6.5/10
63
3 user 4 critic

Trail of the Vigilantes (1940)

Approved | | Comedy, Western | 13 December 1940 (USA)
A reporter goes undercover to break up an outlaw gang.

Director:

Allan Dwan

Writer:

Harold Shumate (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Franchot Tone ... Kansas (Tim Mason)
Warren William ... Mark Dawson / George Trent
Broderick Crawford ... Swanee
Andy Devine ... Meadows
Mischa Auer ... Bolo
Porter Hall ... Sheriff Korley
Peggy Moran ... Barbara Thornton
Samuel S. Hinds ... George Preston
Charles Trowbridge ... John Thornton
Paul Fix ... Lefty
Harry Cording ... Phil
Max Wagner ... Joe
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Storyline

A reporter goes undercover to break up an outlaw gang.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 December 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Agrypnoi frouroi See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In March 1941, Universal Pictures was distributing this film in some locations on a double bill with The Invisible Woman. See more »

Connections

Edited into Gunman's Code (1946) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Actors Having a Good Time
21 June 2013 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

One of the mysteries of Allan Dwan's career as a director is that his lead actors frequently seemed to be having a good time. That pleasure of performance is fairly rare in the movies, even though it adds considerably to the pleasure of the audience. Georges Melies seemed to enjoy his movies; more recently, Annette Bening in THE American PRESIDENT is clearly enjoying herself as Sidney Wade. Yet in the fifty years of Dwan's career, again and again, performers clearly enjoy themselves: William Crane in David HARUM; Gloria Swanson in ZAZA; Bill Robinson in ONE MILE FROM HEAVEN; Dennis O'Keefe in BREWSTER'S MILLIONS; and, of course, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. in their frequent collaborations.

Outside of Dwan projects, only the Barrymores and occasionally Fredric March showed that spark. Apparently it is an artifact of stage performances. Possibly it is the unworried understanding that if this performance is not successful, there can be another take. Judging by conversations with cast and crew, everyone had great confidence in Dwan's abilities and they could relax and let that enjoyment come through.

Franchot Tone is clearly enjoying himself here. He does things he never did elsewhere. He tries a couple of stunts. He is outright silly. As a result, he makes this very silly western a lot of fun. Broderick Crawford and Andy Devine as his sidekicks are enjoying themselves, too.

Back to Dwan: he had begun as a director of Westerns thirty years before, but hadn't made one for at least twenty years at this point and he pulls out all the stops. Universal was trying for a follow-up to the previous year's DESTRY RIDES AGAIN and although this one is not as amazing a result as that, Dwan plays with all the B-western conventions of the era with a clearly A budget. I expect you'll enjoy it.


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