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Brigham Young (1940)

In 1844, after the assassination of Mormon leader Joseph Smith by an angry mob in Illinois, the Mormons choose Brigham Young as their new leader and follow him to a new promised land in Utah.

Director:

Henry Hathaway

Writers:

Louis Bromfield, Lamar Trotti (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tyrone Power ... Jonathan Kent
Linda Darnell ... Zina Webb
Dean Jagger ... Brigham Young
Brian Donlevy ... Angus Duncan
Jane Darwell ... Eliza Kent
John Carradine ... Porter Rockwell
Mary Astor ... Mary Ann Young
Vincent Price ... Joseph Smith
Jean Rogers ... Clara Young
Ann E. Todd ... Mary Kent (as Ann Todd)
Willard Robertson ... Heber Kimball
Moroni Olsen ... Doc Richards
Marc Lawrence ... Prosecutor
Stanley Andrews ... Hyrum Smith
Frank M. Thomas ... Hubert Crum (as Frank Thomas)
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Storyline

The true story of the famous Mormon leader, Brigham Young and his battle to transport his people across the Rocky mountains to settle in Salt Lake City. The plot focuses on two of his people, Jonathan Kent and Zina Webb and the hardships they have to face along the way. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Great American Motion Picture !


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 September 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brigham Young: Frontiersman See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,700,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the August 23rd, 1940 edition of The Post-Register, the second city to premiere this film, after the Salt Lake City premiere, was Idaho Falls. It opened at the Paramount Theatre (now the Colonial Theater) on Thursday, August 29th, 1940. See more »

Goofs

Eliza Kent's tomb "wheel" shows she died in 1843 on the trek west. But Joseph Smith did not die until 1844 and the saints did not leave Nauvoo until 1846. See more »

Quotes

Brigham Young: Indians can't be any worse than some Christians I know. But just the same, until we find a little more about them, we mean to trust in you, Lord, and keep our powder dry.
See more »

Connections

Edited into The Unauthorized Hagiography of Vincent Price (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Shimalong Joe
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Played by a band at the party and sung by Fuzzy Knight
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A different kind of western adventure
3 January 2015 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

It must have been a difficult thing to make a movie in 1940 about the Mormons in the 19th century with polygamy being practiced by them at that time, but Daryl F. Zanuck gave it a try, even managing to get it past the production code and the censors of the time. He is definitely trying to parallel the trek of the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land headed by Moses with the Mormons traveling from Nauvoo to Salt Lake headed by Brigham Young. There are some colorful characters thrown in such as John Caradine's Porter Rockwell, a rather wild scout, who pulls his guns on a prosecutor during a trial so that Brigham Young (Dean Jagger) can have a chance to speak in Joseph Smith's defense, and the judge lets him get away with that?? Then there is also a romance thrown in with Mormon Jonathan Kent (Tyrone Power) and non-Mormon Zina Webb (Linda Darnell) slowly falling for each other as they travel across the continent with the Mormons. When Jonathan proposes marriage, Zina has reservations - first off, she is not a Mormon, and more importantly, she doesn't want to be the first of many Mrs.Kents. Her reservations were probably justified.

There is even a bad guy in the (fictional) person of Angus Duncan (Brian Donlevy) who claims that Joseph Smith told him that he was to head the church in case of his death, and then causes trouble for Brigham Young every step of the way, including trying to get the Mormons to follow him to California rather than stop at Salt Lake. And yes, Angus is just like Edward G. Robinson's trouble making character in "The Ten Commandments", but remember, this film was made sixteen years before "Ten Commandments".

The whole time, as Brigham makes decisions that effect the lives of all of the Mormons, he confides in wife Mary Ann that he is not sure that he is being led by God to make all of these decisions, so that he carries a burden of feeling that he could be misleading the others when he tells them to do this or that, but all the while his heart is in the right place. The film brings up some valid points to anybody that believes in God - How do you really know when He is speaking to you? How do you know a true prophet from a false one? I'm no expert on LDS history, in fact I'm not LDS at all, but if you want a rousing Western adventure that is a little different you might give this one a try.

This film must have been somewhat convincing to non-Mormons as a realistic portrayal of what happened, because I distinctly remember this film being shown in elementary school back in history class when I was growing up in Texas! Do note that Dallas, Texas was probably lacking in large numbers of people who were neither a Baptist nor a Methodist back in 1967. Catch this one if you can. The performances are excellent even if the history may be a little off.


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