The Big Trees
The Big Trees is a 1952 Western film starring Kirk Douglas and directed by Felix E. Feist. It was Kirk Douglas's final film for Warner Brothers, a film he did for free in exchange for the studio agreeing to release him from his long-term contract.
|The Big Trees|
|Directed by||Felix E. Feist|
|Screenplay by||John Twist and James R. Webb|
|Story by||Kenneth Earl|
|Produced by||Louis F. Edelman|
|Edited by||Clarence Kolster|
|Music by||Heinz Roemheld|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
In 1900, lumberman Jim Fallon (Kirk Douglas) greedily eyes the big redwood trees in the virgin region of northern California. The land is already settled by, among others, a religious group led by Elder Bixby (Charles Meredith) who have a religious relationship with the redwoods and refuse to log them, using smaller trees for lumber. Jim becomes infatuated with Bixby's daughter, Alicia (Eve Miller), though that does not change his plan to cheat the homesteaders. When Jim's right-hand man, Yukon Burns (Edgar Buchanan) finds out, he changes sides and leads the locals in resisting Jim. The locals combat Jim's loggers with a sympathetic judge with Jim fighting back by using Federal laws.
Elder Bixby is killed when a big sequoia tree is chopped down by Jim's men and falls on his cabin. Jim's desperate attempt to rescue Alicia's father saves him from being convicted of murder. Meanwhile, timber rival Cleve Gregg (Harry Cording) appears on the scene, making it a three-way fight. Gregg and his partner Frenchy LeCroix (John Archer) try to assassinate Jim, but end up killing Yukon instead. Jim has a dramatic change of heart and leads the settlers in defeating Gregg and Frenchy. Afterwards, Jim marries Alicia and settles down.
- Kirk Douglas as Jim Fallon
- Eve Miller as Sister Alicia Chadwick
- Patrice Wymore as Daisy Fisher
- Edgar Buchanan as Yukon Burns
- John Archer as "Frenchy" LeCroix
- Alan Hale, Jr. as "Tiny"
- Roy Roberts as Judge Crenshaw
- Charles Meredith as Elder Bixby
- Harry Cording as Cleve Gregg
- Ellen Corby as Sister Blackburn
- Duke Watson as Mr. Murdoch
- Lane Chandler as Brother Dorn
- Elizabeth Slifer as Sister Wallace
- Lilian Bond as Daisy's girl
- Michael McHale as Mr Keller (an accountant)
- William Challee as Brother Williams
The film includes establishing shots featuring Wayne Morris that were taken from the 1938 film Valley of the Giants. The film was made with the cooperation of the Hammond and Carlotta Lumber companies, and was shot on locations in Humboldt County, California.
The New York Times called it a "stormy and sometimes silly saga" based on a script "not terribly far removed from the Warners' Valley of the Giants"; its "plot and emoting seem to be as old as the giant redwoods with which they are concerned."
In a 1986 interview with David Letterman, this was one of two movies Kirk told the audience that they could skip in his filmography. The other was “Along the Great Divide.”
- "Original Print Information". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
- Smith, Richard Harland. "Articles". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
- The Big Trees is available for free download at the Internet Archive
- Hesseltine, Cassandra. "Complete Filmography of Humboldt County". Humboldt Del Norte Film Commission. Humboldt Del Norte Film Commission. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
- "A Saga of Lumber Operators". The New York Times. February 6, 1952. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
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