Buffalo Bill (1944)

Approved   |    |  Biography, Romance, Western


Buffalo Bill (1944) Poster

The story of William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, legendary westerner, from his days as an army scout to his later activities as owner of a Wild West show.


6.4/10
1,217

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  • Matt Briggs in Buffalo Bill (1944)
  • Anthony Quinn and Matt Briggs in Buffalo Bill (1944)
  • Joel McCrea in Buffalo Bill (1944)
  • Maureen O'Hara and Joel McCrea in Buffalo Bill (1944)
  • Maureen O'Hara and Joel McCrea in Buffalo Bill (1944)
  • Maureen O'Hara and Joel McCrea in Buffalo Bill (1944)

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9 November 2004 | bkoganbing
6
| As Buffalo Bill saw himself.
If William F. Cody had lived until 1944 he would have loved this film. Most of all he would have approved of the casting of Hollywood's most straight arrow hero Joel McCrea as himself. That's the image Cody liked to convey even if it wasn't exactly the truth.

The real Cody was a brave enough hero all right and this film does mention some of the highlights of his real life, the buffalo hunt with Grand Duke Alexei of Russia, the hand to hand fight with Yellow Hand at War Bonnet Gorge, and the formation of his wild west show.

The trouble was the real Cody got into show business and he was ballyhooed out of all proportion to his real accomplishments. And Cody was lent himself admirably to exploitation.

The movie is the kind of ballyhoo that Cody would have approved. Cody's chief publicist in real life was Ned Buntline who is faithfully portrayed here by Thomas Mitchell. Maureen O'Hara is Louisa Frederici Cody and she's the faithful, but eastern bred wife. No hint of the real marriage problems that plagued the Codys.

Linda Darnell and Edgar Buchanan are in this film and I don't really know why. Darnell is an Indian school mistress and Buchanan is a grizzled old army trooper. No real reason for either of them in the film. Darnell is killed at War Bonnet Gorge and she must have been the first squaw who rode into battle. Buchanan's character is also left hanging in the air. Anthony Quinn is Cheyenne chief Yellow Hand and is Cody's worthy adversary on the screen.

Buffalo Bill Cody's real contribution was the wild west show. Cody had many imitators, but he was the original. Until Hollywood took over with the making of the first silent westerns, these shows created the myths surrounding the winning of the west. Sadly that part of Cody's life is given short shrift.

But Buffalo Bill would have loved this film. Whether today's audience would is open to speculation.

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