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 »

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4 April 2006 | cutter-12
| Poor Ben Hecht
He may have written this script in the hopes that it would have been given a more serious treatment by MGM. Instead his rail against internal industrial fascism on the eve of America's entry into WW2 to fight external fascists was turned into a starring vehicle for Nelson Eddy of all people. Hecht must have gone on an extended bender when he heard his story was going to be punctuated by several of Eddy's baritone interludes.

Does it all gel? No. It's a bit of shizophrenic curiosity piece to say the least. But Hecht's message resonates now as it did then, and the picture does provide many pleasing moments and is actually quite entertaining to sit through.

Eddy is likable and is even believable as a two fisted hero. His scenes with Victor McLaglen, actually beating the hell out of McLaglen in the last act, are a hoot. McLaglen is always a fun ham to watch and here he's playing his usual larger than life Irishman, though more like his turn in the Quiet Man than his lovable appearances as the Sergeant in John Ford's Cavalry trilogy. McLaglen was branded (no doubt unfairly) with the reputation of being a crypto-fascist around the time this came out. This role probably had a lot to do with it.

As far as villains go, Edward Arnold played the most menacing corporate/political wolves captured on film in that era. Here he's at it again, playing Dick Cheney to good effect a couple of years before Dick Cheney was even hatched. He also appeared in a very similar role in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington the very same year as this release.

This film is uneven, at times unbelievable, and very corny. It lands short of being good but it's still fun, thought provoking (what with the current political climate), and worth seeing.

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