Jubilee Trail (1954)

Genres - Drama, Western  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Hans J. Wollstein

"The greatest epic since Gone With the Wind" and "starring the screen's most beautiful woman," promised the Republic Pictures ad campaign for this overblown, overlong, and only mildly diverting Western starring Vera Ralston, who, not coincidentally, was the wife of the little studio's owner, Herbert J. Yates. Producer/director Joseph Kane reportedly begged Yates for Cinemascope, but Ralston's infatuated hubby was feuding with Fox, who held the rights to that format at the time, and Jubilee Trail survives instead in standard size and with dismal Trucolor, a cheap Technicolor substitute that causes both Ralston and the desert sky to display a greenish tint. Ralston, of course, is usually dismissed as a no-talent foisted upon an unsuspecting public by a lovesick tycoon, but although far from the advertised beauty, she is actually quite good as the film's vaguely French-accented prairie chanteuse and performs several songs -- including "Clap Your Hands" and the title tune, both by Victor Young and Sidney Clare -- in a most vigorous manner. Second-billed Joan Leslie, who actually essays the film's focal female role, is as charming as always, and John Russell, Forrest Tucker, and Ray Middleton provide adequate masculine appeal. Pat O'Brien, meanwhile, performs a drunk act to perfection and director Kane does the best he can with Bruce Manning's overly talky script.