Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


CHAD HANNA (1940). Director: Henry King.

"Why don't you go back to your pigs -- and stay there!"

In 1841 young Chad Hanna (Henry Fonda) runs off with a small, struggling circus to avoid a sheriff and to court pretty bare back rider Albany Yates (Dorothy Lamour). Caroline (Linda Darnell) also joins the circus to get away from her hateful father (Olin Howlin in a bigger role than usual) and winds up falling for Chad. However, this isn't the usual triangle as both women seem to like and respect one another and there is no stereotypical "bitchiness" between them. Chad Hanna is an amiable comedy-drama detailing the assorted tribulations of the circus as Chad tries to figure out whom he's in love with. Guy Kibbee and Jane Darwell are amusing and excellent as the owner and his wife. Lamour is solid, Darnell gives a lovely performance, and Fonda plays Chad as if the young man were slightly "touched" in the head. Ted North, John Carradine, and Frank Conlon are also notable. Charles Middleton isn't given enough to do as the barely-seen sheriff. Very pleasant and absorbing, and with a memorable score by David Buttolph. Funniest bit has a very hefty Darwell sizing up an elephant and saying "If he ever develops a taste for meat ..."

Verdict: Charming and different. ***.

1 comment:

Classic Manuals said...

This movie is available on DVD I found the listings below they look ok. Thanks