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Virginia City
Virginia City
Director: Michael Curtiz
Genres: Westerns
NR     2hr 1min

It's 1864. The Confederacy's last hope is an infusion of gold to buy war materials. The gold is available -- if someone can smuggle it from a town far west of all the fighting: Nevada's Virginia City. — In his second Wester...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Director: Michael Curtiz
Creators: Errol Flynn, Miriam Hopkins, Humphrey Bogart, Randolph Scott, Frank McHugh, Alan Hale, John Litel, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, Doublass Dumbrille
Genres: Westerns
Sub-Genres: Westerns
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Black and White
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1940
Run Time: 2hr 1min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Subtitles: English, French

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Movie Reviews

A lively western, with an energetic Errol Flynn and the misc
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 03/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Could any two less likely major stars be chosen to carry a Hollywood oater? There's Errol Flynn, an Australian with an accent of sorts who made his name waving a sword at sea and shooting arrows in forests. There's Miriam Hopkins, one of the most sophisticated and slyest actresses Hollywood has ever seen, but whose career as a major star in major movies had declined since the late Thirties. Yet together with Randolph Scott and director Michael Curtiz, they turn Virginia City into a rouser, part full-blown action western and part patriotic soap opera. With the movie slightly more than two hours long, Curtiz crams in more set-ups than probably he should have, but even all those separate piece-parts look good.

Kerry Bradford (Flynn) is a Union officer imprisoned in Libby Prison just outside of Richmond. Vance Irby (Randolph Scott) is a Confederate officer assigned to run the prison while he recuperates from war wounds. The war is not going well for the Confederates. Bradford and two pals break out just as Confederate spy Julia Hayne (Miriam Hopkins), based in Virginia City, Nevada, arrives for a meeting with old friend Irby. Confederate mine owners in Virginia City have accumulated enough gold for a major shipment to Richmond...$5 million in bullion that could change the war. With Jefferson Davis' approval, Irby is ordered to go to Virginia City and organize a wagon train to try to get the gold down to Texas and the Gulf coast, then by ship back to Richmond. But Union spies know the gold is being readied. Bradford, back in uniform, convinces his superiors to send him to Virginia City, locate the gold and stop the shipment. And who should be on the stagecoach taking Kerry and his two pals to Virginia City? Yes, Julia Hayne. And not just her. There's a man with a hairline mustache, a twitchy way, a false smile and a strangely uncertain Mexican accent. It's Humphrey Bogart, disguised as the renegade John Murrell, the leader of Murrell's Marauders, a group of hard-riding robbers and killers.

The stage is set for action...hair-breadth escapes, run-away stage coaches, tense stand-offs, rousing songs at the Sazerac Saloon (where Julia is the headliner as a singer and dancer), a desperate wagon train running out of water and attacked in the desert by Humphrey Bogart, bullet extractions, beautiful desert scenery, a court martial and a cavalry charge to the rescue, not in that order. We even get a dignified Jefferson Davis, a jocular General George Meade and a merciful and wise Abraham Lincoln, who recites parts of his second inaugural address to a teary-eyed Julia.

Errol Flynn does a bang-up job, but Miriam Hopkins and Humphrey Bogart are game but miscast. Hopkins is as unlikely an earnest Southern spy as she is a saloon singer, yet she's still highly watchable as both. She was born and raised in Georgia, but the softness of a high-bred Southern belle with something approximating a New England tease makes for an accent that's uniquely hers. Her lower choppers are charmingly irregular and she can handle a high kick with ease. Hopkins was so mischievous and sly an actress that it must have been hard to find the right movies for her. That she took Hollywood less than seriously probably didn't help. For her best work, you'll need to watch Trouble in Paradise and The Smiling Lieutenant in the Eclipse Series 8 release of Lubitsch Musicals. At 47 she was memorable as Aunt Livinia in
The Heiress.

As for Bogart, after this movie he probably counted his blessings that in the following year he broke through with High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon. If Bogart hadn't scored these two, it's just likely he would have been stuck for the rest of his life competing for character parts with J. Carroll Naish.

Thank goodness we have Randolph Scott to provide the movie's steadfastness and old-fashioned honor. He may be playing a reb, he may be up against Errol Flynn as a hero and a suitor, but Scott knows how to hold his own in these kinds of pictures. On balance, Virginia City is easy to watch, thanks to Scott and Flynn. Miriam Hopkins makes for a unique kind of heroine and even Humphrey Bogart's secondary villain is interesting in a ludicrous sort of way."
"Virginia City (1940) ... Flynn/Hopkins/Scott/Bogart ... War
J. Lovins | Missouri-USA | 09/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Warner Bros. presents "VIRGINIA CITY" (23 March 1940) (121 mins/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn was an Australian film actor, most famous for his romantic swashbuckler roles in Hollywood films and his flamboyant lifestyle --- Flynn became an overnight sensation with his first starring role in Captain Blood (1935). He became typecast as a swashbuckler and made a host of such films, including The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), The Dawn Patrol (1938) with his close friend David Niven, Dodge City (1939), The Sea Hawk (1940), and Adventures of Don Juan (1948).

