Set in the High Sierras at the end of the Civil War, the “wild girl” of the title is Salome Jane Clay (Joan Bennett). Rather tomboyish and determined, she isn’t the vixen that the title suggests; as a matter of fact, she is upset and angry over a man who has tried to take liberties with her. A stranger Charles Farrell shows up, looking for the same man who has incurred Jane’s enmity. Farrell has a score to settle, for this man ruined the life and reputation of Farrell’s sister. He shoots him, then flees the town with Jane’s help. They are pursued by numerous individuals; as they overcome various obstacles, they find themselves falling in love. —Craig Butler
Raoul Walsh’s 52-year directorial career made him a Hollywood legend, and the slam-band nature of his best films means that he is still remembered while the memory of Allan Dwan, a director with an equally long career, has practically faded from public consciousness. Walsh was also an actor: He appeared in the first version of W. Somerset Maugham’s Rain renamed Sadie Thompson (1928) opposite Gloria Swanson in the title role. He would have played the Cisco Kid in his own film In Old Arizona (1928) if an errant jackrabbit hadn’t cost him his right eye by leaping through the windshield of his automobile. Warner Baxter filled the role and won an Oscar. Before John Ford and Nicholas Ray, it was Raoul Walsh who made the eye-patch almost as synonymous with a Hollywood director as Cecil B. DeMille’s jodhpurs.
He interned with the best, serving as assistant director and editor on D.W. Griffith’s racist masterpiece, The Clansman, better known as read more
Three greats pass away, trailers for new Tarantino and Bigelow films, expansive thoughts on Brian De Palma, and a pre-Code classic in full.