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Brigham Young:Frontiersman

Tyrone Power , Linda Darnell , Henry Hathaway    VHS Tape
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars MORMON HISTORY INEPTLY DEPICTED Nov. 2 2001
Format:VHS Tape
It was inevitable that sooner or later Darryl F. Zanuck would light upon the history of the Mormons for one of those grandoise movie epics on which his name is a U.S. trademark. This picture, from a story by Louis Bromfield, is actually more honest than many other Zanuck epics of the day - which really isn't saying much! The picture cost a whoppin (in 1940) 2.5 million dollars to make; you would think that they could have done more research in order to make the story more historically accurate. It's fatuous, dull and false. Its tepid love story between Linda Darnell and Tyrone Power is irrelevant, as it serves only to "gum" up the flow of action. More serious is its frightened skirting of the subject of polygamy, which for half a century kept the Latter Day Saints and the U.S. Government in state of warfare. Only once - and then in jest - is polygamy mentioned, and only two of uxorious Brigham Young's 27 wives shown (and only one is clearly designated as his wife). The migration of the Mormons across 1,384 miles of prairie and desert in search of religious freedom is a subject interesting to watch on film, however. Many of them walked on foot, were killed by Indians, died of starvation or merely perished in the brutal blizzards. Those who fought their way through mountain passes to Salt Lake Valley were determined to make a great city rise out of arid wasteland; here, at least Zanuck caught the spirit of these intrepid builders of a new world.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Nice story, but historically off base. April 22 1999
Format:VHS Tape
When I first saw this movie on the shelf at our local video store, I had to see it. Being a mormon myself and an LDS Church history buff, I had to see how Hollywood depicted my ancestors. The basic plot to the story is correct. The mormons were driven out of Nauvoo, Il., by angry and violent mobs, but the rest of the story is lacking in any real historical basis. Nice to see Hollywood recognizing a true and potentially a good American story to tell, I just wish they could get the facts straight.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An American film about an American Legend. March 19 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This is an interesting film. You have to admit that Mormonism is quite an American phenomenon, and Brigham Young is quite an American. He was one of the great trailblazers, and after seeing the 2002 Olympics, you must admit that there was something going on here beyond mere spiritual skullduggery.
This film was made with an "arm's distance" approval of the hierarchy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Indeed, for some reason, Mormon prophet David O. McKay had a quite cordial relationship with Cecil B. DeMille, and the great filmmaker willed Brigham Young University his papers.
This is quite an interesting film, and has many of the conventions of the era. Porter Rockwell is played as comic relief rather than the rough and tumble mountain man's mountain man that he was. Vincent Price makes an interesting Joseph Smith, with that eerie twinge to his voice giving a sense of mystery. Tyrone Power did a wonderful job of breathing life into a man who was larger than life, and Linda Darnell isn't overwhelmed by her role or her character.
The sets are a major part of the film. You can almost taste the trail dust. Filming on location adds to the power of the film, and the black and white gives the film an Ansel Adams feel. You see the long trails across the long plains, plus the ragged Rocky Mountains. While they were filming, there was an actual outbreak of crickets in Nevada, so they sent a camera crew out, and you are seeing the real thing!
True to all historical fiction, this film's history is subservient to the fiction. For those wanting the facts, I suggest Leonard Arrington's aptly-titled "Brigham Young: American Moses." For a sample of his theology, there is "Discourses of Brigham Young," compiled by John A Widtsoe.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An American film about an American Legend. March 19 2002
By Kendal B. Hunter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
This is an interesting film. You have to admit that Mormonism is quite an American phenomenon, and Brigham Young is quite an American. He was one of the great trailblazers, and after seeing the 2002 Olympics, you must admit that there was something going on here beyond mere spiritual skullduggery.
This film was made with an "arm's distance" approval of the hierarchy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Indeed, for some reason, Mormon prophet David O. McKay had a quite cordial relationship with Cecil B. DeMille, and the great filmmaker willed Brigham Young University his papers.
This is quite an interesting film, and has many of the conventions of the era. Porter Rockwell is played as comic relief rather than the rough and tumble mountain man's mountain man that he was. Vincent Price makes an interesting Joseph Smith, with that eerie twinge to his voice giving a sense of mystery. Tyrone Power did a wonderful job of breathing life into a man who was larger than life, and Linda Darnell isn't overwhelmed by her role or her character.
The sets are a major part of the film. You can almost taste the trail dust. Filming on location adds to the power of the film, and the black and white gives the film an Ansel Adams feel. You see the long trails across the long plains, plus the ragged Rocky Mountains. While they were filming, there was an actual outbreak of crickets in Nevada, so they sent a camera crew out, and you are seeing the real thing!
True to all historical fiction, this film's history is subservient to the fiction. For those wanting the facts, I suggest Leonard Arrington's aptly-titled "Brigham Young: American Moses." For a sample of his theology, there is "Discourses of Brigham Young," compiled by John A Widtsoe.
The film in itself is a good, especially for the AMC and Turner Classics fans that like films that wisely omit the salacious sex, machine gun profanity, or scene after scene of computer generated effects that glitz in an attempt to cover up a feeble story line. This is good, solid Americana film that hearkens back to the days of pre-cause-oriented Hollywood.
4.0 out of 5 stars more than what I expected ! July 5 2013
By Robert Cummins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
It wasn't quit as clear as a DVD might a been,but as far as the movie it was as better than when I saw it in the theater many moons ago.
4.0 out of 5 stars Later Day Saints Story Nov. 10 2012
By ellison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Made in 1940 in black and white, story of LDS faith. Vincent Price as Joseph Smith as he aspires to share his faith. Locals fear the multi-wife doctrine and destroy Mormon property. Joseph Smith ends up dead so leadership falls to an uncertain Brigham Young. The story is pushed along by a couple that meets and falls in love.

