The Young Land

  • 1959
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Western

Hopper plays a young malcontent who has goaded a respected Hispanic into a fatal gun battle in the new state of California in the year 1848. His jury trial is watched with great interest by the largely Spanish-speaking citizens of the new state, who consider it to be a test of the Anglo system of justice. When a guilty verdict is reached, the judge (O'Herlihy)...read more

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Hopper plays a young malcontent who has goaded a respected Hispanic into a fatal gun battle in the new state of California in the year 1848. His jury trial is watched with great interest by the largely Spanish-speaking citizens of the new state, who consider it to be a test of the Anglo

system of justice. When a guilty verdict is reached, the judge (O'Herlihy) faces a difficult sentencing task. He gives the gunman a 20-year suspended sentence, provided that Hopper agree never to wear a weapon again. The disgruntled youth then grabs a gun from deputy marshal Ketchum and challenges

the sheriff, Wayne, to a duel. Wayne kills Hopper, rendering the entire test case moot. Two scions of cinematic institutions--producer Ford, the son of director John, and actor Wayne, the son of actor John--here demonstrate the futility of eugenics, at least as applied to pictures. Hopper is fine

in an early starring role much hindered by screenplay redundancies and inept direction. This film was the third in a series of period dramas purportedly recounting truth in American history from financier Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, whose inherited wealth permitted him such self-indulgences. The

first of the three, THE SEARCHERS (1956), was directed by producer Ford's father, John, and starred star Wayne's progenitor, John. The second was THE MISSOURI TRAVELER (1958). The films were not made in chronological order of release; THE YOUNG LAND had been scheduled for release by Walt Disney's

Buena Vista in 1957, but was shelved for two years before Columbia picked it up. Production costs were high for what is essentially a courtroom drama; art director Okey and his staff constructed an entire Mexican pueblo just for the film, complete with a plaza, a church, houses, a cantina, and a

jail. The director took full advantage of the constructions; the film has hardly any closeups. The tune "Strange Are the Ways of Love" by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington, was Oscar-nominated for Best Song.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Hopper plays a young malcontent who has goaded a respected Hispanic into a fatal gun battle in the new state of California in the year 1848. His jury trial is watched with great interest by the largely Spanish-speaking citizens of the new state, who consid… (more)

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