WIZ Retro Review and giveaway: The Charge at Feather River


Warning: As usual, this Retro Review may contain spoilers.

Don’t be fooled: Despite its somewhat predictable cavalry v. Indians plot and the flaming arrows shot directly at the audience to showcase the movie industry’s earliest 3-D special effects, The Charge at Feather River is about relationships €”between misfit soldiers and their leaders, between rivals for a woman, between a young white woman and a Cheyenne chief and the people who come to her unwanted rescue.   At the admirable heart of this surprisingly complex story lies the bond that forms between a frontiersman and another captive woman, although as movie romances go, this one is understated and unique. Continue reading “WIZ Retro Review and giveaway: The Charge at Feather River”

Happy Birthday to us: WIZ turns 2!

Today WIZ celebrates its birth of two years ago (thanks again, Wm Morris) and its continued good health and growth.   Profound thanks are due its readers and contributors–as Sam says to Captain Faramir, you’ve shown your quality. I think Wilderness Interface Zone’s dream of building the ground story of a meeting place for Mormon and non-Mormon readers and writers of nature literature is being realized and showing boundless prospects for the future.   Debts of gratitude are due to be paid its supporters.

As part of its modest celebratory events, WIZ will post two Retro Reviews of vintage movies and offer copies of those movies in DVD form as gifts to interested audience members and WIZ contributors who comment on the review posts.   Each movie fits the Love of Nature, Nature of Love Month and has nature as a key element of its story, either as setting or plot vehicle.

How to get a free movie: Read the Retro Review I post today and/or the one I’ll post Monday, February 28. All readers need do is post a comment at the Retro Review and that will win each unique commenter one free copy of the movie under review.   I’m hoping that each Retro Review post garners 10 comments by unique commenters, but if they go over that, I think we’ll be able to meet demand.   If the unanticipated happens and commenters go way over the expected number, I may impose a cut off limit just to keep my sanity intact.

Thanks so much, loyal readers, for following WIZ’s content and posting comments, and deepest thanks to our contributors, who have heartily and with a great show of talent stepped up to provide for WIZ’s success.   I’m looking forward to this next year, which I anticipate to be exciting and filled with good prospects.

Profoundest thanks, friends.   This round’s two Retro Reviews will feature the films The Charge at Feather River starring Guy Madison and Helen Westcott and South of Pago Pago starring Francis Farmer and John Hall.   Today’s Retro Review is The Charge at Feather River.

WIZ Retro Review: The Jungle Princess starring Dorothy Lamour

The Jungle Princess

Graceful and alluring Dorothy Lamour stars as Ulah, The Jungle Princess, in this chimerical but endearing, black-and-white 1936 Paramount production that launched her career.   Ray Milland co-stars as Christopher Powell, a hunter who comes to the Malaysian jungle to capture wild animals but himself falls captive to Ulah’s native beauty, her stunning singing voice, and her child-like candor. The Jungle Princess taps deeply into the fantasy of the orphaned, nature-nurtured child, who by virtue of being human ascends to the throne of wild domains.   The roughly contemporary Tarzan franchise starring Olympic medalist Johnny Weissmuller (12 films between 1918 and 1948) and the1942 version of The Jungle Book starring Sabu also capitalized on that tradition.   And let’s not forget Johnny Shepherd as Bomba, The Jungle Boy.

When I was a kid, I loved this stuff.   Being a semi-nature child myself who kept company with wild animals in the woods and weeds of Virginia, movies of this sort, no matter how silly, made perfect sense.     Oscar-nominated The Jungle Book is far and away a better movie than The Jungle Princess, but like the fierce-browed and free-spirited Sabu, Dorothy Lamour casts a screen presence that makes watching her pretty darned enjoyable. Co-star Ray Milland €”eh, not so much.   Continue reading “WIZ Retro Review: The Jungle Princess starring Dorothy Lamour”

WIZ Retro Review: The Wild North

Jules Vincent (marvelously played by Steward Granger) is a happy-go-lucky French trapper making his living off some of the most dangerous country in Canada. He comes to town one day to replenish his supplies.   While there, he rescues a kitten from a bad-tempered collie and an unhappy part-Chippewa woman (Cyd Charisse) from the saloon where she works after gallantly protecting her from a drunken jerk named Brody.     The next morning, Jules sets out for his wilderness home with both the kitten and Indian woman as passengers in his canoe.   Claiming to be a good hand with a paddle, Brody convinces Jules to take him, too.   But Brody’s presence gives rise to danger that threatens everyone in the canoe, and when Jules, the Indian woman, and the kitten arrive at the settlement where the Indian woman is to rejoin her tribe, Brody is mysteriously absent.   Knowing the law will come after him, Jules flees to the wilderness rather than chance a trial where his fate will be determined by city dwellers (“ribbon clerks,” he calls them) who can’t possibly grasp the perils of life in the wilderness. Continue reading “WIZ Retro Review: The Wild North”