Denver and Rio Grande


89 min     5.4     1952     USA


Jim Vesser and his team of railroading men try to build a rail line through a mountain pass, while a group of less scrupulous construction workers sabotages the entire operation in the hopes that they can get their tracks laid first and get the money from the railroad.


John Chard wrote:
Train Tribulations. Denver and Rio Grande is directed by Byron Haskin and written by Frank Gruber. It stars Edmond O'Brien, Sterling Hayden, Dean Jagger, Kasey Rogers, Lyle Bettger and J. Carol Naish. Music is by Paul Sawtell and Technicolor cinematography by Ray Rennahan. Two railroad companies battle for the right of way through Royal Gorge - with murderous results... In truth it's without doubt that the scenery on offer here, and if you happen to have any kink for olde steam trains, are what puts this in the above average department. Plot is based around real instances during the advancements of the Denver and Rio Grande railway. It plays out for entertainment purposes as baddies against goodies and as a notable observation of what some will do to get their way. There's strands involving wrongful accusations, simmering passions and a whole host of train sequences snaking through gorgeous locations. There's even some amazing train carnage, which is thrilling and more potent as it's not model work on show. Cast are fine and turning in perfs that we accept as viable for our enjoyment - with a pat on the back for Zasu Pitts and Paul Fix who are playing out a cute and funny mature courtship in the making - and all other tech contributions are safe and appealing enough. Opening with a voice over narration set to scenes of the then modern D&RG railway, before whisking us back to its formative years, this is a nice nostalgia piece that overcomes its plotting failings courtesy of big heart and ocular delights. 7/10