The Spoilers (1955 film)
|Directed by||Jesse Hibbs|
|Written by||Rex Beach (novel /play)
|Edited by||Paul Weatherwax|
|Running time||84 min.|
|Box office||$1.4 million (US)|
The Spoilers is a 1955 film directed by Jesse Hibbs, adapted to screen by Oscar Brodney and Charles Hoffman from the novel and play by Rex Beach. The movie is set in Nome, Alaska during the 1898 Gold Rush, with Anne Baxter as Cherry Malotte, Rory Calhoun as Alexander McNamara, and Jeff Chandler as Roy Glennister. The film culminates in a spectacular saloon fistfight between Glennister and McNamara.
Film versions also appeared in 1914, 1923 (with Noah Beery, Sr. as McNamara), 1930 (with Gary Cooper as Glennister and Betty Compson as Malotte), and 1942 (with John Wayne as Glennister, Betty Compson lookalike Marlene Dietrich as Malotte, and Randolph Scott as McNamara). The 1930 and 1942 versions were the only instances of Gary Cooper and John Wayne playing the same role in the same story in two different films; Jeff Chandler portrays the part in this version.
Struggling miners Flapjack and Banty go to the office of Alex McNamara, the new gold commissioner in Nome, Alaska, to complain about claim jumpers. He isn't there, so they drown their sorrows at Cherry Malotte's gambling house and saloon.
Cherry looks ready to steal the men's claim herself in Alex's office when he suddenly appears. He assures her Judge Stillman is on his way to Nome to review all legal matters regarding the mines.
When a ship arrives bringing her sweetheart Roy Glennister back to town, Cherry runs out eagerly to meet it, to the jealousy of Blackie, her croupier. To her anger, Roy is traveling with an attractive stranger, Helen Chester. An irate Cherry leaves in a huff with Roy's co-owner of a nearby mine, Dextry.
Roy insists he still loves Cherry, but she slaps his face. Alex and the newly arrived Judge Stillman set out to survey and inspect Roy's mine, insisting it will take weeks before any claims can be settled. Roy is shocked to observe that Alex, the Judge and Helen are all conspirators to steal the miners' claims.
Blackie shoots the town marshal and makes sure Roy is blamed and arrested for it. A jailbreak is arranged, but Cherry rushes to warn Roy of what she has learned from Helen, that as soon as he escapes, Alex is planning to ambush Roy and make it look like a lawful shooting.
A shootout between Alex and the miners ensues. Blackie dies, but not before confessing to the sheriff's murder, while Roy and Alex end up in a knockdown, drag-out fistfight. Cherry and Roy ultimately end up happily in love and in legal possession of the mine.
- 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957