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Brigham Young


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Product Details

  • Actors: Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Dean Jagger, Brian Donlevy, Jane Darwell
  • Directors: Henry Hathaway
  • Writers: Lamar Trotti, Louis Bromfield
  • Producers: Darryl F. Zanuck, Kenneth Macgowan
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: May 24 2005
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008WJDY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,212 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. W. Stone on July 2 2012
Format: DVD
This film tells the story of the Mormon exodus to the west in the face of unremitting persecution, seen through the eyes of a participant (Tyrone Power). Dean Jagger plays a good Brigham Young, if perhaps a little less forceful than the real one, while Vincent Price is an excellent Joseph Smith.

Hollywood being Hollywood, there are places where dramatic effect is allowed to take precedence over historical accuracy. In particular, the murder of Joseph Smith is shown as coming after a jury has been terrorised by the mob into finding him guilty, when in fact it came before any trial could take place, so that the entire courtroom scene is fictitious. This, of course, was precisely why Joseph's enemies lynched him rather than permitting the law to take its course. They knew they could not convict him of anything serious enough to end his career.

Polygamy is not altogether ignored, but on the whole is rather played down, with only one of Brigham's wives appearing on screen, though the existence of others is mentioned. Presumably, going further than that would have been inappropriate for Hollywood family entertainment.

Later, Brigham Young is shown as leading the Saints across the frozen Mississippi (true thus far) just one jump ahead of the mob, and they all look back to see Nauvoo burning behind them. In fact, the evacuation took place over more than six months, with Brigham leading the first party out in February 1846, and the last not going until September. As far as I know, the City of Nauvoo was never burned (though the Temple was) but just gradually looted after its abandonment. It is however true that the Saints remained subject to vicious attacks long after they were clearly in process of leaving, and posed no possible threat or danger to anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29 2004
Format: DVD
Having given up on Hollywood's latest offerings, which are over-produced, over-digitalized, over-sexed, over-cussed, and over-violent, I am now exploring movies made before my time, in a kinder, gentler era. As such, I enjoyed Brigham Young very much. Although it is true that much of the story is not historically accurate, the descriptive comments that overlay the movie explain each departure from fact, and the reasons that it was done. As I knew something about the LDS church and its history, I was not disappointed or shocked to learn, e.g., that Brigham and Joseph Smith did not meet in the place depicted in the movie. The spirit of the story is well-retained, from the early persecutions of the Mormons to the settling of the Great Salt Lake Valley. The movie is well-cast and well-acted. I especially liked Dean Jagger as Brigham, and Linda Darnell as Zina - what a surprise to learn that she was only 16 at the time! She more than holds her own in scenes with far more experienced actors.
It is not true that the subject of polygamy is mentioned only once. It is confronted several times, including as the subject of a fierce argument between Linda Darnell and Tyrone Power. Brigham admits to having 12 wives at the time of the trek (he had 27, count 'em, by the end of his life), and there are other allusions to polygamy, e.g., the frequent presence of his second wife alongside his first. The script presents the viewer with a "this is how it was" attitude. You may decide whether you approve or disapprove.
Having the comments version available after we watched the movie greatly enhanced our understanding of the history. The comments include some interesting details about location filming and casting decisions.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It is a Hollywood Version of the trek the Mormons made across America to settle in the Great Salt Lake Valley in Utah featuring their leader Brigham Young. This filmed version varies greatly from the actual event, but Tyrone Power saves it with his good looks. Easy viewing and interesting scenes.
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By Margaret McGregor on Nov. 25 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A little slow and not totally factual but acting was good and the story line was solid, camera work was good for the time period.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 35 reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Definitely worth watching, but not all true to the facts March 17 2006
By R. C. Harris Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Considering that this movie was made in 1939 and 1940 it is an amazing achievement. The special effects are quite impressive for the time: The birds-eye view of the wagons leaving Nauvoo with the temple in center screen, Crossing the Missouri frozen river, Nauvoo homes and temple burning in the background across the river, all of the wagons and oxen crossing plains, rivers, climbing mountains, etc. But especially the near-final scene of the locusts and the seagulls (which were mostly all real).

Dean Jagger does a remarkable job as Brigham Young. He resembles him closely and even has a similar voice, according to a crew-member who was hired for coaching because he knew Brigham personally, and was around 16 when Brigham died in 1877 (50 years before filming this picture). Interesting trivia note: Dean Jagger was not LDS when he made this film but later married a Mormon woman and subsequently joined the church.

Vincent Price respected Joseph Smith greatly and had great reverence and admiration for him while playing the role of the prophet. His screentime is minimal but he does a fine job (in spite of being 10 years older than the man he was portraying).

The LDS first presidency approved the script, even though it veered from the truth on many points. They did this because they agreed that it helped make the picture more dramatic and exciting. Personally, I would prefer historical accuracy over romance or excitement, but that's how it was back then. Successful movies had a sort of recipe, and they wanted this one to follow that recipe as close as it could.

But all-in-all it paints an accurate picture of America in the 1840's and 50's and the trek of the early Mormon pioneers.

I recommend it, but if you can, watch the excellent commentary afterwards. It clears up fact from fiction and is very enlightening.

