5.1/10
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21 user 7 critic

The Painted Desert (1931)

Passed | | Western | 7 March 1931 (USA)
Two men find an abandoned baby and fight over the ownership of the child resulting in lifelong rivalry.

Directors:

Howard Higgin, Tom Buckingham (uncredited)

Writers:

Tom Buckingham (story), Howard Higgin (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
William Boyd ... Bill Holbrook (as Bill Boyd)
Helen Twelvetrees ... Mary Ellen Cameron
William Farnum ... Cash Holbrook
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Jeff Cameron
Clark Gable ... Rance Brett
Charles Sellon ... Tonopah
Hugh Adams Hugh Adams ... Dynamite
Wade Boteler ... Bob Carson
Will Walling ... Kirby
Edmund Breese ... Judge Matthews
Edward Hearn ... Tex (as Guy Edward Hearn)
William Le Maire William Le Maire ... Denver (as William LeMaire)
Richard Cramer ... Provney
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Storyline

Western pardners Jeff and Cash find a baby boy in an otherwise deserted emigrants' camp, and clash over which is to be "father." They are still bitterly feuding years later when they own adjacent ranches. Bill, the foundling whom Cash has raised to young manhood, wants to end the feud and extends an olive branch toward Jeff, who now has a lovely daughter. But during a mining venture, the bitterness escalates. Is Bill to be set against his own adoptive father? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 March 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Feindschaft See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pathé Exchange See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (copyright length) | (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Clark Gable couldn't ride a horse when he made this film. See more »

Quotes

Rance Brett: Miss, I'm from Montana and I'm headin' New Mexico way.
Jeff Cameron: What was your name in Montana?
Rance Brett: Brett - same as here! And I'm headin' New Mexico way. At least I was
[glances at Mary Ellen]
Rance Brett: while I had a horse.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Film Breaks: Out of the West (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh! Susanna
(1848)
Written by Stephen Foster
In the score during the opening credits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
More Valuable Than Tungsten
31 July 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The Painted Desert is a less than average western in which Clark Gable made his first film with any billing. Previously he had been a bit player in several silent features, but this his first role of any substance. It's the only reason The Painted Desert has any significance in Hollywood history.

Made for Pathe Pictures just before they merged with RKO, The Painted Desert is the story of two old desert rats, William Farnum and J. Farrell MacDonald who find an infant alive in a covered wagon on the desert.

For reasons I don't understand, a disagreement about whether to lay claim to a waterhole or to push on further and find enough land for a cattle ranch turns these friends into blood enemies. Farnum takes the infant and raises him as his own.

The infant grows up to be William Boyd in his pre-Hopalong Cassidy days and he becomes a mining engineer and discovers tungsten ore on the MacDonald property. He also takes a shine to MacDonald's daughter Helen Twelvetrees. Also in the race for her hand is Clark Gable.

Gable's performance as the roughneck rival to Boyd caught some attention at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and he became within a year, the studio's biggest star ever in its existence.

Possibly due to bad editing, possibly to bad writing, but The Painted Desert is far from the greatest western I've ever seen. But it yielded something far more valuable than tungsten.


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