The Conquerors (1932 film)
|Directed by||William Wellman|
|Produced by||David O. Selznick|
|Written by||Robert Lord|
|Story by||Howard Estabrook|
|Music by||Max Steiner|
|Edited by||William Hamilton|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
The film begins in a prospering New York in 1873. Lowly bank clerk Roger Standish is fired from his job after he is caught courting Caroline Ogden, the daughter of the bank’s president. The failure of Ogden’s bank in the Panic of 1873 brings about her father’s collapse and death. Undismayed, Caroline offers to marry Roger and proposes that they travel west in search of new opportunities.
While traveling through Nebraska on a raft Roger is shot during the course of a robbery by a gang. Taken to the nearby town of Fort Allen, he is operated on successfully by the town's doctor, Dan L. Blake, who though a drunkard proves competent. As Roger recovers, Caroline is inspired by the town’s generosity to them to open a bank there. With the help of Blake and his wife, Standish Bank is an instant success, and Caroline soon gives birth to twins, a boy and a girl.
As Fort Allen prospers, the possibility of being bypassed by the railroad threatens its growth. Roger and Caroline succeed in convincing the railroad's president to include Fort Allen on the route, by the arrival of the first train is marred by the death of their son after an inebriated Doc Blake crashes the carriage in which they were riding at a crossing right in the train’s path. Though they mourn their loss, Roger and Caroline’s daughter grows into a beautiful young woman, who marries Warren Lennox, one of the employees in Standish's bank.
The prosperous times come to an end with the depression of the 1890s. Overextended because of poor judgement by Roger’s son-in-law, the Standish National Bank is forced to close because of a run on its deposits. Lennox commits suicide just as Roger’s grandchild, Roger Standish Lennox, is born. The young boy grows up in a world of technological marvels, and after America’s entry into World War I becomes a decorated fighter pilot. While watching him in a victory parade after the Armistice, however, Caroline dies.
The decade that follows is one of great growth. The Standish National Bank, having survived the hard times of the 1890s, is thriving once again under Lennox’s management. When the stock market crash of 1929 brings the good times to an end, however, Lennox approaches the now-elderly Standish to sign papers dissolving his multimillion-dollar trust fund so that Lennox can put the money into the bank. As Standish signs the papers, Lennox expresses his optimism that the country would recover and reach new heights, filling his grandfather with pride at both Lennox’s responsibility and his faith in America’s future.
According to RKO records, the film made a loss of $230,000.
- Richard Dix as Roger Standish/Roger Lennox
- Ann Harding as Caroline Ogden
- Edna May Oliver as Matilda Blake
- Guy Kibbee as Dan L. Blake
- Julie Haydon as Frances Standish Lennox
- Donald Cook as Warren Lennox
- Walter Walker as Thomas B. Ogden
- Wally Albright as Twins
- Marilyn Knowlden as Twins
- Harry Holman as Stubby
- Jason Robards, Sr. as Lane (as Jason Robards)
- E. H. Calvert as Doctor
Richard Dix plays the main character Roger Standish and late in the film plays the part of Standish's grown son.
- Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p57
- The Conquerors on IMDb
- The Conquerors at the TCM Movie Database
- The Conquerors, a Turner Classic Movies article