- Directed by Ray Enright
- June 11, 1942
In Nome, Alaska a miner and his partner fight to save their claim from a corrupt commissioner and his fellow conspirators.
The Spoilers stars Randolph Scott, John Wayne, and Marlene Dietrich whose characters are in a love triangle that you know John Wayne will win. He almost always does. Dietrich is the sultry saloon owner Cherry Malotte. Marlene Dietrich shows you why she was a silver screen sex symbol as she slinks about the screen in very form fitting dresses.
Randolph Scott is Commissioner McNamara. Scott is a little slimy and a little smarmy as the wannabe threat to Wayne winning the heart of Cherry. John Wayne is Roy Glennister who operates a relatively small mine with Al Dextry (Harry Carey). At heart Glennister is an okay guy but he is clearly stringing along Cherry.
Margaret Lindsay plays Helen Chester who is the niece of the local magistrate Judge Horace Stillman. Stillman is played by Samuel S. Hinds who is probably best known as Peter Bailey, the father of James Stewart’s George Bailey. This is the second outing with John Wayne that I am aware of following Seven Sinners which also starred Marlene Dietrich.
The plot by the villains is rather unique here (not counting the other versions of The Spoilers). I have not seen them yet so I cannot comment on too many of the details but assuming they follow a similar pattern this a group of con artists setting out to con the entire town of Nome, Alaska and swindle the profitable claims in an act of claim jumping with the appearance of legality. Points on originality there.
The story is entertaining with the comedy giving way to a more serious tone by the end of the film. If they kept up the style of jokes in the beginning this movie could have been quite hilarious and truthfully a bit in line with the early work of the Zuckers. Still though it is an interesting enough story with plenty of entertaining moments. The tone of the film is uneven until it gives way to a more conventional action story.
One thing I like, and I cannot quite pin down why, but I like how dirty they portray the town of Nome. In the outdoor scenes the place is just a mudhole. I guess that lends a bit of authenticity to everything.
The Spoilers a good old-school romantic comedy style Western. If you like older films, I recommend this. For the people who like newer movies this may not be for you, but you should try it out.