The Fighting Kentuckian (1949)

100 mins | Western | 5 October 1949

Director:

George Waggner

Writer:

George Waggner

Producer:

John Wayne

Cinematographer:

Lee Garmes

Production Designer:

James Sullivan

Production Company:

Republic Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was A Strange Caravan . According to the film's spoken introduction, the film's plot was based upon "a little known bit of American history, that Congress granted four townships of land in Alabama to French officers of Napoleon's defeated armies and their families." HR reported that the film was shot in Agoura, CA, and that a French cultural decoration, the Palms of the Officier d'Academy, was to be awarded to Donald Overall-Hatswell for his technical direction. His onscreen credit, however, was for uniforms. Modern sources include Chuck Roberson in the ... More Less

The working title of this film was A Strange Caravan . According to the film's spoken introduction, the film's plot was based upon "a little known bit of American history, that Congress granted four townships of land in Alabama to French officers of Napoleon's defeated armies and their families." HR reported that the film was shot in Agoura, CA, and that a French cultural decoration, the Palms of the Officier d'Academy, was to be awarded to Donald Overall-Hatswell for his technical direction. His onscreen credit, however, was for uniforms. Modern sources include Chuck Roberson in the cast. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
17 Sep 1949.
---
Cue
17 Sep 1949.
---
Daily Variety
14 Apr 1949.
---
Daily Variety
12 Sep 49
p. 4.
Film Daily
15 Sep 49
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 49
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 49
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Apr 49
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Apr 49
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Sep 49
p. 3, 4
Los Angeles Times
30 Sep 49
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Sep 49
p. 18.
New York Times
19 Sep 49
p. 18.
Variety
14 Sep 49
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A John Wayne Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Orch
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
Makeup
Hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Grip
SOURCES
SONGS
"Let Me Down, Oh Hangman" and "Kentucky Marching Song," music traditional, lyrics by George Waggner, arrangement by George Antheil.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
A Strange Caravan
Release Date:
5 October 1949
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 19 September 1949
Production Date:
early March--late April 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Republic Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
9 September 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2570
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
100
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13803
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In the early nineteenth century, after Congress has granted four townships in Alabama to a group of Napoleon's exiled soldiers, the men and their families, under the leadership of Col. Georges Geraud and Gen. Paul DeMarchand, settle Demopolis, a town two hundred miles from Mobile. One day in Mobile, at the end of the War of 1812, Kentucky soldier John Breen tries to evade the rest of his regiment, who are marching across Alabama on their way to Kentucky, by seeking shelter in the carriage of DeMarchand's beautiful daughter Fleurette. Breen believes that he is in the clear, until he sees his friend, Willie Paine, lagging behind the regiment. Sure that Willie will recognize him, Breen, who has fallen instantly in love with Fleurette, drives away with her. While the couple is parked on a road outside town, Fleurette's fiancé, Blake Randolph, Randolph's friend, George Hayden, and Geraud approach along with the sheriff, and Fleurette explains to Breen that the carriage he has commandeered belongs to Randolph. The sheriff accuses Breen of assaulting a man at a tavern, but is prevented from arresting him by the arrival of the Kentucky regiment. Ten days later, Breen arrives with his regiment in Demopolis, and is invited to attend a soiree to celebrate Fleurette's engagement to Randolph. While Breen and Fleurette become reacquainted, a brawl breaks out between the rivermen, who are controlled by Hayden, and the soldiers. From Geraud, Breen learns that local people resent the French settlers. The next morning, the regiment leaves without Willie, who has been instructed by Capt. Dan Carroll to stay behind and keep Breen out of trouble. Later, Breen ... +


