AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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The Virginian
Director: Victor Fleming (Dir)
Release Date:   9 Nov 1929
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles opening: 1 Nov 1929
Production Date:   began late May 1929
Duration (in mins):   92
Duration (in feet):   8,717
Duration (in reels):   9
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Cast:   Gary Cooper (The Virginian)  
    Walter Huston (Trampas)  
    Richard Arlen (Steve)  
    Mary Brian (Molly Wood)  
    Chester Conklin (Uncle Hughey)  
    Eugene Pallette (Honey Wiggin)  
    E. H. Calvert (Judge Henry)  
    Helen Ware (Ma Taylor)  
    Victor Potel (Nebraskey)  
    Tex Young (Shorty)  
    Charles Stevens (Pedro)  

Summary: The Virginian, foreman of the Box H Ranch, near Medicine Bow, Wyoming, meets Steve, an old friend, and gives him a job; and they both encounter Molly Wood, the new schoolteacher just arrived from Vermont. In a saloon the Virginian and Trampas quarrel over a dancer, but the foreman forces him down. At a christening party the foreman and Steve play a prank--for which Steve is blamed--on some sleeping babies, leaving the Virginian free to walk Molly home. Soon their friendship grows into love, but Molly declines marriage. Steve joins up with Trampas and his gang of rustlers; and when he is captured by a posse, the Virginian is forced to supervise his hanging, causing Molly to spurn the Virginian. When he is wounded, however, she nurses him, and they plan to marry. Trampas orders him to leave town, and though the girl resists, the Virginian shoots Trampas in a duel. 

Production Company: Paramount Famous Lasky Corp.  
Distribution Company: Paramount Famous Lasky Corp.  
Director: Victor Fleming (Dir)
Writer: Howard Estabrook (Adpt)
  Edward E. Paramore Jr. (Dial)
Photography: J. Roy Hunt (Dir of photog)
Sound: M. M. Paggi (Rec eng)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs:
Source Text: Based on the novel The Virginian by Owen Wister (New York, 1902) and the play of the same name by Owen Wister and Kirk La Shelle (New York, 5 Jan 1904).
Authors: Kirk La Shelle
  Owen Wister

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Paramount Famous Lasky Corp. 8/11/1929 dd/mm/yyyy LP835

Physical Properties: Sd: Movietone
  Sd, also Si: Also si; 7,407 ft; copyrighted as 12 reels.
  b&w:

 
Genre: Western
 
Subjects (Major): Duels
  Lynching
  Ranch foremen
  Rustlers
  Schoolteachers
  Vermont
  Virginians
  Wyoming

Note: According to a 21 May 1929 LAT news item, location shooting was about to commence in Sonora, CA. Reviews highly praised this big-budget Western, one of the first (along with Fox's 1930 released The Arizona Kid , see entry above) of the studio produced, large-scale, all-dialogue Westerns. As the Var critic noted, the picture "proves that with the right material properly handled, sound turns the knell for westerns into one of animation...superbly combining drama with comedy."
       For information on several other film and television adaptations of the Owen Wister story, please consult the entry below for the 1946 Paramount release, directed by Stuart Gilmore and starring Joel McCrea and Brian Donlevy.
 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
EHW   11 Jan 1930   p. 32.
Film Daily   29 Dec 1929   p. 8.
Los Angeles Times   21 May 1929   p. A10.
Los Angeles Times   1 Nov 1929   p. A9.
New York Times   23 Dec 1929   p. 18.
Time   6 Jan 1930   p. 35.
Variety   25 Dec 1929   p. 26.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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