Monday, October 18, 2010

Virginia City (1940).

Virginia City(1940). Cast: Errol Flynn, Miriam Hopkins and Randolph Scott, and featuring a mustachioed Humphrey Bogart in the role of the real-life outlaw John Murrell (Which is worth seeing the movie alone). The film was directed by Michael Curtiz, who also directed such film classics as The Adventures of Robin Hood and Casablanca.

Union officer Kerry Bradford, escapes from a Confederate prison after learning that the rebels plan to smuggle five million dollars in gold from Virginia City, Nevada, to Texas, to help the Confederates.

Bradford reports to Union headquarters and is sent to Virginia City, to find out where the gold is being kept. On the stagecoach, he meets and falls in love with Julia Hayne, who is a dance-hall girl and spy. Also on the stagecoach is a gun salesman, John Murrell, leader of a gang of bandidos. Bradford out smarts him and his gang and they leave with out the gold. Murrell also escapes by jumping into a river.

After the stage reaches Virginia City, Julia goes looking for Irby to warn him, who has been sent to manage the gold-smuggling operation. Bradford follows Irby to the hideout, behind a false wall in a blacksmiths' shop, but only finds that the gold has been moved .

Irby meets with the town doctor when Murrell shows up,needing him to set his broken arm. Irby offers Murrell $10,000 to attack the garrison. While the soldiers' backs are returning gunfire, Irby's men smuggle the gold out. Irby has Julia arrange a meeting between the two men so he can take Bradford prisoner.

The rebels' wagon train reaches a Union outpost, where they start a gunfight, and in the confusion Bradford escapes. Irby and his men, are hot on his heels when he rides his horse down a steep hill and ends up somersaulting down the hill. The rebels, leave him for dead. The train is traveling toward Texas, while Bradford sends a telegraph to the garrison. The major in charge of the garrison does not take his warning serious, so the chase falls ever further behind .

Murrell and his bandidos return, circling the wagons in a canyon, the rebels and their gold can not be found, when Bradford and his men arrive. Irby is wounded in the fight, but Bradford's and the rebels drive off the bandits. That night, knowing that in the morning both Murrell and the Union garrison will arrive, Bradford takes the gold from the wagons and hides it in the canyon.

The major and his men arrive just in time to ward off the bandits' attack, Bradford denies the gold ever existed. He is brought up in a court-martial, where he defends his actions by explaining that while, as a soldier, he knows the gold might be used to end the war. The court finds him guilty of high treason and sentences him to death .

On the day before Bradford's execution, Julia meets with the President and pleads for his life. Lincoln reveals that at that very moment, Generals Lee and Grant are meeting at the Courthouse to end the war. Will Lincoln pardon Bradford in time?

VIRGINIA CITY, is avery enjoyable western and is available in a Flynn western box set which also features: "San Antonio", "Montana" and the wonderful "Rocky Mountain".