Monday, May 05, 2008

Joan Woodbury Redux

Thanks to, I enjoyed another forgotten film starring Joan Woodbury. This time, around it was "Northwest Trail," a 1945 film set in the Canadian wilds. Bob Steele, the venerable western star plays the lead as the forthright Mountie Matt O'Brien, but it's Woodbury who steals the show.

Here's the opening scene, where Mountie O'Brien meets Kate Owns (Joan Woodbury) for the first time. Owens sets the tone for the relationship, shows who's in charge almost immediately (although primarly through O'Brien's forbearance). Woodbury's delivery makes the comments pointed, but it's her facial expressions that really gives them barbs.

The movie's plot has some bafflegab about smuggling gold from Canada to the States, and as a mystery doesn't present much of a challange for the viewer. The pacing is a little slack, and I often had to wait for the characters to figure out what was already made obvious to me. But watching the sparks fly whenever Joan Woodbury's on the scene still makes for enjoyable viewing (in my opinion).

I wonder how different her career would have been had she appeared in higher-profile films (I'm hesitant to say better films, as the major studios churned out just as many clunkers as the poverty row).

- Ralph

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