Dark Command

1940

Drama / Romance / Western

2
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 1990

Synopsis


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August 04, 2018 at 11:39 PM

Director

Cast

John Wayne as Bob Seton
Claire Trevor as Mary McCloud
Marjorie Main as Mrs. Cantrell / Mrs. Adams
Glenn Strange as Tough Yankee #1
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
760.99 MB
988*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 34 min
P/S 5 / 13
1.46 GB
1472*1072
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 34 min
P/S 9 / 16

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ejgreen77 8 / 10

"We've got a saying down in Texas, ma'am. . ."

John Wayne's first "A" film at Republic is a good story carried by a strong cast. One year after Stagecoach, he still takes second billing after Claire Trevor in their third of four pairings together. They worked extremely well together, and remained close friends for the rest of their lives. Walter Pigeon is given the part of the heavy, Roy Rogers gives the finest acting performance of his entire career, and veteran character actors Gabby Hayes and Marjorie Main round out the cast. Veteran director Raoul Walsh keeps the story moving and gives emotional depth to the characters that was unusual for Republic films at the time.

Set in pre-Civil War Kansas, when both Northerners and Southerners were scrambling to settle Kansas and decide its political position on slavery, the story revolves around an uneducated Texas cowboy, Bob Seton (Wayne), who finds himself in conflict with local schoolteacher Will Cantrell (Pidgeon) over both the job of Marshall in Lawrence, Kansas, and the hand of the local Southern banker's daughter, Miss Mary McCloud (Trevor). When Seton appears to have won not only the job, but also Mary's heart, Cantrell decides that the way to power lies through lawlessness, and forms a band of freebooters who ravage both Northern and Southern settlements, causing destruction and terror in Kansas.

While the film is not totally historically accurate, it does do a good job of portraying the viciousness and ruthlessness of pre-Civil War Kansas. It is told from the Northern point of view, and is a nice contrast to Errol Flynn's Santa Fe Trail, which came out the same year (1940) and portrays similar events in "bleeding Kansas" from a Southern point of view.

Part-Western, part-Civil War movie, Dark Command is one of Wayne's best early starring roles. Fans of his, or of the genre's will not be disappointed.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10

Cleaning Up Kansas

After John Wayne became an A picture star with the release of Stagecoach a year earlier, Republic didn't know quite what to do with him. In fact they put him back in some Three Mesquiteer films for a while. I'm sure it took a little negotiating on his part, but Republic finally decided to give him an A film under its own banner. Which set a pattern for his career over the next decade. The Duke would do at least one prestige film a year for Republic, but Herbert J. Yates would make just as much money loaning him out to the big studios also.

This is not the story of William Quantrill. In fact like Inherit the Wind where the real life Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan are given pseudonyms, Quantrill here is named Cantrell. He's played quite well by a loan out from MGM, Walter Pigeon.

Pigeon in essaying Cantrell has captured the character of a man desperate to succeed and not particularly caring about what he has to do. His character is conveyed in the scenes he has with Marjorie Main as his mother. When she and Pigeon talk about the family of outlaws they left in Ohio, his background is vividly portrayed. Their words and the way they deliver them give us what Piddgeon's real nature is.

In fact Pigeon was heading towards the height of his career. Next year in How Green Was My Valley and the year after in Mrs. Miniver he was in back to back Best Picture Oscar winners. Not too shabby for that man.

John Wayne gets his third film with Claire Trevor which almost qualifies them as big a screen team as the Duke with Maureen O'Hara. She was in his breakthrough film Stagecoach and Alleghany Uprising with Wayne. Later on she was also in the cast of The High and the Mighty as one of the passengers on that nearly ill fated flight.

The Duke sits real tall in the saddle in his role as Bob Seton, the man who had a host of sayings from Texas. He's got an appropriate acolyte here as well in Roy Rogers who made one of his few departures from his own B western films at Republic. Rogers is Claire Trevor's younger brother in Dark Command with Scottish banker Porter Hall as their father.

Pigeon's ruthlessness is never more graphically demonstrated than when he both defends Rogers in court after Rogers murders a northern man in Lawrence, Kansas with Pigeon as his defense attorney by day. But as a night rider he and his gang intimidate the prospective jurors with the inevitable results.

Look for some good performances by both Gabby Hayes and Raymond Walburn in roles that were tailor made for the talents of each.

The film is directed by Raoul Walsh who gave John Wayne a first chance at stardom in The Big Trail back in 1929. That film flopped for many reasons, but John Wayne eventually made it to the top. Not too many folks in Hollywood get a second chance, but Wayne sure made the most of is. For reasons though that I can't explain, he and Walsh never worked together again. Odd because Wayne was definitely the kind of action star Walsh worked with best.

Although John Wayne is the hero and he's his usual Duke, the film really turns on Pigeon's performance as Cantrell. It's the most complex part in the film and it's a bit of offbeat casting for him. Still I recommend it to John Wayne fans wherever they be.

Reviewed by BrianG 7 / 10

John Wayne+Raoul Walsh+Republic=Great western

Few people did westerns better than John Wayne, few directors did them better than Raoul Walsh, and NO studio did them better than Republic--and when you put the three of them together, the results are pretty near unbeatable.

This film, based on the raid on Lawrence, Kansas, during the Civil War by the Confederate guerilla Quantrill, bears little relation to the actual event--but if you want a history lesson, turn on the Discovery Channel. Instead, just sit back and marvel at the rousing action sequences that Republic was renowned for, enjoy the sea of great old cowboy actors (Gabby Hayes, Harry Woods, Wally Wales, Trevor Bardette, Glenn Strange, etc.), check out the performance of a young Roy Rogers (he's actually very good), and enjoy the talents of masters like Wayne and Walsh at their prime--and remember that this is the kind of movie people are talking about when they say, "They don't make 'em like they used to."

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