Film: 3 stars

DVD extras: 4 stars

Weighted average score: 4 stars
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5 Stars for James D'Arc's comments Nov. 27 2004
By JLS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This movie is not historically accurate, so it's important to watch the movie twice and listen to James D'Arc's comments during one viewing of the movie. He explains which scenes are for drama and why they were shown that way. He explains the true account of the trek west. In fact, I felt that his comments were far more valuable than the movie itself. The cricket scene is especially moving as he tells how the people in the scene were not acting when they fought those crickets. It was horrible and some did not think it was worth the money to be in that scene. However, as in the historical account of the Mormon Crickets, the seagulls came to their rescue after a prayer for help was said. Even though the movie is not completely accurate, it's still a touching drama.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
ONE OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES Aug. 9 2005
By a viewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I love this film. I am not a Mormon. I am a Catholic. I have great respect for the Mormon faith because of their values. Though, true, this film is historically inaccurate, the production values are first rate! It is true that the Mormons were run out of every town they tried to settle in. It is beyond reproach the way these people were treated just because "they were Mormons". The cinematography is superb!! The musical score in unforgettable and the acting is excellent, particularly Vincent Price as Joseph Smith. Jane Darwell has another memorable mother role as Eliza Kent. The struggles portrayed during their pioneering movement is inspiring and edifying. The DVD transfer is excellent and there are some nice extras in here namely, a great commentary and an A&E biography of Linda Darnell. Truly a great, inspirational film, no matter what your faith is!!
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Good Trek Movie June 29 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Having given up on Hollywood's latest offerings, which are over-produced, over-digitalized, over-sexed, over-cussed, and over-violent, I am now exploring movies made before my time, in a kinder, gentler era. As such, I enjoyed Brigham Young very much. Although it is true that much of the story is not historically accurate, the descriptive comments that overlay the movie explain each departure from fact, and the reasons that it was done. As I knew something about the LDS church and its history, I was not disappointed or shocked to learn, e.g., that Brigham and Joseph Smith did not meet in the place depicted in the movie. The spirit of the story is well-retained, from the early persecutions of the Mormons to the settling of the Great Salt Lake Valley. The movie is well-cast and well-acted. I especially liked Dean Jagger as Brigham, and Linda Darnell as Zina - what a surprise to learn that she was only 16 at the time! She more than holds her own in scenes with far more experienced actors.
It is not true that the subject of polygamy is mentioned only once. It is confronted several times, including as the subject of a fierce argument between Linda Darnell and Tyrone Power. Brigham admits to having 12 wives at the time of the trek (he had 27, count 'em, by the end of his life), and there are other allusions to polygamy, e.g., the frequent presence of his second wife alongside his first. The script presents the viewer with a "this is how it was" attitude. You may decide whether you approve or disapprove.
Having the comments version available after we watched the movie greatly enhanced our understanding of the history. The comments include some interesting details about location filming and casting decisions. I was amazed to learn that the locust scenes were actually filmed during a locust invasion in Nevada, and that this was a grueling experience for the cast and crew. Those are real bugs! I was also amused to hear that the depiction of Joseph Smith's murder was very controversial. It was considered extremely violent, and the director fought not to have it edited. The average TV cop show today is infinitely rougher than anything in this flick!
All in all, a very nice movie for a pleasant evening, with some popcorn and an open mind.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great Film about a Remarkable Chapter of American History July 2 2012
By M. W. Stone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This film tells the story of the Mormon exodus to the west in the face of unremitting persecution, seen through the eyes of a participant (Tyrone Power). Dean Jagger plays a good Brigham Young, if perhaps a little less forceful than the real one, while Vincent Price is an excellent Joseph Smith.

Hollywood being Hollywood, there are places where dramatic effect is allowed to take precedence over historical accuracy. In particular, the murder of Joseph Smith is shown as coming after a jury has been terrorised by the mob into finding him guilty, when in fact it came before any trial could take place, so that the entire courtroom scene is fictitious. This, of course, was precisely why Joseph's enemies lynched him rather than permitting the law to take its course. They knew they could not convict him of anything serious enough to end his career.

Polygamy is not altogether ignored, but on the whole is rather played down, with only one of Brigham's wives appearing on screen, though the existence of others is mentioned. Presumably, going further than that would have been inappropriate for Hollywood family entertainment.

Later, Brigham Young is shown as leading the Saints across the frozen Mississippi (true thus far) just one jump ahead of the mob, and they all look back to see Nauvoo burning behind them. In fact, the evacuation took place over more than six months, with Brigham leading the first party out in February 1846, and the last not going until September. As far as I know, the City of Nauvoo was never burned (though the Temple was) but just gradually looted after its abandonment. It is however true that the Saints remained subject to vicious attacks long after they were clearly in process of leaving, and posed no possible threat or danger to anyone.

The hardships of the Pioneer Trail are well portrayed, and, perhaps in a sign of changing attitudes, the Indians are shown in an entirely favourable light. The film ends on a really dramatic note, when the Saints are fighting desperately to save their first harvest from the crickets, and are saved at the last minute as the crickets in turn are eaten by seagulls. I understand that the cast had to perform this scene for real, there being no way to fake it with the special effects available in 1940, and found it every bit as unpleasant as it probably was first time round.

All in all, an excellent movie portrayal of one of the greatest pioneer epics of the American West. Shame it's only available in Region 1, as it deserves a wider audience. Still, multi region players aren't too expensive these days. Enjoy it.

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