HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Incredibles 2
Big House, The
Night Eats the World, The
War Bus
Back to Berlin
Leave No Trace
They Shall Not Grow Old
Dollman
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Man Who Invented Christmas, The
Tom's Midnight Garden
Lady, Stay Dead
Thieves, The
My Dear Secretary
I Think We're Alone Now
Amazing Colossal Man, The
Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael
Suzanne
Nae Pasaran!
Kiss of the Dragon
Other Side of the Wind, The
Secret Santa
Wolcott
10.000 Km
Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure
Hitler's Hollywood
Ghost Goes Gear, The
First Purge, The
House of Wax
Mandy
   
 
Newest Articles
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
   
 
  Susannah of the Mounties Shirley shares the peace-pipeBuy this film here.
Year: 1939
Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Shirley Temple, Randolph Scott, Margaret Lockwood, Martin Good Rider, J. Farrell MacDonald, Maurice Moscovitch, Moroni Olsen, Victor Jory, Lester Matthews, Leyland Hodgson
Genre: Western, Comedy, Adventure
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: As the first railroad is lain across the Canadian wild, it falls to the Royal Mountain Police to maintain peace between rail workers and the Blackfoot Indians that resent this intrusion onto their land. Inspector Angus Montague (Randolph Scott) and his troop arrive at the aftermath of an Indian attack from which young Susannah Sheldon (Shirley Temple) is the sole survivor. Aided by his bewigged Irish pal, Pat O’Hannegan (J. Farrell MacDonald), Monty adopts Sue as an honorary mountie. Sue in turn grows very fond of Monty, to the point where she feels a little jealous when he starts courting newly-arrived beauty Vicky Standing (Margaret Lockwood). Vicky’s father, Superintendent Andrew Standing (Moroni Olsen) brokers a peace deal with noble Chief Big Eagle (Maurice Moscovitch), who leaves his son Little Chief (Martin Good Rider) behind at the outpost as a mark of good faith. But Sue and Little Chief subsequently witness a violent confrontation between Indian horse thieves and hot-headed rail man Harlan Chambers (Lester Matthews) that sparks a war only the Mounties can stop.

Remembered solely as the film Twentieth Century Fox made with Shirley Temple rather than loan her out to MGM for The Wizard of Oz (1939), Susannah of the Mounties was based on a popular children’s book written by Muriel Denison that spawned several sequels. In time-honoured Hollywood tradition, the film version took certain liberties with its source, notably opting to kill off the heroine’s parents in an unseen Indian attack. In the book, Susannah spends the summer with her uncle and his fellow Mounties while her parents are in India. Frankly, although Temple is genuinely credible as a shellshocked orphan in the early scenes, her parents might as well be on holiday given how quickly she brightens up in Monty’s company. However, this proves a vital component of the film’s central theme, as Monty teaches Sue a person can overcome any obstacle or threat as long as they have courage.

If there is one theme uniting Shirley Temple’s varied film career it is the embodiment of unyielding American optimism: that can-do spirit. A rare western for the curly-topped moppet, this applies that ethos to race-relations. The film does take a faintly patronising tone towards Native American culture (“We’re supposed to be more grown up than they are” lectures Monty at one point) but has its heart in the right place, stressing the value in learning to understand Indian ways and forge peace treaties rather than practice genocide. This message is underlined in an amusing subplot wherein feisty Susannah clashes with young chauvinist Little Chief until the pair become “blood brothers.” The duo don feathers, bang tom-toms, chant around the fire and even share the peace-pipe that, in a running gag, leaves Susannah decidedly woozy. Having earned the respect of the Blackfeet with her pluck and fortitude, along with the nickname of “Golden Hawk”, the climax has Susannah pleading for the captive Monty’s life and attempting to prevent full-scale war.

However, the plot still plays second fiddle to cutesy antics, comedy routines and the odd musical sequence and relies on a heavy contrivance that prevents Sue telling the truth about Indian villain Wolf Pelt (Victor Jory) until the most dramatically-convenient moment. Coming towards the end of Temple’s reign as America’s most popular child star, this recycles motifs from several past vehicles, notably John Ford’s superior Wee Willie Winkie (1937), exhibiting a similarly sentimental affection for the military, exploring themes of innocence enduring amidst the clash between “savage” and “civilized” values, and has Temple assemble a makeshift family with herself as pint-sized matriarch. Temple radiates charisma with an appealing performance but the film wastes spirited British star Margaret Lockwood in a superfluous role while western stalwart Randolph Scott - reteamed with Temple after the likeable Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938) - is also surprisingly underused. Given the third act erupts into a series of fairly exciting action sequences, this has the distinction of featuring the largest bodycount of any Shirley Temple film.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 997 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
Alexander Taylor
   

 

Last Updated: