Virginia City

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VIRGINIA CITY—-following the success of Dodge City, Warner’s put Errol Flynn back in the saddle with pals Alan Hale and Guinn Williams to tangle with bad guys Randolph Scott and Humphrey Bogart. Let ‘er rip–well, sort of.

Apart from a couple of well-staged shootouts, this 1940 wheezer plods along rather woodenly, with some dopey scripting casting likelihood to the wind. Some laughs come from Bogart’s Mexican accent, and it does boast another Max Steiner score and some decent location work in Arizona’s Painted Desert—alas,lacking Technicolor.

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It’s too long at 121 minutes, miscast leading lady Miriam Hopkins strikes no sparks with Flynn under Michael Curtiz’ direction (the eighth time the Hungarian tyro wrangled the Tasmanian devil).  Rife with that curious bit of old-time Hollywood action ‘business’ whereby actors push their arms forward and snap wrists to punch their prop guns blanks at their targets, as if literally flinging lead. I call this ‘wingshooting’, and Guinn Williams tries to corner the market with it here.

With Frank McHugh, John Litel, Douglas Dumbrille, Dickie Jones, Russell Simpson, Paul Fix,Ward Bond, Trevor Bardette and George Reeves. The nifty stunt work showcases Yakima Canutt.  The advertising posters promised “primitive romance!!”  Off a cost of approximately $1,000,000, it made jackpot, coming in 16th for the year.

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