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Davy Crockett -Two Movie Set
Davy Crockett -Two Movie Set
Actors: Fess Parker, Buddy Ebsen, Basil Ruysdael, Hans Conried, William Bakewell
Director: Norman Foster
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Classics, Comedy, Drama, Kids & Family
PG     2004     2hr 54min

Fess Parker captured the hearts of millions with his strong, confident portrayal of the legendary king of the wild frontier. Climb aboard for two rip-roaring adventures with Davy Crockett (Fess Parker) and his trusty compa...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Fess Parker, Buddy Ebsen, Basil Ruysdael, Hans Conried, William Bakewell
Director: Norman Foster
Creators: Bert Glennon, Charles P. Boyle, Norman Foster, Chester W. Schaeffer, Bill Walsh, Walt Disney, Thomas W. Blackburn
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Classics, Comedy, Drama, Kids & Family
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Classics, Comedy, Drama, Comedy, Family Films
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/07/2004
Original Release Date: 05/25/1955
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 2hr 54min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 25
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

"Give 'em What Fer, Davy."
William R. Hancock | Travelers Rest, S.C. United States | 12/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Story books tell they wuz all cut low,
Truth of it is, it jest ain't so.
Their spirits'll live
an' their legends grow
as long as we remember
the Al-a-mo!

Davy, Davy Crockett,
fightin' fer lib-er-ty!

This compilation brings together the two feature films edited from the two Crockett series runs from the mid-1950s, the original 3-part mini-series ("Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter","Davy Crockett Goes to Congress", and "Davy Crockett At the Alamo") and the 2-part second series ("Davy Crockett's Keelboat Race" and "Davy Crockett & the River Pirates"). It is a great transfer of all the materials and something to kick back and utterly enjoy, both as nostalgia and as good cinematic storytelling.

While some of the historicity here is arguable ( there was, for instance, no Creek war chief named "Red Stick"...the "Red Sticks" were a warrior clan WITHIN the Creek nation...and led by a WHITE man) , the depiction of Crockett's character and personality as interpreted by Fess Parker, seem just about dead-on . And the verve and spirit of the thing, enlivened by Tom Blackburn's jaunty balladry, is just a feast for the soul. And what more is there to say about the performances of Buddy Ebsen as George Russell and Jeff York as the irrepressable Mike Fink except "Bravo" (and let's not overlook Kenneth Tobey, who played
Jim Bowie in the "Alamo" episode, only to turn around just a year later to appear as Mike Fink's "Gullywhumper" first mate, "Jocko").

An earlier reviewer "Richard Ceourdelion" (I hope Robin Hood got him safely returned to his throne) complained about not liking these compilations as much as the "real t.v. show". Like another reviewer, I would ask "Why don't you have both?". The complete t.v. series...with hosted commentary by Leonard Maltin and with all the Walt Disney introductions, commercials, credits, etc., intact, has been out for several years now as part of the "Disney Treasures" Collection (comes packaged in an aluminum 'tin' that replicates a film cannister). I have one and watch it often. This is the only place you can hear the COMPLETE "Ballad of Davy Crockett", as well as see all the wonderful line drawings that used to frame each episode. And you will also discover something you never before realized...that the episodes you saw as a child of the fifties on a black & white t.v. were juxtapositions of SOME scenes shot in technicolor and SOME scenes done in black and white. Strikes you odd now when you see it today...this switching back and forth...but it worked fine on b & w television "way back then".
Of course for the theatrical release compilations---what you see in the versions specifically under review HERE---all the black & white shots have been dropped and only the Technicolor footage retained.

The "movie" versions reviewed here are just fine for all of us who just want to see it through. You get the "meat" of the thing without all the extras. But if you want to see the entire
series AS IT WAS BROADCAST, track down the Disney Treasures edition.

Now, if only they will bring out "The Story of Robin Hood & His Merrie Men" (Richard Todd, Peter Finch), the SECOND best Robin Hood film after Errol Flynn's, THIS boomer will be a happy camper indeed (since "Darby O'Gill" IS out now, with "The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh" (Patrick McGoohan), reputedly in DVD preparation).

