An American Romance
Warner Archive Collection (series)
Arriving penniless in the U.S., Czech immigrant Steve Dangos soon realizes America truly is the land of opportunity. Starting out in the iron mines of Minnesota, he heads to the steel mills of Chicago, and wealth and power beyond his wildest dreams.
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- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 2 hours, 1 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: January 19, 2010
- Originally Released: 1944
- Label: Warner Archive Collection (MOD)
- Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame
Performers, Cast and Crew:
|Starring||Brian Donlevy, Ann Richards, Walter Abel, John Qualen & Ann Richards|
|Directed by||King Vidor|
|Screenwriting by||Herbert Dalmas & William Ludwig|
|Composition by||Louis Gruenberg|
|Director of Photography:||Harold Rosson|
Description by OLDIES.com:
Brian Donlevy goes from rags to riches in King Vidor's ambitious Technicolor ode to hard work, family and the American Dream. Arriving penniless in the United States, Czech immigrant Steve Dangos (Donlevy) soon realizes America truly is the land of opportunity. Starting out in the iron mines of Minnesota, Dangos heads to the steel mills of Chicago, a decision that will earn him wealth and power beyond his wildest dreams - and put him at odds with his workers when they try to unionize. Produced over a two-year period at the then-enormous sum of $3 million, An American Romance is a bold and gripping saga in the Vidor tradition. "No other American director ever matched Vidor's sense of personal struggle, or the muscular poetry he found to express it" (Tony Rayns, Time Out Film Guide).
Director King Vidor intended AN AMERICAN ROMANCE as the third entry in his "War, Wheat and Steel" trilogy (the War had been covered in THE BIG PARADE, while Wheat was dispensed with in OUR DAILY BREAD). Two years in production, the film cost nearly $3 million-little of which actually shows up on screen due to heavy post-production editing and rearranging of scenes. Brian Donlevy stars as immigrant laborer Steve Dangon, who becomes convinced early on that the only way he'll get anywhere in life is to accumulate huge sums of money. He takes a job in a midwestern steel mill, calculatedly working his way up the ladder from foreman to owner of an auto manufacturing firm. Though he regards himself as a "man of the people", Dangon resists the efforts of his workers to form a union.--even when his son Teddy (Horace McNally) is won over to the workers' point of view. A bitter three-month strike forces Dangon's board of directors to give in to the workers' wishes Disillusioned, Dangon retires from his business, but returns to work determined to switch over to the manufacture of airplanes when WW2 creates a demand for defense products. The "documentary" aspects of the story are far more compelling that the dramatic passages, with Donlevy's performance vacillating from strong to so-so. Minus any real star names (the leading lady is MGM contractee Ann Richards, a graduate of short subjects), AN AMERICAN ROMANCE flopped at the box office, and Vidor in later years tended to dismiss the film as a misfire, severly damaged by studio tampering. The currently available 121-minute version stands up reasonably well, leading one to wonder if the film was not actually improved by MGM's insistence (over Vidor's protests) upon removing 30 minutes from the running time.
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