The Silver Horde (1930)
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Critic Reviews for The Silver Horde
Audience Reviews for The Silver Horde
This pre-code adventure is set in Alaska back when it was still frozen over, and Joel McCrea is an earnest young man set on "pulling himself up by his own bootstraps" but failed at it, destitute. He gets help from a pretty local woman who steers him right about life and lending him some optimism in the bargain, only he doesn't know that his helper is actually "A girl who's been around" ... and that, dear reader, is what the film is about. Later on we get some charming history about Alaskan fishing and get to see some of the rugged toil involved with putting fish on American tables, and how the men are, well, rugged, and fighters, and all that. But the hook is essentially how is it we as society, and Joel's character to say the least, are to deal with a woman with a sordid past. They literally don't make'em like this anymore, and perhaps one of the adult-est films I've ever seen. Oh wait, Jean Arthur is in it too ... but to little effect.
This is a pretty bad movie, so don't get excited about seeing an early film with Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea. He plays a young man who starts up a new salmon cannery in Alaska, without realizing that he's gotten help from a young woman he's met (Evelyn Brent), or that she's known in those parts for being a woman of ill repute. His cannery is threatened by a rival fishing gang, and his engagement to Jean Arthur is threatened by his friendship with and growing feelings for Brent, who has a good heart and hardly seems like a fallen woman. There are all sorts of problems with the film, which hasn't aged well. The dialogue is stilted, and both McCrea and Arthur's acting is awful. There is not a whole lot to the plot, and it is tedious in developing. The sound quality is tinny even for 1930, especially early on. I'm not recommending you stick this one out even though it's only 75 minutes long, but if you do, a little after the one hour point you'll be rewarded with Brent bawling out Arthur, which is easily the highlight of the movie. Midway through the film you may also like the footage of the salmon in Alaska, going from them happily swimming upstream to spawn, to being caught, and then processed in an assembly line, but to me, these scenes didn't add anything, and seemed like filler.
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