5.1/10
530
21 user 7 critic

The Painted Desert (1931)

Passed | | Western | 7 March 1931 (USA)
Two men find an abandoned baby and fight over the ownership of the child resulting in lifelong rivalry.

Directors:

Howard Higgin, Tom Buckingham (uncredited)

Writers:

Tom Buckingham (story), Howard Higgin (story)
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Hell's House (1932)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Jimmy idolizes bootlegger Matt, and when he refuses to implicate his friend, he is sent to reform school. He befriends Shorty, a boy with a heart condition, and escapes to let the world know about the brutal conditions.

Director: Howard Higgin
Stars: Bette Davis, Pat O'Brien, Junior Durkin
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In 1854, Jeb Stuart, George Custer and other graduates from West Point are posted to Kansas to help pacify the territory before railroad construction to Santa Fe can resume.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Raymond Massey
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A con man on the run from the police falls for a librarian.

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Dorothy Mackaill
Certificate: Passed Music | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Bad guy Kincaid controls the local water supply and plans to do in the other ranchers. Government agent Saunders shows up undercover to do in Kincaid and win the heart of one of his victims Fay Denton.

Director: Robert N. Bradbury
Stars: John Wayne, Cecilia Parker, Forrest Taylor
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Dowdy Sylvia accepts her boss' marriage proposal, even though he only asked her to avoid marriage to another woman. As a wealthy wife, Sylvia changes from ugly duckling to uninhibited swan ... See full summary »

Director: Paul L. Stein
Stars: Constance Bennett, Kenneth MacKenna, Basil Rathbone
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Cabaret performer Ivy Stevens in an affair with a low-rent traveling salesman is dumped in a 'Dear Jane' letter and finds solace in joining the Salvation Army.

Director: Harry Beaumont
Stars: Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Neil Hamilton
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

After the death of her father and loss of the family fortune, Bonnie gets a job as a cub reporter while her brother becomes involved in bootlegging.

Director: Harry Beaumont
Stars: Joan Crawford, Cliff Edwards, Lester Vail
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Fawcett has obtained the deed to Banning's mine. Thinking the mine is worthless he sells it to Bob McVey. But when he learns the mine contains Tungsten, he sets out to get it back.

Director: David Howard
Stars: George O'Brien, Laraine Day, Ray Whitley
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Growing up in a poor working-class family, Laura decides not to marry the boy-next-door and instead accepts wealthy, older Will Brockton's invitation to move in with him. After falling in ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Constance Bennett, Adolphe Menjou, Robert Montgomery
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Rookie reporter receives bribes from gangsters to suspend negative press.

Director: John Francis Dillon
Stars: Richard Barthelmess, Fay Wray, Regis Toomey
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

After Nina Leeds finds out that insanity runs in her husband's family, she has a love child with a handsome doctor and lets her husband believes the child is his.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Norma Shearer, Clark Gable, Alexander Kirkland
The Secret 6 (1931)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

After rising bootlegger Slaughterhouse Scorpio eliminates his gangland competition, two reporters and a cabal of six businessmen work to expose him.

Director: George W. Hill
Stars: Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone, Johnny Mack Brown
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
William Boyd ... Bill Holbrook (as Bill Boyd)
Helen Twelvetrees ... Mary Ellen Cameron
William Farnum ... Cash Holbrook
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Jeff Cameron
Clark Gable ... Rance Brett
Charles Sellon ... Tonopah
Hugh Adams Hugh Adams ... Dynamite
Wade Boteler ... Bob Carson
Will Walling ... Kirby
Edmund Breese ... Judge Matthews
Edward Hearn ... Tex (as Guy Edward Hearn)
William Le Maire William Le Maire ... Denver (as William LeMaire)
Richard Cramer ... Provney
Edit

Storyline

Western pardners Jeff and Cash find a baby boy in an otherwise deserted emigrants' camp, and clash over which is to be "father." They are still bitterly feuding years later when they own adjacent ranches. Bill, the foundling whom Cash has raised to young manhood, wants to end the feud and extends an olive branch toward Jeff, who now has a lovely daughter. But during a mining venture, the bitterness escalates. Is Bill to be set against his own adoptive father? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 March 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Feindschaft See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pathé Exchange See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (copyright length) | (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

William Boyd and Clark Gable, during the making of the film (11 October 1930), narrowly escaped serious injury from falling rock after two tons of explosives went off with considerably more force than planned in Dinosaur Canyon, some 70 miles northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona. While Boyd and Gable were 200 feet from the blast, rocks and boulders rained down between where they were standing. Not so lucky were a number of technicians, some 15 of whom were taken to hospitals in Flagstaff and Tuba City, and director Howard Higgin, who suffered a broken ankle and various cuts. The female lead, Helen Twelvetrees, had already returned to Los Angeles, as most of the principal photography was completed. Dynamite and black powder had been placed in the face of a 400-foot cliff and in an old mine tunnel, the explosion being expected to crumble the cliff. Unexpected presence of hard rock lent the blast violence that had not been anticipated, and showered rock and stone over an area of nearly half a mile. See more »

