Errol Flynn plays Union Captain Kerry Bradford. He leads his men in an escape from a Confederate Prison run by Vance Irby (Randolph Scott). News of suspected financial resources in Nevada funding the the South leads Bradford and his pals Westward undercover to undermine the Confederacy's operation.
On the way, Bradford meets Julia (Miriam Hopkins) and they fall in love, but their courtship runs into trouble once they arrive in Virginia City. Julia happens to be both a saloon performer AND a close associate of Irby, who's also out west to coordinate the gold smuggling. Fans who expected to see Olivia de Havilland were no doubt disappointed by Miriam Hopkins' bland performance and miserable singing (one would at least have expected Warners to provide a competant voice for her numbers).
They also share the westward coach with Frank McHugh as an insurance salesman and Humphrey Bogart as a Mexican outlaw, the latter of whose attempted raid is foiled by Bradford and his buddies Moose and Marblehead (played by Flynn sidekick staples Alan Hale and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams respectively). Bogart wasn't the best idea for Senior Murrell, who resurfaces later to make trouble for both sides while exacting revenge.
If you're sharp, you can spot future stars Ward Bond and George Reeves - keep your eyes and ears open!
I happen to like this film more than DODGE CITY. In my opinion, DODGE' was a lot of fight and spectacle but nothing more than one big genre cliché. Although VIRGINIA CITY isn't a great film by any means, it's certainly watchable (with perhaps the exception of Miriam Hopkins) and certainly amusing. Direction by Curtiz and music by Max "GWTW" Steiner help the film along. Following this movie, the studio assigned Flynn to a role he couldn't miss with: as a privateer in THE SEA HAWK.
Virginia City is available from MGM/UA. If you've seen it on TNT in the United States over the past few years, then most likely you haven't seen the whole film; the edited version significantly affects the plot, as well as the movie's overall flow.
L to R: Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, Alan Hale, & Errol Flynn as
Marblehead, Moose & Bradford.
All original contents (writing, graphics) ęD.David
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