Review: ‘The Girl of the Golden West’

This musical mustanger with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy finds the stars not only out of their element, but hemmed in by a two-hour melange of the great outdoors, Mexican bandits, early Spanish-Californian atmosphere and musical boredom. It's 45 minutes before the stellar pair meet up for the first time, and half as long before MacDonald makes her first appearance.

This musical mustanger with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy finds the stars not only out of their element, but hemmed in by a two-hour melange of the great outdoors, Mexican bandits, early Spanish-Californian atmosphere and musical boredom. It’s 45 minutes before the stellar pair meet up for the first time, and half as long before MacDonald makes her first appearance.

The Girl of the Golden West is from an old David Belasco play, authored and produced by him in 1905.

MacDonald is rarely convincing as The Girl who runs the mining town’s lone saloon, and Nelson Eddy is a creampuff Mexican bad man. Walter Pidgeon as the lovesick sheriff is another miss-out.

Sigmund Romberg score allows for but two duets by the stars, ‘Who Are We to Say?’ and ‘Dance with Me, My Love’, a sort of tango ballad. ‘Mariachie’ is the sock production number, quite well done in the governor’s Spanish courtyard as part of the annual rancho fiesta.

The Girl of the Golden West

Production

M-G-M. Director Robert Z. Leonard; Producer William Anthony McGuire; Screenplay Isabel Dawn, Boyce DeGaw; Camera Oliver T. Marsh; Editor W. Donn Hayes; Music Sigmund Romberg; Art Director Cedric Gibbons

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1938. Running time: 120 MIN.

With

Jeanette MacDonald Nelson Eddy Walter Pidgeon Leo Carrillo Buddy Ebsen Leonard Penn
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