Happy days !"
Fess Parker as Walt Disney's version of Davy Crockett
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 08/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I missed out on the Davy Crockett craze, which means I did not have a coonskin cap and was not running around the neighborhood singing 'The Ballad of Davy Crockett" over and over again. By the time I was watching television Fess Parker was Daniel Boone and not Davy Crockett, so it took a bit of mental rearrangement to get my young mind around the idea that he was both when "The Wonderful World of Disney" rebroadcast the adventures of Davy Crockett. They made enough of an impression that my brother and I compelled our parents to buy us the Disney record that had audio versions of the three adventures. So it has been nigh on thirty-five years since I done seen these original adventure of Davy Crockett and I was a might surprised to learn they hold up pretty well.

"Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier" combines "Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter," "Davy Crockett Goes to Congress," and "Davy Crockett at the Alamo." Davy and his sidekick Georgie Russell (Buddy Ebsen) stop a Creek uprising and convince Chief Red Stick (Pat Hogan) to return to the ways of peace despite the help of Captain Norton (William Bakewell) and with the tactic approval of General Andy Jackson (Basil Ruysdael), spends some time speechifying in the United States Congress, and then joins the small band of volunteers led by Jim Bowie (Kenneth Tobey) defending the Alamo against the Mexican army of General Santa Ana. The middle part of the trilogy is the weakest of the adventures seeing as how Davy has to dress up in fancy duds to walk around the halls of Congress. The conclusion at the Alamo is the most memorable sequence, having a more serious tone and some impressive production values when you consider the entire battle is being shot on a soundstage (for years when I drew the Alamo it was the Disney version and not the real one that I was drawing).

Directed by Norman Foster and written by Thomas Blackburn, the biggest surprise in these episodes is Davy's attitude towards the Indians. Instead of just killing Red Stick in their tomahawk duel Davy persuades the chief to return to the land. He stops Bigfoot Mason (Mike Mazurki) from stealing the land of Charlie Two Shirts (Jeff Thompson), gives a speech in Congress defending the right of Indians to their tribal lands, and befriends the brave Busted Luck (Nick Cravat) on the way to the Alamo. The climatic battle has an appropriate gravity and does a tolerable job of sticking to history beyond reducing the role of Colonel Travis (Don Megowan). When Davy sings a final song on the last night of the battle there is an unexpected poignancy, which contrasts well with the simple determination to stay there until the end. The sight of Davy swinging old Betsy as a club while about to be overwhelmed by the Mexican troops is a memorable final image of our hero.

Ultimately the main strength of these stories are the performances of the two leads. Parker completely natural in the role and Ebsen shows an understated comic touch throughout. The friendship between Davy and Georgie becomes the one constant throughout the adventures. There are several fine supporting performances as well, particularly Ruysdael as Andy Jackson and Tobey as a fatalistic Jim Bowie. Veteran character actor Hans Conreid plays Thimbelrig, a gambler the boys pick up on their way to Texas. Granted, the nostalgic aspects of "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier" is going to be a strong part of the entertainment value here, but these are very good yarns for the Fifties.

"Davy Crockett and the River Pirates" includes both that fifth and final adventures of Davy Crockett (Fess Parker) and his friend Georgie Russell (Buddy Ebsen), and the previous tale "Davy Crockett's Keelboat Race." The common denominator between the two is not only the Mississippi River but also the self-styled King of the River, the braggart and brawler Mike Fink (Jeff York). Unlike the first three adventures of the legendary American collected together in the 1955 film "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier," these 1956 tales place a greater emphasis on comedy (although Mike Fink's character is a lot more realistic in the second adventure).

