The Big Trees (1952)

90 mins | Drama | 29 March 1952

Director:

Felix E. Feist

Producer:

Louis F. Edelman

Cinematographer:

Bert Glennon

Production Designer:

Edward Carrere

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The Big Trees was filmed on location in Williams Grove near Eureka, CA, the town of Orrick, CA and at properties belonging to the Carlotta Lumber Co. and the Hammond Lumber Co. According to studio press information in the production file on the film in the AMPAS Library, students from Humboldt State College played some of the parts of religious colonists and sang in the choir. The DV review noted that the picture incorporated footage, and certain plot elements, from the 1938 Warner Bros. film Valley of the Giants (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, Jul 1953 HR news items add Cliff Lyons, Don Turner, Lane Chandler, William Vincent and Frank Hagney to the cast. A radio version of the film aired on Lux Radio Theatre on 2 Nov 1954, starring Van Heflin and Nancy Gates in the Kirk Douglas and Eve Miller ... More Less

The Big Trees was filmed on location in Williams Grove near Eureka, CA, the town of Orrick, CA and at properties belonging to the Carlotta Lumber Co. and the Hammond Lumber Co. According to studio press information in the production file on the film in the AMPAS Library, students from Humboldt State College played some of the parts of religious colonists and sang in the choir. The DV review noted that the picture incorporated footage, and certain plot elements, from the 1938 Warner Bros. film Valley of the Giants (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, Jul 1953 HR news items add Cliff Lyons, Don Turner, Lane Chandler, William Vincent and Frank Hagney to the cast. A radio version of the film aired on Lux Radio Theatre on 2 Nov 1954, starring Van Heflin and Nancy Gates in the Kirk Douglas and Eve Miller roles. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
9 Feb 1952.
---
Daily Variety
5 Feb 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 Feb 52
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 51
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 1951
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 1951
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 1951
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jul 1951
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 1951
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 52
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
9 Feb 52
pp. 1229-30.
New York Times
6 Feb 52
p. 24.
Variety
6 Feb 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
From a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Soubrette on the Police Gazette," music and lyrics by M. K. Jerome and Jack Scholl.
DETAILS
Release Date:
29 March 1952
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 5 February 1952
Production Date:
15 June--early August 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
17 February 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1493
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
90
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1900, after a lumber mill deal in Wisconsin almost lands Jim Fallon in jail, he convinces a syndicate to support his effort to take over land in the Northern California redwood country. Due to an act of Congress, land claims filed under the Stone and Timber Act of 1865 are no longer valid, and Fallon proposes to claim the newly available timber illegally. To convince his men to go with him to California, even though he cannot pay them, Fallon concocts a false fight with a rival lumberman, which is stopped by a stranger named Yukon Burns. Impressed by Yukon's honest face, Fallon dispatches him to the area near Eureka, California, with instructions to scout the situation. When Fallon arrives in California with his timber boss, Frenchy LeCroix, he learns that Yukon has promised the homesteaders reimbursement for the full value of their land. Among the grateful settlers is a religious community headed by Elder Bixby. His widowed daughter, Alicia Chadwick, invites Fallon to dinner, at which she plans to demonstrate the sacred qualities of the giant sequoia. Later, when Fallon informs Yukon, whom he has nicknamed "Lucky," that he has no intention of paying the settlers for the land, Yukon threatens to end their arrangement, and Fallon pretends to back down. Alicia continues her attempt to persuade Fallon not to log the trees, but he is interested in her only as a romantic partner. When Fallon's men arrive in town, Yukon realizes that he intends to give each one the money necessary to file a claim, then take over all the land himself. Yukon, who has come to like ... +


In 1900, after a lumber mill deal in Wisconsin almost lands Jim Fallon in jail, he convinces a syndicate to support his effort to take over land in the Northern California redwood country. Due to an act of Congress, land claims filed under the Stone and Timber Act of 1865 are no longer valid, and Fallon proposes to claim the newly available timber illegally. To convince his men to go with him to California, even though he cannot pay them, Fallon concocts a false fight with a rival lumberman, which is stopped by a stranger named Yukon Burns. Impressed by Yukon's honest face, Fallon dispatches him to the area near Eureka, California, with instructions to scout the situation. When Fallon arrives in California with his timber boss, Frenchy LeCroix, he learns that Yukon has promised the homesteaders reimbursement for the full value of their land. Among the grateful settlers is a religious community headed by Elder Bixby. His widowed daughter, Alicia Chadwick, invites Fallon to dinner, at which she plans to demonstrate the sacred qualities of the giant sequoia. Later, when Fallon informs Yukon, whom he has nicknamed "Lucky," that he has no intention of paying the settlers for the land, Yukon threatens to end their arrangement, and Fallon pretends to back down. Alicia continues her attempt to persuade Fallon not to log the trees, but he is interested in her only as a romantic partner. When Fallon's men arrive in town, Yukon realizes that he intends to give each one the money necessary to file a claim, then take over all the land himself. Yukon, who has come to like the settlers, then demands Fallon's money at gunpoint. Fallon wins the ensuing fistfight and offers Yukon money to return to Alaska, but he decides to stay and help the homesteaders fight Fallon. Later Fallon quarrels with Frenchy, and Cleve Gregg, a rival timberman, offers the timber boss a job with him. Meanwhile, Yukon, who is now the town marshal, tries to rouse the community to fight Fallon, but they refuse to use violence against him. Alicia and Yukon then contrive an "accident" to destroy the claims filed by Fallon's men, and use the resulting delay to cut and sell enough of the smaller trees to earn the money to file for the land themselves. Fallon accuses them of cutting trees on land they do not own, but after they plead guilty, Judge Crenshaw sentences them to thirty days hard labor cutting trees on government land. When Fallon's funds run out, and his men demand payment, Frenchy suggests that he form a partnership with Gregg. As a safeguard, Fallon asks his old lover, Daisy Fisher, to buy the local dam under her real name, Dora Figg. Now that he controls the dam, the settlers cannot get their timber to market. At Frenchy's urging, Fallon's men start to cut the sequoia, and one falls on the Bixby cabin, killing Alicia's father. As head of the company, Fallon is arrested for murder, but Alicia, who is starting to fall in love with him, intervenes, stating that Fallon tried to save her father's life. Now Frenchy and his allies plot to kill Fallon, and one night, when Fallon and Yukon leave the hotel, shots are fired, killing Yukon. Angered by the death of his friend, Fallon sends for the judge and agrees to plead guilty to fraud to stop Frenchy and Gregg. However, when he asks Daisy to sign papers relinquishing her ownership of the dam, she reveals that she was tired of being used by Fallon and has already sold it to Frenchy. Fallon informs the homesteaders, and Alicia suggests that they use an old mining railroad on their property to bypass the dam. They deliver several loads before Frenchy's men cut through a trestle, and push an engine and caboose, in which Alicia is working, toward the bridge. Moments before the bridge collapses, Fallon separates the caboose from the train. Alicia is saved, but with the bridge destroyed, the remaining timber cannot be sold. Fallon finally convinces the settlers to blow up the dam. Frenchy dies in the explosion, and a reformed Fallon marries Alicia and settles on the land which remains in the hands of the homesteaders. +

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.