Montana (1950 film)

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Montana
Montana - Poster.jpg
1950 Theatrical Poster
Directed by Ray Enright
Starring Errol Flynn
Alexis Smith
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • 1950 (1950)
Running time
76 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $2.1 million (US rentals)[1]
£131,969 (UK)[2]
1,899,891 admissions (France)[3]

Montana is a 1950 Western film starring Errol Flynn. It was only the second time Flynn played an Australian on screen, the first time being Desperate Journey (1942).[4]

Plot[edit]

Morgan Lane, a sheepman, rides to Montana territory in 1871. He pretends to be a traveling salesman as he inquires how opposed local cattle interests are to sheep.

Staunchly opposed are rancher Maria Singleton and her fiance, Rod Ackroyd, and violently opposed is Slim Reeves, who challenges Morgan to a gunfight as soon as he learns what his real motives are.

Invited to dinner by Maria and Rod. Morgan makes a bet he can ride any animal on the ranch. Rod rigs the bet by not only putting Morgan on a wild stallion but slicing his stirrup.

Rod is having a romance behind Maria's back with the sheriff's girlfriend. Morgan finally persuades Forsythe to permit sheep on his land, but Reeves kills him, and the sheriff gives Morgan a warning that Rod and Maria are planning to stampede cattle over his land and grazing sheep. Instead it is Rod who is trampled to death. Maria at first continues to fight against Morgan, but eventually comes over to his side.

Cast[edit]

  • Errol Flynn as Morgan Lane
  • Alexis Smith as Maria Singleton
  • Douglas Kennedy as Rod
  • Ian MacDonald as Reeves
  • Lester Matthews as Forsythe

Production[edit]

Gary Cooper and Ronald Reagan were originally announced to play the lead.[5] Vincent Sherman was originally announced as director.[6]

Errol Flynn had appeared in a number of popular Westerns for Warner Bros but disliked the genre. In 1949 he told Hedda Hopper:

Acting for me is sheer fun. There's only one thing I really don't want to do any more and that's Westerns. I guess I've trod every back trail and canyon pass in the entire west. I've never literally had to read the line, 'they went that a-way pard', but there is one cliche I've said so many times it comes back to me in all my nightmares. Every time there's a gap in the story, every time the writers don't know what to do next, they have me pull up ahead of my gang, assume a decidedly grim look, and say 'All right men, you know what to do now.' The fact is I've made so many of these things, scripts seem so much the same, that what it adds up to in my mind is that the studio says, 'Here's a horse. Get on.'[7]

However his last few films for Warner Bros had struggled to recoup their costs and he was cast in Montana.

The film reportedly started shooting with the script only half ready.[8] Filming took place in late 1948 after Flynn had just completed a three month boat trip on the Zaca.[9]

Little, if any, of the film was shot in Montana.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1950', Variety, January 3, 1951
  2. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p491
  3. ^ 1950 French box office figures at Box Office Story
  4. ^ Tony Thomas, Rudy Behlmer & Clifford McCarty, The Films of Errol Flynn, Citadel Press, 1969 p 166
  5. ^ Of Local Origin New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 31 July 1948: 9.
  6. ^ DRAMA AND FILM: ROLE TAILORED TO AVA; DRAMA CLAIMS CELESTE Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 15 July 1947: A3.
  7. ^ Flynn and Dandy: LOOKING AT HOLLYWOOD WITH HEDDA HOPPER Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 29 May 1949: C4.
  8. ^ HEDDA HOPPER: PIDGEON PROBABLE 'FORSYTE SAGA' STAR Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 22 Oct 1948: 22.
  9. ^ Letter From Hollywood By Frank Daugherty Special to The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file) [Boston, Mass] 03 Sep 1948: 5.

External links[edit]