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Will Rogers Collection, vol. 1 (1935)

Cast: Will Rogers, Dorothy Wilson, Russell Hardie, more...
Director: George Marshall
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Rating:
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Running Time: 86 min.
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Synopsis
Doubting Thomas (1935)

Doubting Thomas is the 1935 film version of George Kelly's satirical comedy The Torch Bearers, tailored for the talents of Will Rogers. Billie Burke, Will's wife, becomes so involved in a local amateur theatre group that she has no time for her husband. In retaliation, Will pretends to "go Hollywood," proving that he is stage-struck by doing an extended imitation of Bing Crosby. The film's highlight is the "opening night" scene, a cornucopia of missed cues, inappropriate costumes and collapsing scenery. An earlier, silent version of The Torch Bearers has unfortunately been lost to the ages. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Life Begins at 40 (1935)

A best-selling nonfictional book of the 1920s provided the title for this Will Rogers vehicle. Rogers plays a small town newspaper editor who prints all the news that fits his own homespun view of the world. Against the wishes of the town higher-ups, Rogers tries to clear the name of Richard Cromwell, a young man accused of a long-ago bank robbery. Along the way, the genial editor smooths the path of romance between Cromwell and sweet Rochelle Hudson. Life Begins at 40 contains some great bits of dialogue, notably Rogers' comment after unloading a box of canned goods that the American emblem should be changed from an eagle to a can opener. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)

Two of America's most distinguished humorists, Oklahoma's Will Rogers and Kentucky's Irvin S. Cobb, costar in Steamboat Round the Bend. Cobb isn't much of an actor, so it is Rogers who carries the comic weight of this fast-paced slice of Americana. Will uncharacteristically sticks to the script for most of the proceedings as the proprietor of a combination travelling waxworks and medicine show. The plot resolution hinges on a climactic steamboat race, in which Rogers' paddlewheeler is fed bit by bit into its own furnace when the fuel supply runs out. Steamboat Round the Bend was released posthumously after Rogers' sudden death, at which point Fox Studios tried unsuccessfully to create a "new" Will Rogers--in the form of his old friend and costar Irvin S. Cobb. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

In Old Kentucky (1935)

Oklahoma's own Will Rogers stars in In Old Kentucky. The storyline is in the grand tradition of most films about the Bluegrass State: There's a long-standing family feud, a pair of star-crossed lovers, and a crucial horse race. Rogers cuts through the banality with his seemingly off-the-cuff observations about Kentucky life in particular and the World in general. The best moment of In Old Kentucky has Rogers attempting to escape from jail by putting on blackface makeup and disguising himself as Bill "Bojangles" Robinson--whereupon he's forced to tap-dance to prove his identity. 1935's In Old Kentucky was the third film version of Charles T. Dazey's 1895 stage play. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide



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