It was revealed this past week that The Film Detective has five new film restorations ready for release to the DVD collectible market place on July 25.
Leading the parade is director Michael Curtiz’s 1958 film adaptation of James Edward Grant’s short story, “Journal of Linnett Moore,” which was retitled for the screen as The Proud Rebel.
Filmed in glorious Technicolor, The Proud Rebel is a post-Civil War romantic drama that is often misclassified as a Western — Illinois farmland in the late 1860s is not the west. The reason it becomes confusing is that it wasn’t filmed in Illinois (or Minnesota for that matter), but for budgetary reasons The Proud Rebel was filmed in Utah.
Alan Ladd and his son David star as father and son, with Olivia de Havilland as the romantic lead and Dean Jagger filling in nicely as the villain of the piece (a young Harry Dean Stanton plays his son Jeb, who is just as nasty as the old man).
It’s the Reconstruction period in the south and former Confederate John Chandler (Ladd) is headed north in hope of finding a cure for his son’s inability to speak (a backstory reveals that he witnessed his mother’s murder at the hands of marauding Union soldiers during the war and was rendered mute). In the town of Aberdeen, Illinois, a doctor by the name of Davis (Cecil Kellaway), evaluates his son’s condition and points him in the direction of a colleague in Minnesota, but before they can leave town they cross paths with the Burleigh clan (Jagger, etc.) and the dirty southerner is railroaded into a thirty day work farm conviction.
Romance follows — Ladd working off his time at de Havilland’s farm — a final violent showdown with the land-grabbing Burleighs and a happy ending all tie The Proud Rebel together into a nice neat dramatic package.
Also on the July 25 release calendar from The Film Detective is director Alfred Zeisler’s 1948 film noir (ish) entry, Parole, Inc., teaming Michael O’Shea with Evelyn Ankers and Virginia Lee, with Turhan Bay as the ruthless criminal mastermind of a parole-for-pay scheme.
The film is told in flashback as Federal Agent Richard Hendricks (Michael O’Shea — Lady of Burlesque, Jack London, The Big Wheel, etc.) is dictating what took place while recovering in the hospital from a beating and gunshot wound. He had been assigned to go undercover to investigate a parole board racket where career criminals are granted routine paroles well ahead of schedule.
In some clever writing from prolific scripter Sherman L. Lowe (Valley of the Zombies, The Monster and the Ape, The Phantom, etc.), Hendricks is given a double alias, the first of which is easily ferreted-out by the bad guys, who suspect that he is indeed a plant. But when they discover that his “true identity” is that of bank robber on the run they embrace him whole-heartedly … one of us, one of us!!
The wonderful Evelyn Ankers gets to be a bad girl in this one as Jojo Dumont, the owner of The Pasttime Café, which serves as the go-to place for the parole scheme, which turns out to be run by her lover, shyster attorney Barney Rodescu (Turhan Bey). A shootout at a remote farm brings us back full circle to the opening sequence in the hospital.
Rounding out the July 25 film restorations heading to DVD courtesy of The Film Detective are The Married Virgin (silent 1918 Rudolph Valentino film with Vera Sisson), When’s Your Birthday? (1937, Joe E. Brown comedy) and Raiders of the Border (Johnny Mack Brown rides in this 1944 Monogram Pictures Western).