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Tycoon (1947)

In South America, an American engineer is asked by his boss to build a mountain railroad tunnel following a shorter but more dangerous route.

Director:

Richard Wallace

Writers:

Borden Chase (screenplay), John Twist (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... Johnny
Laraine Day ... Maura
Cedric Hardwicke ... Alexander (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Judith Anderson ... Miss Braithwaite
James Gleason ... Pop
Anthony Quinn ... Ricky
Grant Withers ... Fog
Paul Fix ... Joe
Fernando Alvarado ... Chico
Harry Woods ... Holden
Michael Harvey ... Curly
Charles Trowbridge ... Señor Tobar
Martin Garralaga ... Chavez
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Storyline

Engineer Johnny Munroe is enlisted to build a railroad tunnel through a mountain to reach mines. His task is complicated, and his ethics are compromised, when he falls in love with his boss's daughter. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Adventure In The Untamed Andes! (re-release print ad) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 December 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

In the Darkness of the Sun See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,209,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Maureen O'Hara was originally to play the female lead in this film. RKO producers, however, assigned her to make Sinbad, the Sailor (1947) and cast Laraine Day instead. See more »

Goofs

When the tunnel is blown leaving Curly dead inside, the front of the mountain surrounding the tunnel is clearly a fake facade as it shakes and moves during the explosion. See more »

Quotes

Johnny Munroe: I've got a railroad to build.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Personal History: Foreign Hitchcock (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Big romance, rugged action...but none of it quite convincing
2 May 2014 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Tycoon (1947)

An appealing role for John Wayne, rugged but not quite a western archetype. This RKO Technicolor big budget film is unusual for that studio (it was their biggest movie to date), and they snagged Wayne along with Anthony Quinn. Somehow, as good as it is in many ways, it lost a million dollars (a whole lot for the time). It's good, however, and watchable, if still a bit contrived within its wild Andes excess.

Though set in the mining roughneck edge of the mountains, this is a romance. Wayne, a savvy worker and engineer, falls in love with the mine owner's daughter. That never goes well, and it yet it goes very well at times. The love affair is sweet and innocent, due both to Wayne's scruples and to the leading woman's equally good intentions. This is Laraine Day, a good Nixon Republican who was faithfully Mormon her whole life. She's charming and truly attractive in the movie star mould of the day, and was an MGM star of some importance during these years. I think Wayne and her have an odd, believable consonance, and since they make so much of the movie, they hold it all together well.

The larger plot is about a conflict in how to manage building he railroad. This sets up the structure for the different social strata of the leading characters (Wayne and the mine owner), but it distracts somewhat from the other, deeper plot. The scenery vibrates, the music pulses, the romance is intense.

Whatever the general predictability of the plot, the story is well enough done, and warm enough (it's not a gritty tale, whatever the dirty environs), it makes you want to watch. There might be a social message in here somewhere about individualism and hard work, about true love in the face adversity, about the ruthless power of money, about the folly of building things without getting permission first (actually), and so on. But it's not convincing enough on any level to quite take it so seriously.

Why did the movie fail so miserably? For one it's a kind of grandiose movie that audiences were probably a little familiar with. For another, this was the total height of the film noir boom, which is essentially the opposite kind of film. And for another, the female star was not a particular draw, and Wayne was so completely known by this point as a cowboy, the casting might have doomed it from the start.

In the end, after fighting the elements of the hot mountain desert, the mine owner sells it all and goes, with his woman, to what he calls paradise. Where? Vermont.


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