Allegheny Uprising (1939)
Front Cover Actor
Claire Trevor Janie MacDougall
John Wayne James Smith
George Sanders Capt. Swanson
Brian Donlevy Trader Ralph Callendar
Wilfrid Lawson 'Mac' MacDougall
Robert Barrat Magistrate Duncan
John F. Hamilton The Professor
Moroni Olsen Tom Calhoon
Eddie Quillan Will Anderson
Chill Wills John M'Cammon
Movie Details
Genre Action; Adventure; History; Western
Director William A. Seiter
Producer P.J. Wolfson
Writer Neil H. Swanson; P.J. Wolfson
Studio Turner Home Ent
Language English
Audience Rating Approved
Running Time 1 hr 21 mins
Country USA
Color Color
Allegheny Uprising is an engaging blend of historical fiction, boisterous backwoods comedy, and pretty much nonstop rowdydow that qualifies as one of John Wayne's more offbeat vehicles. Made half a year after his stellar breakout in Stagecoach, the picture re-teams Wayne with Claire Trevor as a frontier tomboy who supplies feisty love interest. A decade and a half before the Revolutionary War, a community in south-central Pennsylvania (apparently Chambersburg) stages a principled rebellion against King George III's forces that's more social protest than full-fledged revolt. Wayne plays a thoughtful fellow named Jim Smith who, with his "men of the Conococheague," demonstrates to the Crown that it's bad faith to lend military protection to unscrupulous traders (cue Brian Donlevy) clandestinely peddling firearms and English-made weaponry to the Indians.

Now, there just aren't that many "Westerns" set in Pennsylvania, so Allegheny Uprising gets points for freshness. It also falls into a limbo between A and B movies, coming in at a trim 80 minutes but boasting larger action set-pieces (shot on location in credibly Pennsylvanian pockets of California) than was customary for RKO, a studio that tended toward in-house miniatures; Nicholas Musuraca, a future Val Lewton and film noir mainstay, proves himself a master of sunlit cinematography as well. Director William A. Seiter (with a string of Shirley Temple movies behind him) never finds a satisfying overall rhythm, and there are odd scraps of unrealized intentions in producer P.J. Wolfson's script (e.g., the sudden murder of a captured Indian raider at knifepoint, whereupon Smith ruefully observes, "We teach 'em everything, don't we?"). The most interesting element of the film is George Sanders' performance as an intransigent Brit officer who causes much of the strife with the Colonials, yet discloses unexpected vulnerability in private moments. --Richard T. Jameson

Personal Details
My Rating
Seen It Yes
Index 1689
Collection Status In Collection
Links IMDB
Amazon US
Folder 014
Product Details
Format DVD
Screen Ratio 1.33:1
Layers Single side, single layer
UPC 053939786422
Release Date 5/22/07
Subtitles English; French
Nr of Disks/Tapes 1