Quotes

Mary Ellen Cameron: Well, Dad, if they think they're going water cattle here tonight, here's two Winchesters who'll say they ain't!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Sprockets: Heart Throbs (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Trail to Mexico (Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie)
Traditional ballad
Sung a cappella by Charles Sellon
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Born to the West
14 October 2012 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

THE PAINTED DESERT (Pathe, 1931), directed by Howard Higgin, stars William Boyd, billed simply as Bill Boyd, in a slightly atypical western story set in the landmark territory of Arizona. For Boyd's first western which has nothing to do with sand painting, it was his introduction to a genre for which he become famous. Before achieving fame and popularity as "Hopalong Cassidy" on both screen (1935-1948) and later TV series (1952-54), Boyd was a blond-haired actor assuming all sorts of character parts since the silent era of the 1920s. For THE PAINTED DESERT, Boyd was the center of attention, supported by notable veteran silent screen actors as J. Farrell MacDonald and William Farnum, along with Helen Twelvetrees, the only female credited in the cast. In later years, however, it's earned the reputation as being the early screen appearance of future major star, Clark Gable, who's strong presence and distinctive voice helped rise above the level of being just another mediocre outdoors western.

The ten minute prologue begins with an written diary passage which reads, "Feb. 25 ... Four months since we headed west into the Painted Desert, about sundown today, we come to a deserted camp." Jeff Cameron (J. Farrell MacDonald) and "Cash" Holbrook (William Farnum), are introduced as two prospecting pals who encounter an abandoned covered wagon. Inside they find a baby boy, the sole survivor of a possible massacre. Jeff asks, "Give me a hand with the boy." Cash replies, "You know I will." While the infant initially brings the two men closer together in roles as father figures, he also splits them apart when one claims custody of the boy. With Jeff wanting to name the infant, "Daniel Boone Cameron," it's Cash who takes "Buffalo Bill Holbrook" as his own, thus starting a lifelong feud between two best friends. Next diary passage: "Well, looks like after all these years, me and "Cash" Holbrook was coming to a showdown. He's had all the luck, but he ain't never going to get this water hole." For the rest of the story, Cash, who has converted the land around the water hole into a cattle ranch, has raised Bill on his own son while Jeff, now a widower, has raised his daughter, Mary Ellen (Helen Twelvetrees). The Carters soon encounter a stranger, Rance Brett (Clark Gable), drinking water on their property. Brett, from Montana, heading for New Mexico way, having lost his horse, is stranded. Becoming attracted to the presence of Mary Ellen, Brett stays, becoming partners with Cameron. As for the adult Bill Holbrook (Bill Boyd), having been educated in mining school, finds himself ordered from home by his adopted dad for creating a cattle stampede that was, in Bill's point of view, to keep both Holbrook and Cameron from killing each other. As Bill vies for the attention of Mary Ellen from Brett, he assists Jeff with his Cameron Mine Company. Problems arise when vicious rumors about Jeff and Cash spread around town, causing Bill going through extremes to end this feud before it's too late.

Slow pacing with lack of underscoring quite common in 1931 talkies, the proposed original screenplay by Howard Higgin and Tom Buckingham breaks away from traditional western form of staged Indian massacres, bank robberies, chase scenes on horseback or extended bar room brawls and dancing saloon gals in favor of "Romeo and Juliet" courtship prevented by family rivalry, in this instance, two fathers. Granted there's typical comedy relief thrown in for good measure, one acted by old geezer Charles Sellon as the gossiping Tonopah, and another briefly played by former Mack Sennett comedy player by the name of Al St. John as Buck. One great advantage THE PAINTED DESERT has is the fine use of black and white photography for its location scenery of the badlands and mountain view of the Painted Desert.

Though the leading players occasionally act their roles in low-key manner, it's the up-and-coming Clark Gable who plays his part with natural conviction. Though Gable westerns were few and far between, it was that same genre that marked the end of his thirty year movie career with John Huston's THE MISFITS (United Artists, 1961). His presence with unshaven face, high hat, rolling of cigarettes and horseback riding are enough to draw attention whenever he's on, especially the confrontation sequence between he and Bill Boyd that would be clipped as part of the many Gable movies inserted into the 1968 documentary narrated by Burgess Meredith titled "Dear Mr. Gable" (ABC television network.

Close to being forgotten, THE PAINTED DESERT earned its rediscovery during the wake of home video in the early 1980s with VHS cardboard boxes using either still photos of Clark Gable (giving the impression that he was the star) or of Gable and Boyd's face-to-face confrontation on the package. Some prints consist of its sold to television Movietime introduction logo in place of the original Pathe Studios presentation while all prints clock at 75 minutes as opposed to 80. THE PAINTED DESERT did have its share of television broadcasts in the late 80s either public or local broadcasting systems, usually during the after midnight hours, before commonly found on cable television's American Movie Classics (prior to 1999) and Turner Classic Movies, especially during some of its Clark Gable tributes.

Contrary to sources indicating the 1938 release of PAINTED DESERT (RKO Radio) starring George O'Brien as being a remake. The title and setting may indicate the same, but story and character names are overall different, bears no connection whatsoever with the earlier but slightly better western package. Will William "Bill" Boyd make good as a movie cowboy? You know he will. (**)


2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 21 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed