WEST OF THE DIVIDE (1934) John Wayne! Full Movie! Western Classic! Gabby Hayes, Yakima Canutt! WOW!

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WEST OF THE DIVIDE is one of John Wayne's 16 starring B westerns done for producer Paul Malvern's Lone Star Productions. Shot in 6 or 7 days, these location shot and action filled westerns were a wonderful training ground for the young actor. Basic plots and lots of fast riding were the norm. Fortunately, for everyone involved, former silent western star and rodeo champion, Yakima Canutt, worked on most of the films. Yak was a daredevil action specialist who happened to be about the same size as Duke. It's no wonder that Yak has been dubbed "The Godfather of Stuntmen." Together they created some of the best B western action of the early 1930s.
Also, a part of the Lone Star stock company was George Hayes, before he became Hopalong Cassidy’s sidekick "Windy" and, later, Roy Rogers’ sidekick "Gabby." Other genre regulars in this film include Virginia Brown and character actors Lafe McKee and Earl Dwire.
Most of Duke’s Lone Star films were written and directed by Bob Steele’s father, Robert N. Bradbury. The stories often were of a son searching for the killer of his Father. That’s the plot for WEST OF THE DIVIDE. Duke impersonates a wanted man and joins the outlaw gang, while looking for the killer and his kid brother. Nice work form all involved. Lots of hard riding chases on horseback and some early dramatic scenes of Duke and the young actor who portrays his little brother.

Now, a little bit of background about how Duke got the lead in the Lone Star B westerns.
When Michael Morrison was taped to play the lead in 1930s THE BIG TRAIL, it was a huge break for the young actor. Director Raoul Walsh shot the film in a new wide screen process. Lots of money was spent on the production and it still looks magnificent. Duke, with his new on-screen name John Wayne, looked terrific and was very charismatic, too. Unfortunately, THE BIG TRAIL was also a huge flop for Fox Studios. There were several problems. One was the Depression. Two was that theater owners were already spending money to convert the movie houses with new talking picture projectors. Three, THE BIG TRAIL was ultra-wide screen and theaters needed to install yet another projector to accommodate the image and refused to spend the money...again, for a newer projector. As a result, THE BIG TRAIL was chopped down and released in an abbreviated version with a traditional 4x3 image, destroying the majestic, wide screen quality of the film.

When THE BIG TRAIL flopped, Duke was relegated to starring in 3 low budget Mascot serials. After that, he played bits in a few productions and then was signed to star in a series of B westerns for Lone Star. As you'll see in WEST OF THE DIVIDE, Duke's easy going charm, his incredibly handsome good looks and his ability to handle the action chores, would combine and evolve to make him the World's Number One Box Office star!

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West of the Divide is a 1934 American Western film directed by Robert N. Bradbury for Monogram. Starring John Wayne, Yakima Canutt and George Hayes, before taking on the moniker "Gabby", this is a B western classic you won't want to miss!

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