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In Old California

28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

John Wayne plays Tom Craig, an ambitious pharmacist who moves into a brawling frontier town in the gold-rush days of California. He soon locks horns with the local crime lord, Britt Dawson (Albert Dekker), who has become wealthy from forced tributes levied on the townspeople. Irate and incensed, Tom trades his pestle for a pistol and leads the settlers in a revolt against the corrupt gunmen and their unfair taxes. The stellar cast includes Binnie Barnes, Helen Parrish, Patsy Kelly and Edgar Kennedy. Directed by William C. McGann (Illegal).

Product Details

  • Actors: John Wayne, Binnie Barnes, Albert Dekker, Patsy Kelly, Edgar Kennedy
  • Directors: William C. McGann
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: May 28, 2013
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00C3ALLLM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,368 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Mark Savary on June 15, 2001
Format: DVD
In one of The DUKE's more off-beat roles, he plays a Gold Rush era
druggist in this picture. Turns out John Wayne's father was a
druggist, which is why DUKE wanted to play the role.
Although he
does engage in some gunplay, for the most part, DUKE is not the center
of action in this one. Rather, he's more or less a gentle man of
science who tries to bring much needed medicines to Sacremento. In the
process of following his dream, and the attentions of saloon girl
Lacey Miller, he incurs the wrath of local bad guy and town boss Britt
Dawson and his brother.
Eventually, DUKE has to choose between two
girls, clear his name of selling poisoned medicines, have it out with
the Dawsons, and save a gold mining camp from typhoid fever. All in a
day's work for The DUKE!
Unfortunately, this 1942 effort is not
exactly a classic DUKE movie. Rather, it plays more like some of the
non-descript "B" westerns DUKE made between 1930's "The
Big Trail", and 1939's "Stagecoach".
Most of the
cast is forgettable, save DUKE and Patsy Kelly. Kelly played comedic
roles similar to those played by Mary Wickes, and she stands out better
than the bland villains in the film. Her comedic love interest is
okay, though somewhat William Frawley-ish.
As for the DVD, the
transfer is fair at best. The print is pretty well-worn, and even
identifies itself as being a re-release print in the opening
credits!
While DUKE's part is pretty interesting, unless you are a
DUKE or Kelly completist, you could probably pass this one up.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Lee Taylor VINE VOICE on March 13, 2007
Format: DVD
As I have said before, two movies for the price of one is always a good deal. These are two from Wayne's day at Republic Studios. While these do not rank with the Duke's best work they are action filled with good plots and some humor too. John Wayne plays a pharmacist in the selection "In Old California". This is a little different from the roles he normally played, but he wanted this because his father had been a pharmacist. Wayne saves the day as villians steal prospectors' gold and battles a disease outbreak as well. "Dakota" pairs him with Vera Ralston as his wife. Look for Walter Brennan and Ward Bond in this one also. It is the story of settlers fighting the bad guys over the passage of railraod tracks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jan Peczkis on January 5, 2014
Format: DVD
This early John Wayne movie shows him as a young man. He dispenses medicine, and performs the role of a doctor. He can fix maladies such as toothaches as well as more serious diseases. He is caught up in a lawless town during the Gold Rush in San Francisco. Two women love him. There are the usual fisticuffs, shootouts, and alcoholism. In time, he has to contend with a group of criminals who want to seize his medicines. He is in for a life-challenging adventure. And so on...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 8, 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I liked the movie. I replaced my old DVD with this Blu-ray disc thinking that they would have remastered it. But, the print that was used for this transfer was very obviously very well worn. This movie deserved better than this.
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Format: DVD
"In Old California" is a 1942 western starring John Wayne with Binnie Barnes and Albert Dekker, featuring Helen Parrish, Patsy Kelly and Edgar Kennedy

John Wayne (1907-79) was a bankable box office draw at the time. He made more than 100 films by 1942, although most of them had been forgettable B westerns. Then in 1939 he made "Stagecoach" with John Ford, and his career took an upturn. Stagecoach earned 5 Oscars including Best Picture. Wayne followed up with "Dark Command" (1940) directed by Raoul Walsh, and "Old California" was just about the last of the B films he would be handed. Wayne went on to make a series of war movies (e.g., "Flying Tigers" in 1942, "The Fighting Seabees" in 1944, "Back to Bataan" and "They Were Expendable" in 1945) and his classic westerns including "3 Godfathers" (1948), "Fort Apache" (1948), "Red River" (1948), "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (1949, "Rio Bravo" (1959), and "The Alamo" (1960) . Wayne was nominated for Best Actor for "Sands of Iwo Jima" (1949) and he would finally earn an Oscar for "True Grit" (1969).

FWIW - Wayne was excited about his role as a Pharmacist in this film since this was his father's profession, and he had passed away just a few years earlier. Yet his performance is less than expected, probably due to all the marital problems he was having at the time - his separation had just been announced.

Binnie Barnes (1903-98) plays a dance hall girl with a golden heart, who is romanced by evil Albert Decker but in love with Wayne.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas on February 9, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
These two highly underrated Wayne films are spectacular. His early work is mostly forgotten and it shouldn't be that way. Excellent films and I recommend them to anyone and everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By HRH Victoria IIR on March 10, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The quality of the CD was good. The movies played well & the 2 stories put across their point very cleaverly.
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