Films Around the World presents:

The Trail Beyond (DVD)

DVD (UPC: 886470678792)

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Starring:
John Wayne, Noah Beery, Noah Beery, Sr., Noah Beery, Jr., Verna Hillie, Earl Dwire, Robert Frazer, Reed Howses, Iris Lancaster, James Marcus, Art Ortego, Eddie Parker
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Synopsis

All the preceding films [in this series] were based on original scripts, but The Trail Beyond was actually drawn from a novel The Wolf Hunters by a popular author of stories about the North-West, James Oliver Curwood, making this something of a special for the series with the increased costs of acquiring the novel's rights and other changes that result. The most noticeable is the more impressive background of timber country with snowy mountains in the far distance and vigorous winds. But the director is still Robert Bradbury and the plot creaks with the usual contrivances. Wayne plays Rod Drew who helps his half-breed college chum Wabi (Noah Beery Jr.) escape from the clutches of some cardsharps on a train journey. When they try to frame the death of one of the card players on Wabi, Wayne and the half-breed leap from the train into a river as it crosses a bridge. Wayne has been on his way to find a missing girl, and, while fleeing from a posse with Wabi, quickly (and coincidentally) stumbles on the trail that will eventually lead him to her when he discovers two skeletons in a shack and a map which shows a hidden gold mine. A bunch of villains try to get hold of the map, but Wayne pitches in to stop them kidnaping a girl who knows the combination of the safe in which it has been deposited at the store run by Newsome (Noah Beery Sr.). Captured by the gang, Wayne escapes when left alone by knocking a candle in a glass holder to the ground and cutting the ropes binding him with the broken glass. A canoe chase follows with Wayne dropping into the water to deal with the villains pursuing him, then rushing along the bank to pull a wounded Mountie clear of a canoe before it can crash over a waterfall. As the gang are massing to attack the Newsome store and gain the map, Wayne rides off to bring help from a Mountie post and returns in time to scatter the villains and go after their leader Jules LaRocque (Robert Frazer), dislodging him from a buckboard and rolling down a hillside. Just as La Rocque has a chance to knife Wayne in the back, the Mountie arrives to repay Wayne for saving his life earlier by shooting the villain. Wabi's innocence is now established and he is last seen waving as Wayne and Newsome's daughter Felice (Verna Hillie) take a canoe trip on a lake together, accompanied by the usual fadeout burst of music. Besides the improvement over the usual nondescript scenery, the film offers the novelty of canoes being used in place of horses for transport and chases. The photography even aspires to one or two striking shots of sunlight streaming through the trees as LaRocque's men fire on the store at the climax, and clearly there was an extended schedule allowing more than the usual number of camera set-ups. There is a well above average number of extras riding in the climactic scenes and more stuntwork with horses than usual--a number of falls rather isolated from the rest of the action in the climax, and earlier two dives on horseback into a river from a height, one shown from above, the other from the side (perhaps the same stunt with two cameras). These benefits seemed to have impressed contemporary viewers but [the film] is too underdeveloped in characterization and too weakly plotted to rise more than marginally above the general standard of the series and whatever the reason for splashing out on this occasion, it was a once-only move and the series promptly settled down into its customary modest groove. (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p. 41)

Specifications

  • UPC: 886470678792
  • Home Release: 2015-02-02
  • Original Release: 1934
  • Content Provider: Films Around the World
  • Runtime: 57:00
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  • Color/BW: B&W
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  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Disc Format: DVD-5

Cast and Crew

Starring:
John Wayne
Noah Beery
Noah Beery
Sr.
Noah Beery
Jr.
Verna Hillie
Earl Dwire
Robert Frazer
Reed Howses
Iris Lancaster
James Marcus
Art Ortego
Eddie Parker

Written by:

Directed by:
Robert North Bradbury

Produced by: