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When the Daltons Rode 1940
Description: Young lawyer Tod Jackson arrives in pioneer Kansas to visit his prosperous rancher mates the Daltons, just as the latter are in danger of losing their land to a crooked development company. When Tod tries to support them, a faked murder charge turns the Daltons into outlaws, but more victims than villains in this fictionalized version. Will Tod stay loyal to his mates despite falling in love with Bob Dalton's former fiancée Julie?
Released: N/A Director: George Marshall Writers: Harold Shumate (original screen play), Emmett Dalton (based on: "When the Daltons Rode"), Jack Jungmeyer (based on: "When the Daltons Rode") Actors: Randolph Scott, Kay Francis, Brian Donlevy, George Bancroft Genres: Western
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Released 4/30/1943

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When the Daltons Rode Reviews:

It is just shoddy handling that has made this splendid entertainment drop out of sight. It could have gone on accumulating admirers down the years.Director George Marshall missed out on attention too, though this film, DESTRY RIDES AGAIN and his succession of Glenn Ford movies have a consistent, light handling that shows he was one of the greatest folks in this field. Let's throw in the fact that Broderick Crawford has his largest pre ALL THE KING'S MEN role. He gets as much screen time as top billed users Scott and Francis and acts them off the screen. He's terrific, in a straight role, as the chief Dalton Brother.The movie has the standard ingredients - shoot ups, chases, western timber city atmosphere, over-laid with the usual plot elements about the wrongly persecuted family. What isn't expected is the expert pacing, emphasis and the humor - the lynch mob bursting into the jail to search the entire gang waiting for them, guns drawn, is classic. The movie also has one of the greatest filmings of the Yak Canutt routine of falling under the runaway coach horses. A class act.


Most movies about outlaws made in the fifties and before had in common a certain sadness, because you knew from the beginning that the outlaw character was doomed. You would suffer with him, knowing there was no hope, that he would die at the end. This movie has a various approach, the character here is Randolph Scott and he is not one of the Daltons, just a mate of them, he is even a rival of Bob Dalton (Broderick Crawford) in relation to Julie Lord (Kay Francis). So the entire fun of the movie is on the nice action scenes where the Daltons do one wonderful thing after another. They just don't stop, they go from a bank robbery to a train robbery where the law is waiting for them inside the train. Mary Gordon as Ma Dalton is remarkable. The fact that you can follow the Daltons without getting emotionally involved, makes this an unusual, enjoyable western, more cheerful than most of its kind.


Other fresh DVD release from the vaults of Universal that's about as action-packed as JESSE JAMES (1939), which also came out around the same time. This too, carries the same western myth that Hollywood has about certain outlaws. If society had only treated them fairly, then they wouldn't have become outlaws in the first place.The Daltons have been railroaded off of their farm and turned into outlaws by greedy land speculators who manipulate the law to suit their own ends. So starts the chase out of the courthouse, through the woods and onto a moving train in order to create nice their escape. It even has some nice Yakima Canutt stunt work involving a stagecoach robbery. Randolph Scott and his love interest Kay Francis really are on the sidelines as those who are siding with the Daltons in spirit, even though they aren't out robbing bank and trains with them. They're really are only helping users here even though they headline in the credits. The true star is Broderick Crawford who despite his Fresh York Bronx accent, really shines here as the lead Dalton, even scene-stealing away from Brian Donlevy who takes a back seat. This film is Crawford's show, no question about it. Director George Marshall has done better with oaters like DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1939) and Texas (1941), but this movie is no slouch, either. There's not a lot of deep plot characterizations but if you wish 40s action that moves along cute nicely, then you can't go wrong here.6½ out of 10



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