Whispering Smith


Western /

IMDb Rating 6.7


Downloaded 551 times
11/24/2020 9:54:09 PM

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88 min
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88 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 9

Alan Ladd&#39;s first starring western and first film in technicolor is Whispering Smith. I have a funny feeling that someone at Paramount figured out that in boots with a couple of inches of heels on them, Mr. Ladd could get some additional height unnoticed. He certainly did do a lot of westerns after Whispering Smith.<br/><br/>According to the films of Alan Ladd and the biography by Beverly Linet, Ladd had purchased a ranch for his family and enjoyed his time out there and became an expert rider. For someone who arrived late to the western genre, Alan Ladd does sit the saddle well and looks right at home on the range.<br/><br/>The story based on a novel by Frank Spearman had been filmed two times previously as a silent film. Ladd is a railroad detective and we first meet him going after Murvyn Vye and his two outlaw brothers. Ladd&#39;s best friend is Robert Preston and his wife Brenda Marshall almost married Ladd back in the day.<br/><br/>Preston is a happy go lucky sort, but a lout none the less. The green eyed monster gets him though as Ladd is hanging around. Preston falls for the line that chief villain Donald Crisp gives him. Especially after he gets fired from the railroad after tangling with new superintendent John Eldredge. With his knowledge about the railroad, Preston becomes invaluable to Crisp.<br/><br/>Whispering Smith is directed by Leslie Fenton, former actor who was gradually getting into A films, but he retired after directing only a few more films after this one. The character he creates for Ladd is a harbinger of the one that George Stevens did for Ladd in Shane. I have no doubt that Stevens cast Ladd in Shane after viewing Whispering Smith.<br/><br/>And Whispering Smith probably would be considered a classic western if someone like George Stevens or John Ford or Anthony Mann had directed it. It&#39;s that good.<br/><br/>Donald Crisp is a garrulous, but crafty outlaw leader. William Demarest is fine in the sidekick role. But the portrayal among the supporting cast to watch is Frank Faylen&#39;s as the albino killer in Crisp&#39;s gang. I also think that George Stevens was influenced in his direction of Jack Palance in Shane from Faylen&#39;s portrayal. Faylen has even less dialog than Palance did in Shane, but he will absolutely chill you when you watch the film.<br/><br/>Whispering Smith is an absolute must for western fans and fans of Alan Ladd. It&#39;s a turning point film in his career and I&#39;m glad it is finally out on DVD. Only wish a VHS version had been made of it.

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Reviewed by Bunuel1976 7

Alan Ladd&#39;s first film in color was also his first Western, a genre with which he would become associated after making 11 of them in all (having previously excelled in noirs during the 1940s and early 50s). Here he plays a character dating back to the Silent era: a soft-spoken (hence the title) but sharp-shooting investigator for a railroad company which also employs his best friends ? rugged foreman Robert Preston (who married Ladd&#39;s girl Brenda Marshall) and old-timer William Demarest. With Ladd away on company business i.e. chasing a notorious trio of sibling train robbers, Preston falls in with a bad crowd headed by cattle rustler Donald Crisp and his albino henchman Frank Faylen and, on whose account, he has been pilfering &#39;damaged&#39; goods transported by the railroad. Ladd is ordered back home to look into this wave of train wrecks which have been occurring on a regular basis. Suspecting Crisp and his crew, he pleads with Preston to pull out in time but the latter is too deeply involved by now to listen and an eventual shootout between the two childhood friends is inevitable. An ordinary, unpretentious Western to be sure but one that is well acted, competently staged and provides consistent entertainment for the undiscriminating viewer and Western film buffs in particular.

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Reviewed by monticellomeadow 8

This is a very fine western. Great Technicolor, decent acting and a nice plot. As a fan of the western genre, I appreciate the snappy way the story moves along. Modern westerns (and most films, in fact) drag the exposition out. Here, for example, when Robert Preston&#39;s character meets up with his old friend Ladd and mentions Preston&#39;s wife&#39;s name, the look on Ladd&#39;s face instantly tells you &quot;oh-oh, there&#39;s a history here.&quot; Very quick, but well done and you know what&#39;s coming.<br/><br/>This is a &quot;railroad western.&quot; It&#39;s nice to see a western that emphasizes the importance and power of the the railroads in the settlement of the west.

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