Santa Fe (1951) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
9 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Between the Santa Fe and his brothers, he was a divided man.
tmwest16 April 2004
I have a special liking for this film because I used to admire the Santa Fe beautiful passenger trains in the fifties and I made a fantastic trip at that time on the Santa Fe from New Mexico to Chicago. This is a colorful, entertaining film which tells the story of Randolph Scott and his brothers who were confederates and after the war is finished, get in a brawl with some nasty northern soldiers. To get away from a posse they jump into a train of the Santa Fe and Scott starts working in the building of the railroad. As his brothers become outlaws, he gets uncomfortable in his position at the railroad. Scott changes his westerns outfits quite often, I suppose because at that time the movie stills were published in a lot of magazines. A great moment is when an Indian chief complains that the train is making too much noise, so Scott allows him to drive the locomotive, to feel that he is in control. From "The Iron Horse" on, the building of the railroads was always a great theme for westerns and Santa Fe tell its story with plenty of good action scenes.
30 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Ties That Bind
bkoganbing5 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The Brothers Canfield, Randolph Scott, Peter Thompson, Jerome Courtland, and John Archer; are all Confederate veterans who get into a brawl with some Union soldiers who were drunk and started it. One of the Union men is killed. The Canfields flee via the Santa Fe railroad going west. Randolph Scott stays to work for the railroad, the other brothers decide to become outlaws for real.

For Randolph Scott, Santa Fe is an interesting blend of two of his previous pre-World War II films The Texans and Western Union. In both he's involved in a great enterprise, a cattle drive in The Texans and building the telegraph in Western Union. In The Texans he's a returning Confederate veteran and in Western Union his conflict is with his brother.

Santa Fe is a good action packed western, plenty of gun-play by a cast of veterans of many a western. Scott is his usual tight-lipped self. The part is a bit offbeat for him. Randolph Scott is usually a driven man with a mission and sometimes can be ruthless. His Britt Canfield here is a man of honor and a straight arrow, the kind of part Joel McCrea would normally be cast in. But Scott does well with the role.

Olin Howland and Billy House provide some good comic relief as an engineer and his fireman. Western fans will not be disappointed.
15 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great Randolph Scott Classic
whpratt18 April 2007
Enjoyed this 1951 story about the expanding of the Santa Fe Railroad through Kansas and how some Southern soldiers after the war headed North to find jobs and their leader was Randolph Scott, (Britt Canfield)

and his three brothers. There plan was to make enough money in the North and head back to Virginia, however, there was still great hatred towards the Northerners for burning their property and also claiming their homestead lands. As the Santa Fe railroad is trying to lay their track across the land there is a bunch of crooks looking for their pay checks on pay day and they set up a tent with gambling, booze and hot bar maids to grab every nickle and dime and cause great delays in the building of the railroad. Janis Carter, (Judith Chandler) is a pretty platinum blonde who captures the eye of Britt Canfield, but she hates him for killing her brother in the Civil War. Great film with steam engines burning up the tracks and even an Indian takes complete control of the engine. Enjoy a great 1951 Classis Western from the past.
21 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Pretty good...
MartinHafer19 March 2010
The time period for this film is actually pretty common for a Randolph Scott western--and about the fourth or fifth one set just after the Civil War. Like most of the films, Randolph fought for the South and now that the war is over, he has a choice to either accept the outcome or be a whiny jerk about it. Well, he's a smart guy and soon gets a job working for the Santa Fe railroad, but his three brothers who served with him aren't so bright--they hate the North so much that they do what they can to wreck things--even though there is no reasonable reason for this. So, much of the film pits Scott against his own kin (and vice-versa) as he tries hard to get the railroad completed and they work to undo it as much as possible--working for a traveling saloon whose task, it seems, is to both make money off the workers AND get them distracted from their job.

In addition to his brothers, Scott deals with a wide variety of things that might impede the progress of the railroad--rival companies, local Indian tribes and the like. This makes Scott's job in the film as a sort of trouble-shooter. How true all these problems were in the construction of the rails is beyond me and I assume that the writers took a few liberties...just a few! Overall, the film is pretty good. While it isn't among Scott's best films (they were made later in the decade and the early 60s), this is a good film from this time period.
12 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Captain Canfield is a good man in a fight, I ought to know.
Spikeopath15 June 2011
Santa Fe is directed by Irving Pichel and adapted to screenplay by Kenneth Gamet from the James Marshall novel and a story by Louis Stevens. It stars Randolph Scott, Janis Carter, Peter M. Thompson, Jerome Courtland and John Archer. A Technicolor production, it's photographed by Charles Lawton Jr. Story is set following the American Civil war and finds Scott as Britt Canfield, one of four ex-Confederate brothers heading West for a new life. While Britt finds honest employment on the Santa Fe railroad, his brothers veer towards the other side of the law.