The first half has Mike Fink getting Georgia all liquored up and betting all the furs he and Davy collected during the winter on the outcome of a keelboat race. The race down the Mississippi to New Orleans becomes as much of a battle of wits as anything else as Mike and Davy pull one trick on each other (Mike's tend to be more underhanded). However, in the end the two become friends, and when Davy and Georgie encounter the River Pirates led by Sam Mason (Mort Mills), Mike lends a hand. The problem is that the pirates have been dressing up as Indians to attack boats on the river and this is causing tensions between the real Indians and the settlers. If there is one thing that defines Davy Crockett in these Disney adventures it is the fact that he is a friend to the Indians, which means our hero has to do something about this outrage. With Mike Fink pretending to be a tycoon, Davy sets a trap for the bad guys in the second half of the adventure.

While entertaining, "Davy Crockett and the River Boat Pirates" will probably appeal more to younger kids, while older folks will prefer the original three episodes, both on nostalgic grounds and artistic principles. After all, the first three were looking more at the historical Davy Crockett and this pair is more about the legendary figure. Parker does not seem as comfortable with the slapstick as he does with Davy's more serious side. When compared to "Davy Crockett at the Alamo" it is a bit hard to believe this is the same character. To underscore the point, compare the character of Jocko that Kenneth Tobey plays in these two Mississippi adventures with his fine performance as a realistic and fatalistic Jim Bowie at the Alamo; as well as anything those performances show the difference between the "historical" and "legendary" adventures of Disney's Davy Crockett.

King of the Wild Frontier
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 07/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Walt Disney made five television shows about Davy Crockett with Fess Parker in the title role and Buddy Ebsen as his sidekick George Russel. You can now own all five of these television shows in two versions. This version combines the five television shows into two movies. I personally prefer the Disney Treasures version, which presents all five as they were originally shown on television. The Disney Treasures version also includes additional material that may be interesting to a fan of the series.

The two movies in this set are diverse in style. The first movie is "Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier." This movie combines the television episodes "Davy Crockett - Indian Fighter," "Davy Crockett Goes to Congress," and "Davy Crockett at the Alamo." These movies have some basis in historical fact, though many of the things portrayed in this movie are wrong. For example, Davy left the rifle he called "Betsy" back in Tennessee when he went to Texas.

What is amazing about these television shows is the response of Americans. Suddenly children everywhere were sporting coonskin caps and carrying replicas of muzzle-loading rifles. It became unfashionable to be a Native American, and very fashionable to say "bar" instead of bear.

Though Davy did not survive the events at the Alamo, Davy's popularity was such that Walt Disney brought Davy back in two additional television adventures, "Davy Crockett and the Keelboat Race" and "Davy Crockett and the River Pirates." According to Walt Disney, this second set of adventures was based on stories created about Davy Crockett, who had become a legend in his own time. The stories were more humorous than the first three, and showed an even larger-than-life version of Davy Crockett than the first three adventures.

What is most remarkable about these movies is how well they hold up. The story of Davy Crockett is timeless. Davy's attributes are those that form the basis of how Americans see themselves. Self-reliance, honesty, keeping your word, and being plain-spoken remain characteristics that most Americans value.

A viewer does have to forgive several things that we now regard as politically incorrect, particularly in the first part of the first movie, where Davy seems to have little regard for Native Americans. However, in later episodes Davy clearly values his friendship with Native Americans and attempts to honor the commitments the U.S. government made to them.

I allowed my children to watch these movies when they were very young. Yes, there is some violence in these movies. However, Davy and George Russel used violence only when there appeared to be no other reasonable way out. Given that the era depicted in these movies was violent, I think the movies were directed and produced well.

These movies are a great way to introduce your children to an era when the American ethic for honesty, hard work, and trust were formulated. Davy Crockett was instrumental is being an example we can all follow, perhaps now more than ever. This movie is a must for every family film library. Enjoy!
Both Davy Crockett films on one shiny DVD!!!
Jason Pumphrey | Falls Church, Virginia United States | 08/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Disney does it again with another awesome reissue on DVD!!! Includes BOTH Davy Crockett movies (Davy Crockett King Of the Wild Frontier & Davy Crockett and the River Pirates) on one single-sided DVD!!! Also includes a cartoon short titled "The Lone Chipmunks". Great adventure classics perfect for the entire family!!! Two thumbs up!!! Five stars!!! A+"