Saturday, March 26, 2011

John Brown's Body is Moldering in the Grave...

Watched Santa Fe Trail (d. Michael Curtiz, 1940) last night and was very disappointed. It's one of those Errol Flynn/Olivia de Havilland swashbucklers, but here Flynn is JEB Stuart, doing his best to restore order to "Bleeding" Kansas and defeat John Brown.

Now, there's certainly a lot to discuss about how the picture gets history wrong (we're talking National Treasure 2 levels of inaccuracy) but what's most disappointing is that the movie just isn't very good. It's Flynn/de Havilland, but they keep getting pushed aside by the need to plug more historical b.s. in. They Died With Their Boots On is incredibly inaccurate, but it manages to give us plenty of romance and derring-do for Flynn. Instead, Flynn barely does anything in the finale of Santa Fe Trail.

Overall, the film is as mediocre as Ronald Reagan's performance as George Armstrong Custer. The movie is at its' most interesting when it totally rewrites history, because then it allows the mind to occupy itself with thoughts of what it changed and why did they change it?

This might make an interesting acid test, though, because anyone defending it as a great movie, from whatever side of the political spectrum, clearly has no love for cinema, only propaganda.
They Died With Their Boots OnThe Adventures of Robin Hood [Blu-ray]

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