A routine Western boosted by some quality set pieces and a well crafted script. Watchable from the off, film follows a true course whilst launching off narratively from the bitterness still felt by those who were on opposite sides of the war. It pitches Scott front and centre as the stoic character fending off all sorts of challenges, challenges that come courtesy of Indians, rival companies and his own kin! The acting around Scott is pretty average, tho the comic relief from Billy House & Olin Howland is most appealing, while it would have been nice to have some more imposing scenery filling out the screen. All told it's a safe recommendation to Western fans, even if ultimately it's not a genre film to revisit often. 6/10
9 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Sounds great, but it doesn't quite deliver!
JohnHowardReid26 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Randolph Scott (Britt Canfield), Janis Carter (Judith Chandler), Jerome Courtland (Terry Canfield), Peter Thompson (Tom Canfield), John Archer (Clint Canfield), Warner Anderson (Dave Baxter), Roy Roberts (Cole Sanders), Billy House (Luke Plummer), Olin Howlin (Dan Dugan), Allene Roberts (Ella Sue), Jock O'Mahoney (aka Jock Mahoney) (Crake), Harry Cording (Moore Legrande), Sven Hugo Borg (Swede Swanstrom), Frank Ferguson (Marshal Bat Masterson), Irving Pichel (Harned), Harry Tyler (Rusty), Chief Thundercloud (Chief Longfeather), Paul E. Burns (Uncle Dick Wootton), Reed Howes, Charles Meredith, Paul Stanton, Richard Cramer, William Haade, Francis McDonald, Frank O'Connor, Harry Tenbrook, James Mason, Guy Wilkerson, Frank Hagney, William Tannen, James Kirkwood, Stanley Blystone, Edgar Dearing, Al Kunde, Art Loeb, Blackie Whiteford, Bud Fine, Richard Fortune, Lane Chandler, Charles Evans, Chuck Hamilton, George Sherwood, Louis Mason, Roy Butler, Ralph Sanford, William McCormack.

Director: IRVING PICHEL. Screenplay: Kenneth Gamet. Based on the 1945 book Santa Fe: The Railroad That Built an Empire by James Leslie Marshall and the story All the Brothers Were Loyal by Louis Stevens. Photography in Color by Technicolor by Charles Lawton Jr. Film editor: Gene Havlick. Art director: Walter Holscher. Music composed by Paul Sawtell. Music director: Morris W. Stoloff. Producer: Harry Joe Brown. Executive producers: Harry Joe Brown, Randolph Scott. A Scott-Brown Production. A Columbia Picture.

Copyright 13 March 1951 by Producers Actors Corp. Released by Columbia Pictures Corp. New York opening at the Palace: 3 May 1951. U.S. release: 1 April 1951. U.K. release: 1 October 1951. Australian release: 4 January 1952. 7,926 feet. 88 minutes. Censored to 7,770 feet (86 minutes) in the U.K.

SYNOPSIS: After the Civil War, the four Canfield Brothers, veterans of the Confederate Army, go West. Britt Canfield (Randolph Scott) becomes assistant to Santa Fe R.R. construction chief Dave Baxter (Warner Anderson), and falls in love with beautiful paymaster Judith Chandler (Janis Carter). Britt's brothers, Terry (Jerome Courtland), Tom (Peter Thompson) and Clint (John Archer) join an outlaw gang.

COMMENT: Randolph Scott's fans will not complain, but this agreeably photographed but laboriously routine western is not one of his more appealing outings. True, the movie packs in plenty of action, but it's rather dull in between these well-directed spurts, leaving audiences to twiddle their fingers or talk among themselves or visit the refreshment counters, while they wait, none too patiently, for the plot to gear up and the screen to light up with more fighting, shooting, stunts and thrills.

STORY BACKGROUND: On 22 December 1872, pioneering Santa Fe railroad construction crews completed laying tracks across Kansas to what they thought was the border of Colorado. Upon actual completion depended land grants from the United States government which would permit the road to continue to the Pacific Coast. They thought they had reached the Colorado line with 48 hours to spare.

That night, to the horror of the construction engineer, it was discovered that the Santa Fe's surveyor had erred by four miles. The government's surveyor insisted that the State of Colorado lay four miles beyond the end of the Santa Fe tracks. To insure completion of the road, and to avoid bankruptcy, tracks would have to be laid over those four miles within 48 hours. Since the crew had been averaging only one mile a day, the feat was thought impossible — but the railroaders set to work.

