Wild Girl

Raoul Walsh

T. it.: Ragazza selvaggia. Sog.: dal racconto Salomy Jane’s Kiss di Bret Harte e dal dramma Salomy Jane di Paul Armstrong. Scen.: Doris Anderson, Edwin Justus Mayer. F.: Norbert Brodine. Mo.: Jack Murray. Scgf.: Joseph C. Wright. Mu.: Louis De Francesco. Int.: Charles Farrell (Billy), Joan Bennett (Salomy Jane), Ralph Bellamy (Jack Marbury), Eugene Pallette (Yuba Bill), Irving Pichel (Rufe Waters), Minna Gombell (Millie), Willard Robertson (Red Pete), Sarah Padden (Lize), Morgan Wallace (Baldwin), James Durkin (Madison Clay). Prod.: Fox Film Corporation 35mm. D.: 80’. Bn. 

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Walsh’s only Western between The Big Trail (1930) and Dark Command (1940) is a significant rediscovery, an affection­ate parody of the silent westerns Walsh himself made as a young director at Mu­tual (all of which have been lost) that evolves into a lyrical romance filmed with tenderness and sincerity. Based on an often filmed 1907 stage play, Salomy Jane (a fine 1914 version, directed by Lucius Henderson and William Nigh, was included in the most recent DVD collec­tion from the National Film Preservation Foundation, The West: 1898-1938), the film begins with the characters introduc­ing themselves to the audience as if they were stock figures in a commedia dell’arte play – Joan Bennett as the tomboy hero­ine, Salomy Jane; Charles Farrell as the handsome, silent stranger in town; Ralph Bellamy as the morally ambiguous gam­bler. Filming among the giant redwoods and vertiginous perspectives of the Se­quoia National Park in central California, Walsh constructs a West very unlike the familiar desert landscapes – a lush, fer­tile country, as seemingly crowded with people as the New York City of Me and My Gal. As in The Yellow Ticket, Walsh con­tinues to experiment with the expressive possibilities compositions in depth – rath­er than cutting away to a reaction shot to underline an emotion, he will instead shift focus to an actor in the foreground – cre­ating some saloon sequences that seem almost three-dimensional in their careful arrangement of action in space, and some views of the mountain valley as dazzling in their vertical composition as were the horizontal images of the widescreen Big Trail. Walsh would return to similar terri­tory for his 1941 High Sierra.
(Dave Kehr) 

Copy From

Restored in 2012 from a preservation negative made from a nitrate print in 1973 for picture, and a new scan of the sound track