Let Freedom Ring (1939)

Passed   |    |  Drama, Musical, Romance


Let Freedom Ring (1939) Poster

Railroad owner Jim Knox uses everything to get the land he needs for his new railroad cheaply. Everybody hopes, that Steve Logan ends his regime, but he allies with Jim Knox. Nobody knows, ... See full summary »


6.4/10
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1 December 2004 | theowinthrop
Mr. Arnold Wonders, "Why Bother?"
LET FREEDOM RING is a well intentioned musical comedy about the post-Civil War age of the robber barons. So, who should play a smiling, unscrupulous business tycoon but that most realistic one Edward Arnold - in the year that he also played Boss Jim Taylor in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (and shortly before his fascist minded tycoon in Capra's MEET JOHN DOE). Only his attempt to dominate a small western town that is in the way of his planned railroad somehow comes to the attention of the U.S. Government, who send Nelson Eddy as a special agent to unite the townspeople to confront and defeat the nefarious Arnold. This should tip one off as to this being a Hollywood fantasy. The government in Washington in the 1870s would not only have not bothered sending any agent out to do this, but it would have sent word to Arnold (with palm outstretched) that it was there to assist him in his land grabbing activities. If you doubt me, read Allan Nevins' biography of Stuyvesant Fish, President Grant's Secretary of State - the most honest man in his government. Nevins chronicles the series of scandals that tarnished Grant's two terms, several dealing with railroads.

It is a disparate group that Eddy has to bring together. Besides his love interest (Virginia Bruce) there is the Mayor (Guy Kibbee), the local newspaper editor (Raymond Walburn), the railroad's leading bully boy (a misguided one, as it turns out) Victor MacLaghlan, and such strong, firm citizens as Charles Butterworth. Yet, at the end of this cute little film Eddy manages to get the townspeople united against Arnold and his moneyed army. They sing their defiance in Edward's face. Watch the conclusions of this bizaare movie closely. Arnold is not defeated at the end...he justs realizes he has miscalculated in that he picked a route that goes through a town full of lunatics. He shakes his head in bewilderment, picks himself up (probably realizing that the route through some more promising town is better), and leaves. Knowing how smart Edward was, he probably did build his railroad through a better route after all!

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