Beset by Indians, outlaws, gamblers and drunks, the crew completed the Santa Fe to Colorado by Christmas Eve, within one minute of the contract's expiration.

In the film, Randolph Scott plays the construction chief responsible for the completion of the job. For the movie, the feat was accomplished not in Kansas but in Arizona where location scenes of Santa Fe were filmed. While no government franchises were at stake, the movie railroaders hewed to a rigorous schedule, under director Irving Pichel and producer Harry Joe Brown. — Columbia Publicity.

OTHER VIEWS: Unexceptionable. — Monthly Film Bulletin.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Sante Fe- Westward Slow **1/2
edwagreen3 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Wonderful premise where 4 brothers, after the civil war, go different directions with the elder brother, Randolph Scott, working for the railroad and the other 3 wind up as bank robbers.

The film becomes muddled as you really don't understand the conflict between the various factions within the railroad. You also don't know how to feel about the brothers. Are they victims of circumstances? What was the fate of the surviving brothers by film's end?

Roy Roberts plays the villain here. I remember him as a hotel innkeeper who refused admission to Gregory Peck for being Jewish in "Gentleman's Agreement," and 20 years later to a black couple in "Hotel."

This is a great part for Randolph Scott. He is a real good guy here, and yet still loyal to the concept of family.
5 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Loved It
davidjanuzbrown6 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
B. I just watched the movie last night and it is one of Scott's best. Another poster compared him to the stoic never make a mistake type of character that was often played by a later in his career Joel McCrea ( like he was with Scott in 'Ride The High Country'), but the fact that Scott ( like his character Britt Canfield was from Virginia) spoilers ahead: What Britt is above all is a leader, which is why Dave Baxter ( Warner Anderson), hires him to work on his railroad, and eventually makes him his right hand man. The problem that Canfield ( and his brothers), face is how despised southerners were treated after the Civil War. Carpetbaggers stealing the family farm, disrespect from soldiers which is why that soldier ended up getting killed by one of the Canfield brothers, even the women he likes Judith Chandler ( Janis Carter) cannot stand him because he led a battle in which her husband died. His biggest problem was he could not get his brothers to follow him and work for the railroad, and they became outlaws. He holds himself responsible for that. As he says to his Sister In Law, Ella. "As the oldest, it's my responsibility to keep the family together."at the end he has to join a posse and try and bring them to justice. ( and hopefully save them from dying ( which does not happen))the final two scenes of the movie were interesting and neither had Scott. Dave was explaining how the Railroad would open up an Empire and how Canfield was responsible for getting it built. Then some of the men ( such as the engineers) who worked with him told Judith ( and Ella) to send him a message that they are coming to work for him. Judith says "That is a message I will deliver in person." So it ends up that even though he could not get his brothers to follow him ( because of all the hate they had inside), he ended up with people who will follow him ( because of who he was). One character I love is Ella. Normally Hollywood would make her the love interest instead of a Sister In Law. There is a scene at the end where the brothers commit a robbery and Scott goes to her home looking for them she tells Scott "I would rather have him in jail, then living an outlaw life." Then the law ( and Dave ) come in and are going to arrest She says he is innocent . They asked him where they are? He will not tell ( he wants to bring them in), she tells the Law. Her loyalty was with Britt and doing the right thing over her husband. My single favorite scene is with the Indian Chief driving the train and the smile on his face. It is rare when you see an Indian as actually happy and not because of a battle or around a woman. I also like what Britt had someone say to the chief "Someday they will name a train after you." They did the Santa Fe Railroad "Super Chief." 10/10 stars.
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"YOu'd do it for Randolf Scott!"
JoeB13123 June 2012
I remember that rather hilarious line from "Blazing Saddles", but I think this is the first film with Mr. Scott I've ever seen.

He was kind of the poor man's John Wayne.

The plot here is that the Civil War is over, and while his brothers carry around a lot of anger about what happened during the war, Randolf plays a guy who goes to work helping to organize and build railroads connecting the west with the rest of the country.

Some parts of the film, like the scene with the native Americans, and they remark "Some day we'll name a train after you, Chief." (Ha, ha, "Super-chief" How funny. Almost takes the sting off the genocide!) The brothers take to train robbing after gambling doesn't work out for them, and there's a bit of pathos between the good guys and bad guys and the historical Bat Matherson being dropped into the mix.
2 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed