The Wagons Roll at Night (1941)

83-84 mins | Drama | 26 April 1941

Director:

Ray Enright

Cinematographer:

Sid Hickox

Editor:

Mark Richards

Production Designer:

Hugh Reticker

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Francis Wallace's novel was first published as a serial in The Saturday Evening Post (11 Apr--16 May 1936). The film's working title was Carnival . According to production notes included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, trick photography was not used to make it appear as if Sig Rumann and Eddie Albert were in the lion cage. The actors themselves actually played their scenes with the lions. Some scenes were filmed on location at Sherwood Lake near Los Angeles. Although the Var review claimed that Sylvia Sidney returned to the screen after "several years away from pictures," she was actually absent for only two years. Wallace's novel was the basis for the 1937 Warner Bros. film Kid Galahad , directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis and Wayne Morris. Humphrey Bogart played a gangster in that film. In 1962, UA made a musical version of the story, directed by Phil Karlson and starring Elvis Presley. Both of these films, like the novel, were set in the boxing ... More Less

Francis Wallace's novel was first published as a serial in The Saturday Evening Post (11 Apr--16 May 1936). The film's working title was Carnival . According to production notes included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, trick photography was not used to make it appear as if Sig Rumann and Eddie Albert were in the lion cage. The actors themselves actually played their scenes with the lions. Some scenes were filmed on location at Sherwood Lake near Los Angeles. Although the Var review claimed that Sylvia Sidney returned to the screen after "several years away from pictures," she was actually absent for only two years. Wallace's novel was the basis for the 1937 Warner Bros. film Kid Galahad , directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis and Wayne Morris. Humphrey Bogart played a gangster in that film. In 1962, UA made a musical version of the story, directed by Phil Karlson and starring Elvis Presley. Both of these films, like the novel, were set in the boxing world. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 May 1941.
---
Film Daily
25 Apr 41
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Nov 40
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Nov 40
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Apr 41
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 Apr 41
p. 29.
New York Times
10 May 41
p. 20.
Variety
30 Apr 41
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Orch arr
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Unit mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by the novel Kid Galahad by Francis Wallace (Boston, 1936).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Carnival
Release Date:
26 April 1941
Production Date:
early October--mid November 1940
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
26 April 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10429
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
83-84
Length(in feet):
7,575
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After an escaped lion is held at bay by small town resident Matt Varney, Nick Coster, the owner of Coster's Circus, offers him a job assisting the circus lion tamer, Hoffman the Great. Nick's original plan is simply to use Matt as a gimmick to attract the townspeople, but Matt shows a natural ability with the lions so Nick hires him permanently. Flo Lorraine, Nick's girl friend and the circus fortune teller, befriends Matt, all the while believing that he is too nice to work in a circus. One day, when Hoffman is too drunk to perform, Matt takes over and does so well that Nick fires Hoffman. Seeking revenge, Hoffman sneaks into the circus, picks a fight with Matt and is badly clawed by a rogue lion. Afraid that Hoffman might die, Flo takes Matt to Nick's nearby family farm to hide out, even though Nick has issued strict orders for everyone to keep away from his sister Mary because he wants her to associate with a better class of people. When Nick learns where Matt is hiding, he rushes to the farm, but by the time he arrives, Mary and Matt have already fallen in love. Despite Nick's orders, Matt cannot forget about Mary, and reveals his feelings to Flo, who mistakenly believes that Matt is in love with her. When she realizes that he loves Mary, she advises him to return to her. Nick is determined to prevent his sister from marrying Matt and, after Flo leaves the circus because she is in love with Matt, decides to force Matt to work with mankilling lion Caesar. Flo stops ... +


After an escaped lion is held at bay by small town resident Matt Varney, Nick Coster, the owner of Coster's Circus, offers him a job assisting the circus lion tamer, Hoffman the Great. Nick's original plan is simply to use Matt as a gimmick to attract the townspeople, but Matt shows a natural ability with the lions so Nick hires him permanently. Flo Lorraine, Nick's girl friend and the circus fortune teller, befriends Matt, all the while believing that he is too nice to work in a circus. One day, when Hoffman is too drunk to perform, Matt takes over and does so well that Nick fires Hoffman. Seeking revenge, Hoffman sneaks into the circus, picks a fight with Matt and is badly clawed by a rogue lion. Afraid that Hoffman might die, Flo takes Matt to Nick's nearby family farm to hide out, even though Nick has issued strict orders for everyone to keep away from his sister Mary because he wants her to associate with a better class of people. When Nick learns where Matt is hiding, he rushes to the farm, but by the time he arrives, Mary and Matt have already fallen in love. Despite Nick's orders, Matt cannot forget about Mary, and reveals his feelings to Flo, who mistakenly believes that Matt is in love with her. When she realizes that he loves Mary, she advises him to return to her. Nick is determined to prevent his sister from marrying Matt and, after Flo leaves the circus because she is in love with Matt, decides to force Matt to work with mankilling lion Caesar. Flo stops at Nick's farm and begs Mary to take Matt away from the circus. By the time they return, Matt is already in the ring with Caesar. Without Matt's knowledge, Nick has removed the blanks from his gun, making him defenseless against the lion. Mary pleads with Nick to save Matt and, out of love for his sister, he draws Caesar away from Matt. Before the badly mauled Nick dies, he asks Flo to see that Matt and Mary are wed. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.