In the early nineteenth century, after Congress has granted four townships in Alabama to a group of Napoleon's exiled soldiers, the men and their families, under the leadership of Col. Georges Geraud and Gen. Paul DeMarchand, settle Demopolis, a town two hundred miles from Mobile. One day in Mobile, at the end of the War of 1812, Kentucky soldier John Breen tries to evade the rest of his regiment, who are marching across Alabama on their way to Kentucky, by seeking shelter in the carriage of DeMarchand's beautiful daughter Fleurette. Breen believes that he is in the clear, until he sees his friend, Willie Paine, lagging behind the regiment. Sure that Willie will recognize him, Breen, who has fallen instantly in love with Fleurette, drives away with her. While the couple is parked on a road outside town, Fleurette's fiancé, Blake Randolph, Randolph's friend, George Hayden, and Geraud approach along with the sheriff, and Fleurette explains to Breen that the carriage he has commandeered belongs to Randolph. The sheriff accuses Breen of assaulting a man at a tavern, but is prevented from arresting him by the arrival of the Kentucky regiment. Ten days later, Breen arrives with his regiment in Demopolis, and is invited to attend a soiree to celebrate Fleurette's engagement to Randolph. While Breen and Fleurette become reacquainted, a brawl breaks out between the rivermen, who are controlled by Hayden, and the soldiers. From Geraud, Breen learns that local people resent the French settlers. The next morning, the regiment leaves without Willie, who has been instructed by Capt. Dan Carroll to stay behind and keep Breen out of trouble. Later, Breen tries to visit Fleurette at home, but the butler turns him away. A few minutes later, Randolph calls, and Breen sees him admitted without hesitation. A disappointed Breen rides into town, where he tries to smooth over a disagreement between Willie and some rivermen at Hayden's tavern. Hayden demands that Willie and Breen leave Demopolis, but Ann Logan, Hayden's mistress, interrupts their dispute, claiming that Breen is a surveyor she met years earlier. Some time later, Ann delivers some surveying equipment to the cabin shared by Breen and Willie and explains that the equipment belonged to her fiancé, who was killed when his cabin burned down in what a jury determined was a drunken accident. She then persuades Breen that Hayden had actually arranged for the surveyor's murder. Breen agrees to help Ann bring Hayden to justice, and the following morning, he and Willie set up the equipment in a nearby field. Randolph spots Breen and immediately consults with Hayden. When Randolph worries that Breen will uncover their scheme to steal the French land grant, Hayden reveals that his cohort, Beau Merritt, has Breen under observation. Meanwhile, when Breen discovers a boundary marker in the field, he is shot and wounded. Breen and Willie proceed to a nearby cabin, where a young seamstress named Marie dresses his wound. Just then, Fleurette arrives to deliver her unfinished wedding dress to Marie. Before Breen can make much headway with Fleurette, Randolph also appears, but Breen learns that there will be a party that evening at the DeMarchand home and decides to attend, even though he has not been uninvited. There, Randolph wanrs him that the marriage will proceed despite his attempts to stop it. Later, however, Breen asks Fleurette to marry him, and she accepts. That night, after the party, Breen comes for Fleurette and finds DeMarchand waiting for him. DeMarchand explains that the only hope the unpopular French immigrants have for success in their new country is to forge alliances with influential Americans like Randolph. Temporarily unsettled, Breen agrees not to take Fleurette away that evening. When Breen returns home, Geraud is playing chess with Willie. He shows the men a letter from the former surveyor and a copy of the grant. Expressing his fears that some of the French may have settled outside the boundaries, he asks Breen to investigate. When Geraud reveals that the letter arrived only a few days earlier, Breen realizes that Ann's story must have been a lie. In town, Breen sneaks into Ann's room, where he overhears her and Beau plot to steal $100,000 from Randolph. When Breen demands an explanation, Beau reveals that thanks to Randolph and Hayden's machinations, the French have settled on land that does not belong to them, and Hayden's men plan to drive them from town in the morning. Breen tries to expose Hayden and Randolph to DeMarchand, but DeMarchand is skeptical of his claims and allows Hayden to arrest him. The day of the wedding, Fleurette informs Randolph that she is in love with Breen. Meanwhile, on the chance that Breen was telling the truth, DeMarchand has ordered the French settlers to congregate at his house. Learning that Hayden's men are actually attacking the French, Randolph is outraged and orders him to stop his men. Hayden then tricks Randolph into sharing Breen's cell, leaving the door unlatched. Realizing that Hayden intends to shoot them when they try to escape, Randolph, who genuinely loves Fleurette, knocks Breen unconscious and takes the bullet meant for him. Breen then succeeds in evading Hayden. After he discovers Ann's body near Randolph's empty safe, he rides to DeMarchand's to join the fray. Breen kills Hayden, but the rivermen are gaining ground on the outnumbered French when the Kentucky regiment, summoned by Willie, drives them back. Some time later, Breen and Fleurette are married. +

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.