The Big Trees
|The Big Trees|
|Directed by||Felix E. Feist|
|Produced by||Louis F. Edelman|
|Screenplay by||John Twist and James R. Webb|
|Story by||Kenneth Earl|
|Music by||Heinz Roemheld|
|Edited by||Clarence Kolster|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
The Big Trees is a 1952 Western film starring Kirk Douglas and directed by Felix E. Feist. It was Kirk Douglas's final film for Warner Brothers, a film he did for free in exchange for the studio agreeing to release him from his long-term contract.
The film has fallen into the public domain. Douglas plays a greedy timber baron who seeks to exploit the Sequoia forest, while facing the protest of the Quaker colonists.
In 1900, lumberman Jim Fallon (Kirk Douglas) greedily eyes the big sequoia redwood trees in the virgin region of northern California. The land is already settled by, among others, a religious group led by Elder Bixby (Charles Meredith) who have a religious relationship with the redwoods and refuse to log them, using other smaller trees for lumber. Jim becomes infatuated with Bixby's daughter, Alicia (Eve Miller), though that does not change his plan to cheat the homesteaders. When Jim's right-hand man, Yukon Burns (Edgar Buchanan) finds out, he changes sides and leads the locals in resisting Jim. The locals combat Jim's loggers with a sympathetic judge with Jim fighting back by using Federal laws.
Elder Bixby is killed when a big sequoia tree is chopped down by Jim's men and falls on his cabin. Jim's desperate attempt to rescue Alicia's father saves him from being convicted of murder. Meanwhile, timber rival Cleve Gregg (Harry Cording) appears on the scene, making it a three-way fight. Gregg and his partner Frenchy LeCroix (John Archer) try to assassinate Jim, but end up killing Yukon instead. Jim has a dramatic change of heart and leads the settlers in defeating Gregg and Frenchy. Afterwards, Jim marries Alicia and settles down.
- Kirk Douglas as Jim Fallon
- Eve Miller as Alicia Chadwick
- Patrice Wymore as Daisy Fisher
- Edgar Buchanan as Yukon Burns
- John Archer as "Frenchy" LeCroix
- Alan Hale, Jr. as "Tiny"
- Roy Roberts as Judge Crenshaw
- Charles Meredith as Elder Bixby
- Harry Cording as Cleve Gregg
- Ellen Corby as Mrs. Blackburn
The film includes establishing shots featuring Wayne Morris that were taken from the 1938 film Valley of the Giants. The film was made with the cooperation of the Hammond and Carlotta Lumber companies.
The New York Times called it a "stormy and sometimes silly saga" based on a script "not terribly far removed from the Warners' Valley of the Giants"; its "plot and emoting seem to be as old as the giant redwoods with which they are concerned."
- "Original Print Information". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
- Smith, Richard Harland. "Articles". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
- The Big Trees is available for free download at the Internet Archive
- "A Saga of Lumber Operators". The New York Times. February 6, 1952. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
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