Mary Robbins is a moderately educated, beautiful, young woman who owns the saloon called "The Poker". She is the only woman in the town of Cloudee-making her the fancy of all the men there, especially to Sheriff Jack Rance. On the way to Monterey to sing at a mass officiated by Father Sienna, her stagecoach is held up by the infamous masked bandit, Ramerez. He too takes a fancy to Mary, and decides to secretly follow her, taking on the identity of an officer named, Lieutenant Johnson. While in Monterey, he dances, sings and courts Mary, who has now fallen in love with him. He then has to make a quick getaway. In the mean-time, Sheriff Jack has set up a trap to catch Ramerez at "The Poker". When Ramerez does arrive he soon discovers that Mary is the owner, and quickly changes to the identity of Lieutenant Johnson. How long can this sherade last?Written by
Closer to Belasco's play than to Puccini's opera(though there are elements of it), The Girl of the Golden West is not going to get awards for originality- though actually still one of the better stories of the Nelson Eddy/Jeanette MacDonald collaborations- and Nelson Eddy's Ramirez accent is very unconvincing. The Girl of the Golden West even with those flaws taken into account is still really good fun, and one of the better Eddy-MacDonald collaborations. The two stars are fine, MacDonald is the much better actress and does sassy, beautiful and charming wonderfully, but Eddy is a likable partner. Both are in fine voice too, especially Eddy who even when his acting is not up to par always captivates by the strength and beauty of his voice. MacDonald sounds great too, and blends very nicely with Eddy. Walter Pidgeon is handsome and authoritative, managing some menace as well as a sympathetic side as Rance. Buddy Ebsen is very sweet and funny, and comes close sometimes to stealing the film. The Girl of the Golden West looks good, it's photographed with care and the Old West sets are evoked really beautifully and convincingly. The songs and score are rich in orchestration and carry the film very well, the best of them Who are We to Say, Mariache, Shadows on the Moon and Winds in the Trees are wonderful. The dialogue is true to the period the film is set in and has moments of great wit. The story is told briskly and with great charm, the romantic elements are appropriately tender and you are convinced by Eddy and MacDonald as lovers. The characters are not original either but are still interesting, especially Mary and Rance. The ending is true in spirit to that of Puccini's opera, it may be very Hollywood-ish and unbelievable- with Rance giving up so easily- to some, but it was nice to see a somewhat different side to Rance in this scene. Overall, very easy to like and does a great job charming and entertaining. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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