Tuesday, 14 May 2013

MAY 14, 2013

100 THE PLAINSMAN (1936) Directed by Cecil B.DeMille ***

If you are looking for historical accuracy this is not the film for you. In telling his fictional story of Wild Bill Hickok tracking down renegades selling guns to the redskins Cecil B. Demille manages to weave many real elements and people from Hickok's life - his famous watch, the gunfight with 7th Cavalry troopers in Hays City, Buffalo Bill, Yellow Hand, Custer and, of course, Calamity Jane - but, oddly, completely ignores his career as a lawman on much of his real-life reputation rests. DeMille never really seemed to "get" the Western genre and this film lacks the picturesque historical tableaus which make even the more stolid of his films memorable. DeMille was never a great director but he was a genius entertainer and what THE PLAINSMAN may lack as art it more than makes up for in other areas - particularly the fine cast led by Gary Cooper (a fine Hickock without moustache) and Jean Arthur as Calamity. Look out for Anthony Quinn and Gabby Hayes in small roles. Best line in the film "Come Mr.Lincoln we'll be late for the theatre!"

The Plainsman

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