SMITH AS AN IRON-WILLED RAILROAD DETECTIVE. WHEN HIS FRIEND MURRAY IS FIRED FROM THE RAILRAOD AND BEGINS HELPING REBSTOCK WRECK TRAINS, SMITH MUST GO AFTER HIM. HE ALSO SEEMS TO HAVE AN INTEREST IN MURRAY'S WIFE.
"Alan Ladd leads the cast of pistol-packing action - Smith"
J. Lovins | Missouri-USA | 09/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Paramount Pictures presents a film based on the novel by Frank H. Spearman, Screenplay by Frank Butler and Karl Kamb, under the direction of director Leslie Fenton in glorious technicolor ~ "Whispering Smith" (1949/89 mins), featuring an all-star cast starting with ~ Alan Ladd (star of "Shane", one of the best westerns ever) as Luke "Whispering" Smith, Robert Preston (star of "Music Man", Broadway and Hollywood Musical as Professor Harold Hill) as Murray Sinclair, Brenda Marshall as Marian Sinclair, Donald Crisp (co-star in "How Green Was My Valley" as Mr. Gwilym Morgan) as Barney Rebstock the hated rancher who wanted to own the whole territory, William Demarest (from "My Three Sons" television series) as Bill Dansing, Faye Holden (Andy Hardy's Mother, Mrs Emily Hardy) as Emmy Dansing, Frank Faylen (cabdriver in "It's A Wonderful Life, one of Jimmy Stewart's good buddies) as Whitey DuSang the blood-thirsty killer with cold and mean snake eyes, Eddy Waller (Allan "Rocky" Lane's sidekick, Nugget) as the railroad conductor ~ all intermingle with a story that twists and turns, keeping the audience spellbound with action and riveting drama.
Opening scene is in a baggage car traveling on a rainy night, Robert Preston (Sinclair) and a group of railroad employees are talking about events of the past involving railroad detective Schmitty (Whispering Smith) ~ when Smith gets on the trail of desperadoes there is not doubt their trails will meet up, and when they do watch out, soft talking Smith is right behind you telling you it's all over and reach for the sky ~ the plot thickens as Ladd and Preston were friends way back when, both loved the same girl Brenda Marshall, but Preston won out ~ now married Preston is looking for easy money and falls in with the wrong crowd ~ stealing from wrecked trains Preston is found out and fired, seeking vengeance he starts robbing and derailing trains, this brings Whispering Smith back into the picture ~ will Smith and Sinclair have a showdown...can Smith turn Sinclair around to see the error of his ways...or will guns blaze leaving one of them standing alone and empty. Well, I'm not going to give anything away...you'll just have to purchase this and ride the dusty trails or trains to see how this heart-pounding adventure ends...gotta love it!
Total Time: 89 mins ~ Universal Studios Home Video 25082 ~ (6/01/2004)"
Good railroad western has a top cast
J. Lovins | 06/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of Alan Ladd's first starring films is this good detective western as the title character who is a railroad investigator assigned to solve the mystery of a rash of train robberies. Luke "Whispering" Smith meets up with old friend Murray Sinclaire [Robert Preston], a railroad employee whose fine ranch and well-to-do lifestyle are not in accord with his workman's salary. Railroad executive George McCloud [John Eldredge] suspects Sinclaire of wrong-doing but can't prove anything until Sinclaire is caught red-handed looting a wrecked train, and is terminated from the railroad on the spot. Sinclaire is now free to rob and plunder trains as part of a gang led by mastermind Barney Rebstock [Donald Crisp]. With Smith closing in on Sinclaire, the two erstwhile friends square off in a showdown at Sinclaire's ranch in the last reel. There is a romantic triangle of sorts involving Smith, Sinclaire and his wife, Marian. Brenda Marshall has a touching, feminine role as Sinclaire's unhappy wife who was Smith's sweetheart at one time and still carries a torch for him. Ray Rennehan's camera and Adolph Deutsch's music top off a first-rate production."
A Solid, Action-Packed Western With Alan Ladd
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 06/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a railroad thief in the old West and one night you hear a soft voice behind you, it's already too late to draw. Whispering Smith has found you. He's smarter than you, tougher than you, and faster than you.
Luke "Whispering" Smith (Alan Ladd) is a soft-spoken railroad detective. His best friend, Murray Sinclair (Robert Preston) also works for the railroad. Sinclair is a rough-and-ready crew chief who loves the old ways, and that means taking a cut from the goods in train wrecks. He's married to Marian Sinclair (Brenda Marshall), owns a ranch bigger than he should be able to afford, and finally sounds off once too often to railroad management. It doesn't help things when Murray realizes that Smith has long loved Marian. Lurking around is Barney Rebstock (Donald Crisp), a wealthy thief and rustler who now and then arranges for train wrecks. Rebstock's right hand man is a white-haired, squinty-eyed killer named Whitey Du Sang (Frank Faylen).
And it all comes together when Murray, fired by the railroad, outraged over his treatment, resentful of Smith, jealous of his wife, throws in his lot with Rebstock. The number of train wrecks increases, Du Sang kills a railway guard...and Whispering Smith is brought in to end things one way or another. Now the former best friends have to go up against each other.
This is a pretty good western, maybe not A caliber but a strong B-plus. Preston is his usual dynamic, energetic self, yet once again (as in This Gun for Hire) he's overshadowed by Ladd. Alan Ladd, in my view, was an unlikely major star. He had pretty looks and a small stature, and he wasn't a dominating actor. But he also had a great voice, a kind of passive style that hinted at violence, an agreeable screen personality...and something I can't describe that connected seamlessly with a camera. In this movie, as in all his others, he plays the same person, but it works. Whispering Smith is Alan Ladd's movie.
It was good to see Donald Crisp in a bad guy's role. He usually is the kindly granddad or the tough-minded but well meaning father. As Barney Rebstock, he's an avuncular snake. It's always nice to see William Demarest. And Frank Faylen as the cold-blooded killer Du Sang gives a performance that is just inches from being over the top.
All in all, this is an enjoyable action Western with some psychological tensions. It might not be for everyone's collection, but it would be good to have you like older movies, professionally crafted Westerns and Ladd. There's nothing much by way of extras, but the DVD transfer looks good."
Alan Ladd's WHISPERING SMITH at last!
B. Cathey | Wendell, NC United States | 03/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although I write this "review" weeks in advance of the release on DVD of "Whispering Smith," there is, I think, the need to acknowledge this significant release before the event. Certainly after his magnificent "Shane" Alan Ladd's "Whispering Smith" deserves greater familiarity and exposure. It's a superb western, with some excellent acting, good production values, and well worth viewing. I am unaware that it ever showed up on VHS; but now that Universal intends to release it on DVD, moviegoers and western fans can enjoy it in their homes. Thanks, again, to Universal for this release."
The Best Alan Ladd Western After Shane
Terence Allen | Atlanta, GA USA | 01/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"By far his next great Western after Shane, Alan Ladd starred in this exciting film about Whispering Smith, a hard-bitten railroad detective know for his grit and tenacity. When his longtime friend Murray is justifiably fired for stealing merchandise from train wrecks, Smith doesn't hesistate to go after his friend when Murray becomes involved with the gang responsbile for the train wrecks. Top-notch performances by Ladd and Robert Preston, who played Murray, plus an excellent script and stellar direction from Leslie Fenton, make this film a classic."