How many westerns have there been about the life of Belle Starr? For that matter who knows that much about her real life? I remember seeing this film as a youngster and fell in love with it. I have always liked civil war films and 20th Cent. Fox put together a very good cast in the 1941 version. Gene Tierney plays the bandit queen very well, despite forcing herself to use a phony southern accent throughout the film. Randolp Scott is resplendent as captain Sam Starr, a renegade who rounds up bunch of confederate soldiers near the end of the civil war to stir up trouble in post war Missouri. Scott hates carpetbaggers and yankee soldiers in equal amounts and has no problem raiding banks and railroads for booty. Along the way he meets up with Belle Starr, who finds Scott very brave. Belle Starr is a fiery southern belle and when the yankees burn down her home because she is caught harboring Captain Starr, she joins forces with the rebels in her hatred against the transplanted Yankee forces sent to Missouri to clean out the "rebel rabble". An odd love twist forms when her childhood friend, Dana Andrews, a yankee captain, fights to conceal his true feelings for her and his hatred against Sam Starr and his rebel friends. Along the way Scott and Tierney become married and continue raiding and chasing out carpetbaggers out of Missouri. The twosome become a Missouri legend, much to the anger of the yankee forces trying to capture them. Jasper Tench, a town misfit and drunk, shoots and kills Belle Starr near the end of the film, sending Scott into surrendering to the yankee forces. Good scene at end when Scott surrenders to Andrews and both men nearly lose their composure in sadness over Belle's death. Belle's "mammy", played by Louise Beavers in a good supporting role adds a touch of warmth and comfort to Belle throughout the film.<br/><br/>Good performances by Chill Wills as a redneck southern soldier, and John Shepard who plays Belle's brother, Ed. You might get teary eyed at the end of this film. Excellent western.
The setting is the Civil War and its aftermath. Belle's family has lost their land to Yankees. She marries Confederate guerilla leader Sam Starr and they continue activities against exploiters until she is shot riding to alert Sam to a trap. Highly romanticized and little connection with history.
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10/8/2019 2:00:30 AM