Best of… Series – 1939 – Dodge City

Dodge City (Michael Curtiz, 1939)

One of the most solid westerns, start to end, that I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t rank this up there with my favorites in terms of originality or daringness. It’s just that it doesn’t do anything wrong. The story is intricately told, weaving complex relationships with a good old fashioned battle between good and evil for control over a town. Errol Flynn stars (and this is actually the first film I’ve seen him in), spending his time herding cattle, saving a city from evil, wooing a lady, and building a great life for himself.

Yes, I make it sound like he’s a little too much of a hero, but in actuality, he makes a lot of questionable decisions that are masked by the people’s love for him. But as I hinted at above, the film’s key strength is its storytelling. No shortcuts are taken and we see the many different events that shape Flynn’s character into who he is. In fact, many moments are spent lingering on the beautiful sights and the ‘less important’ day-to-day happenings that are just as important to the characterization and atmosphere as anything else. Really, I just had fun spending time with these characters in a city that was as important to me as to its residents by the time it was done.  9/10

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