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Friday, September 23, 2016

The Spoilers (1955)

In 1898 Alaska, claim jumpers are are attempting to legally rob miners of their rightful claims by filing claims with the newly appointed gold commissioner (Rory Calhoun). The town's glamorous saloon owner (Anne Baxter) takes in an interest in him because she has money invested in some mines and one gold miner (Jeff Chandler) in particular. Based on the 1906 novel by Rex Beach and directed by Jesse Hibbs (TO HELL AND BACK), this is the fifth film version of Beach's book. The most famous one is the 1942 version with Marlene Dietrich, John Wayne and Randolph Scott. I've never cared much for that version probably because of my antipathy toward Dietrich in general. I rather enjoyed this lively Technicolor concoction with Baxter at her most appealing especially in Bill Thomas's eye catching costumes. I'm usually bored with barroom brawls in westerns but the fight in this one which ends the film isn't as silly as most. Chandler remains a dominating screen presence and Calhoun is less bland than usual. No doubt western fans still prefer the 1942 but give this one a chance with an open mind. Nothing special but an entertaining genre piece. With John McIntire, Ray Danton, Barbara Britton, Wallace Ford and Carl Benton Reid.   

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