Flynn played opposite Olivia de Havilland in eight films, including Captain Blood, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), The Adventures of Robin Hood, Dodge City, Santa Fe Trail (1940), and They Died with Their Boots On (1941). While Flynn acknowledged his attraction to her, film historian Rudy Behlmer's assertions that they were romantically involved during the filming of Robin Hood (see the Special Edition of Robin Hood on DVD, 2003), have been disputed by de Havilland. Their relationship was, she said in an interview for Turner Classic Movies, platonic, mostly because Flynn was already married to Lili Damita. The Adventures of Robin Hood was Flynn's first in Technicolor.

By the 1950s, Flynn had become a parody of himself. Heavy alcohol and drug abuse left him prematurely aged and bloated, but he won acclaim as a drunken ne'er-do-well in The Sun Also Rises (1957), and as his idol John Barrymore in Too Much Too Soon (1958). His autobiography, My Wicked, Wicked Ways, was published just months after his death and contains humorous anecdotes about Hollywood (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Under the production staff of:
Michael Curtiz - Director
Hal B. Wallis - Producer / Executive Producer
Robert Buckner - Screenwriter / Screen Story
Howard Koch - Screenwriter
Norman Reilly Raine - Screenwriter
Sol Polito - Cinematographer
Max Steiner - Composer (Music Score)
George J. Amy - Editor
Ted Smith - Art Director
Robert M. Fellows - Associate Producer
Perc Westmore - Makeup
Byron Haskin - Special Effects
H.F. Koenekamp - Special Effects
Sherry Shourds - First Assistant Director

Our story line and plot, Union officer Kerry Bradford (Errol Flynn), Olaf Swenson (Alan Hale) and 'Marblehead' (Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams) escapes from Confederate Prison and is set to Virginia City in Nevada --- Once there he finds that the former commander of his prison Vance Irby (Randolph Scott) is planning to send $5 million in gold to save the Confederacy --- John Murrell (Humphrey Bogart) sporting a mustache, was a half-breed outlaw hired by Scott to divert Flynn --- but Bogey finds the temptation of having the money for himself irresistible --- The performance of Bogart, despite his determination to be animated, he is doing his best but is somewhat wooden --- We find Bogey is out of place in westerns set in the old west --- Bogey could fit into the modern west of his period, and gave first rate performances in "THE PETRIFIED FOREST" (1936), "HIGH SIERRA" (1941) , and (best of all) is "THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRES" (1948) --- Virginia City is a good film even though it is true Bogey was terribly miscast --- Randy Scott is wonderful as the Rebel officer and somewhat carries the film and Flynn gives a poignant performance as the union officer, particularly when they had scenes of them in the Rebel POW camp --- Mirima Hopkin's version of "Battle Cry Of Freedom." is one of the best with sincere and touching moments --- there's good support cast members from Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, Alan Hale, Sr., John Litel, and Moroni Olsen, all veterans of the Western genre --- Plus the stirring music score by Max Steiner, add sweeping vistas of the West, and the struggles of the Confederate sympathizers in their efforts to succeed in their task, and you have a film that could have been great, but falls short --- however it is still a good film worth the price of a ticket.

the cast includes:
Errol Flynn ... Kerry Bradford
Miriam Hopkins ... Julia Hayne
Randolph Scott ... Vance Irby
Humphrey Bogart ... John Murrell
Frank McHugh ... Mr. Upjohn
Alan Hale ... Olaf Swenson
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... 'Marblehead'
John Litel ... Marshall
Douglass Dumbrille ... Major Drewery (as Douglas Dumbrille)
Moroni Olsen ... Cameron
Russell Hicks ... Armistead
Dickie Jones ... Cobby
Frank Wilcox ... Union Soldier
Russell Simpson ... Gaylord
Victor Kilian ... Abraham Lincoln
Charles Middleton ... Jefferson Davis
Hank Bell ... Saloon patron
Ward Bond ... Confederate sergeant checking passengers
Lane Chandler ... Irby's orderly at Libby
Paul Fix ... Murrell's henchman
William Hopper ... Lieutenant reporting Murrell's attack
Reed Howes ... Union sergeant
Walter Miller ... Sergeant in saloon reporting Irby's whereabouts
Frank Mills ... Prisoner at Libby Prison
Monte Montague ... Wells Fargo stage driver
Bud Osborne ... Ted
Eddie Parker ... Lieutenant
George Reeves ... Maj. Drewery's telegrapher

BIOS:
1. Errol Flynn
Date of Birth: 20 June 1909 - Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Date of Death: 14 October 1959 - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

2. Miriam Hopkins
Date of Birth: 18 October 1902 - Savannah, Georgia
Date of Death: 9 October 1972 - New York, New York

3. Randolph Scott
Date of Birth: 23 January 1898 - Orange County, Virginia
Date of Death: 2 March 1987 - Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California

4. Humphrey Bogart
Date of Birth: 25 December 1899 - New York, New York
Date of Death: 14 January 1957 - Los Angeles, California

Hats off and thanks to Les Adams (collector/guideslines for character identification), Chuck Anderson (Webmaster: The Old Corral/B-Westerns.Com), Boyd Magers (Western Clippings), Bobby J. Copeland (author of "Trail Talk"), Rhonda Lemons (Empire Publishing Inc) and Bob Nareau (author of "The Real Bob Steele") as they have rekindled my interest once again for B-Westerns and Serials --- If you're into the memories of B-Westerns with high drama, this is the one you've been anxiously waiting for --- please stand up and take a bow Western Classics --- all my heroes have been cowboys!

Total Time: 121 min on VHS/DVD ~ Warner Home Video ~ (8/26/2008)"