In 1935, after forty years in a West Virginia prison, three released convicts wish to open a legitimate business using the twenty-five thousand dollars earned in jail, but a crooked prison guard in cahoots with the town banker plans to defraud them.
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An English woman and her daughter enlist the aid of a cowboy to try and get their hardy hornless bull to mate with the longhorns of Texas, but have to overcome greedy criminals and the natural elements.
When a trio of ex-convicts led by Mattie Appleyard is released from prison, they hope to open a general store using money Mattie has saved during his 40-year sentence. This attempt is met with great resistance from a corrupt prison official and the banker who issued Mattie the check.Written by
Greg Helton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Filmed in Moundsville, West Virginia, which was the hometown of Davis Grubb, author of the novel. See more »
In the closing scene and credits, the vehicles crossing the bridge over the railroad track are correct older vintage cars. However, on the second bridge in the distance, new cars can be seen crossing. See more »
Fools' Parade (also known as Dynamite Man from Glory Jail) is directed by Andrew McLaglen and stars James Stewart, George Kennedy, Kurt Russell, and Strother Martin. It's based on the novel of the same name by Davis Grubb with a screenplay by James Lee Barrett. Harry Stradling Jr. photographs on location in Marshall County, West Virginia and Henry Vars scores the music.
Three men released from prison, one with a cheque for $25,452.32 in his pocket. One crooked bank manager and one vindictive prison captain, both men determined not to let the prisoners cash in that cheque.
Something of an under seen picture due to no home format release as yet, Fools' Parade is a well acted story set around the depression era. It's got a mixture of violence, comedy, adventure and whimsy, while its themes of corruption, new beginnings and moral quandaries are neatly put together as a melodramatic whole. The characterisations are most interesting, not least the three criminals, who having served time for some terrible crimes, are actually the most stand up guys in a town that's full of desperation; where the residents are teetering on the brink of badness.
The cast speaks for itself as regards quality, and they deliver on the promise of their names. While an unrecognisable Anne Baxter also enters the fray late on with a heartfelt and dramatic performance. Special mention for Stradling's photography, which captures the hazy atmosphere of the troubled 30s especially well. A more than involving film that prospective new viewers should try and catch if they get the chance. 7/10
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