California Straight Ahead! (1937)

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    There are 20 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by lasbugas.

    • California Straight Ahead! (1937)



      Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


      Plot Summary
      Former school bus driver Biff Smith manages a trucking company
      which has its fleet pitted against a freight train in a race
      to deliver aviation parts to the Pacific coast.
      Summary written by Ed Stephan

      Full Cast
      John Wayne .... Biff Smith
      Louise Latimer .... Mary Porter
      Robert McWade .... Corrigan
      Theodore von Eltz .... James Gifford
      Tully Marshall .... Harrison
      Emerson Treacy .... Charlie Porter
      Harry Allen .... 'Fish' McCorkle
      LeRoy Mason .... Padula
      Grace Goodall .... Mrs. Porter
      Olaf Hytten .... Huggins
      Monte Vandergrift .... Clancy
      Lorin Raker .... Secretary
      Frank Ellis .... Truck driver (uncredited)
      Oscar Gahan .... Truck driver (uncredited)
      George Morrell .... Truck driver (uncredited)

      Writing Credits
      Herman Boxer story
      Scott Darling screenplay

      Trem Carr .... producer
      Paul Malvern .... associate producer

      Harry Neumann

      Filming Location
      Santa Clarita, California, USA
      Newhall, California, USA
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 8 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • California Straight Ahead! is a 1937 American film about truck drivers
      starring John Wayne and directed by Arthur Lubin.
      The action movie features a memorable cross-country race between trucks and trains.

      This was Duke's 3rd. film of a 6 picture Universal deal,
      and it was not a happy time ,the films were mediocre,
      but things were about to change, because, just after
      Duke returned to Republic for The Three Mesquiteers
      and thereafterStagecoach

      Arthur Lubin, whose films with Abbot and Costello, saved Universal
      from going bankrupt, he was promoted to director of the epic
      Phantom of the Opera , which was a huge success.
      However, he wasn't quite so successful with the films, he made with Duke.
      There were 4 films,

      California Straight Ahead
      I Cover The War
      Idol of the Crowds
      Adventure's End

      The action films, were entertaining,
      but were cheaply made, and proved to be
      disappointing at the box office.

      However I enjoyed this film, it was both fun and entertaining
      I thought the 3 main actors, Duke, Louise Latimer, Robert McWade,
      played well together, and with the addition of
      Tully Marshall, it made for an enjoyable film.


      User Review
      Over The Long Haul
      31 August 2007 | by bkoganbing (Buffalo, New York)

      California Straight Ahead finds John Wayne as a school bus driver turned truck driver. The film was one of a series of six films that John Wayne made for Universal Pictures that was an attempt to broaden his acting horizons. Not one of these films that he did for Universal was a western.

      Though this one does have some western like elements. The final climax has Wayne leading a wagon train like caravan of big rigs trying to beat the railroad to the Pacific Coast before a longshoreman's strike commences is definitely western like in its presentation for the screen.

      California Straight Ahead also bears no small resemblance to the working stiff pictures that were more popular at Warner Brothers. Wayne's in a part that Pat O'Brien normally would have played. If the film had been done at MGM, Spencer Tracy would have been cast.

      The Duke does not do badly as the happy go lucky Biff Smith who's a lazy fellow with little ambition, content to be a school bus driver. He's got a thing for Louise Latimer, but his lack of ambition distresses her mother, Grace Goodall, to no end. He actually gets himself canned from that job when he helps Latimer's brother, Emerson Treacy, get his cargo to Chicago after villain LeRoy Mason disables Treacy's truck. Wayne and Treacy form a partnership that later includes Harry Allen.

      Mason was no stranger to John Wayne films, he appeared in several of Wayne's films as a western villain right up to and including some Three Mesquiteers series. Allen has a nice part, he plays cockney- accented James McCorkle, though there's no explanation as to how he landed from Piccadilly in the American mid-west.

      California Straight Ahead, despite some big holes in the plot, is not a bad film for John Wayne. Considering some of the hard driving parts he mostly played, those early scenes in this film were something I had never witnessed from him before, even though he does eventually grow into the usual Duke character. That opening with him driving the school bus and the kids singing almost looks like the setting of a number from a Bing Crosby film.

      The film's not great, but it's an interesting part for the Duke.
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 3 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Re: California Straight Ahead! (1937)

      This is a film I hadn't even heard of until Keith posted it here. Here is a poster, and also a 1948 re-issue poster (appears to be of the same vintage as the lobby card posted by Keith in his introductory post for this thread).
    • Re: California Straight Ahead! (1937)


      A couple of years ago Television had a golden spell where they showed many of John Wayne's earlier films Lady From Louisiana, Lady For A Night and California Straight Ahead all of which I taped. Like Keith says it's a watchable picture and quite enjoyable.


      Walk Tall - Talk Low
    • Re: California Straight Ahead! (1937)

      Thanks for the great pictures and the reminder about this film. I wish I had seen the TV broadcast and taped it. I have all but Adventures End and they are copies of the old, I think, 35mm and are poor quality. The flicks were enjoyable and showed how Duke was perfecting his Craft. I'll have to pull this one and watch it this weekend. One of the few things nice about getting old is that even if you've seen a movie your memory sayes it's new. Thanks again - Big Jim