Especially for the low price the disc is being offered at, you should definitely pick this one up.
Film fans should look (or listen!), for Eugene Pallette, of "The Adventures of Robin Hood" fame. He's here in a minor supporting role some seven years before he played Friar Tuck.
Cooper here is clearly establishing the laconic, woman-shy persona he would bring to the screen in many films to come, while Damita (who, like Cooper, had begun in silents, mostly German and French ones, and ten years hence would become the mother of Errol Flynn's son Sean) plays off him well as a brave spitfire in love.Read more ›
I have the latest 2 disc copy of The Big Trail so I am not unaware of that movie, but I see little resemblance between these two films, though the directors could not have been unaware of either Zane Grey's book or each other's movies.
For me the scenes of this movie are not tied together well and the resultant condition seems somewhat ragged, with Cooper being off screen almost as much as he is on. Leaving his two scout mentors soaking up a lot of time on screen. And though the movie has its action moments, much of the time very little is really happening. One standout in the movie is Lili Damita, her role and her acting cannot be understated. Cooper is young without his later varnish, but much of what he will later become does show through. While Lili Damita is very accomplished and holds her own with all the actors.
I must attest also that I have several movies from the early and mid-1930s, 24 Hopalong Cassidy movies especially, and any of those are much better in their clarity and storyline. I also treasure the early John Wayne movies (20) that are in many places really not much above 'silent movies' with only music playing as the horses clamber over the plains.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
its good to see actors acting. this is how they began. its a good story and well played out.Published 4 months ago by Willard G. Johnson
Very similar to John Wayne's first starting roll, The Big Trail. Early pioneersPublished 4 months ago by Michael L. Rubens
This was a fairly good movie, but became boring after awhile, so I did not finis it.Published 5 months ago by liquorish
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