After getting run out of towns Brigham decides they should get out of the country by going West, gold in California is considered an option. Brigham is led that they should try to build a life in the desert which is to become Salt Lake City. But food is hard to aquire and they suffer from hunger. Then crickets attack their crops. They try to stamp the crickets out with shovels with little success. Then, low and behold, sea gulls appear and eat up the crickets.

The final shot is of then current day Salt lake City where they have built a monument to the sea gull.
11 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice story, but historically off base. April 22 1999
By Michael Day - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
When I first saw this movie on the shelf at our local video store, I had to see it. Being a mormon myself and an LDS Church history buff, I had to see how Hollywood depicted my ancestors. The basic plot to the story is correct. The mormons were driven out of Nauvoo, Il., by angry and violent mobs, but the rest of the story is lacking in any real historical basis. Nice to see Hollywood recognizing a true and potentially a good American story to tell, I just wish they could get the facts straight.
11 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MORMON HISTORY INEPTLY DEPICTED Nov. 2 2001
By "scotsladdie" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
It was inevitable that sooner or later Darryl F. Zanuck would light upon the history of the Mormons for one of those grandoise movie epics on which his name is a U.S. trademark. This picture, from a story by Louis Bromfield, is actually more honest than many other Zanuck epics of the day - which really isn't saying much! The picture cost a whoppin (in 1940) 2.5 million dollars to make; you would think that they could have done more research in order to make the story more historically accurate. It's fatuous, dull and false. Its tepid love story between Linda Darnell and Tyrone Power is irrelevant, as it serves only to "gum" up the flow of action. More serious is its frightened skirting of the subject of polygamy, which for half a century kept the Latter Day Saints and the U.S. Government in state of warfare. Only once - and then in jest - is polygamy mentioned, and only two of uxorious Brigham Young's 27 wives shown (and only one is clearly designated as his wife). The migration of the Mormons across 1,384 miles of prairie and desert in search of religious freedom is a subject interesting to watch on film, however. Many of them walked on foot, were killed by Indians, died of starvation or merely perished in the brutal blizzards. Those who fought their way through mountain passes to Salt Lake Valley were determined to make a great city rise out of arid wasteland; here, at least Zanuck caught the spirit of these intrepid builders of a new world.
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