Painted Desert, The

342. THE PAINTED DESERT (1931-usa). With William Boyd, Helen Twelvetrees, William FARNUM, CLARK GABLE. A compelling drama of tempestuous passions in the old west, focusing on a bitter feud that transcends generations and threatens to destroy entire families. Two close friends dispute over which of them should raise a baby they’ve found in the desert, causing them to separate in anger. Years later, the baby has grown into a decent and courageous young man (William Boyd, in his pre-Hopalong Cassidy days), who’s determined to reunite the two men before they end up killing each other. Bill tries to persuade his father to join his longtime enemy in a mining venture, but the stubborn old man refuses, and Bill leaves home to go into the partnership himself. He even plans to marry the daughter of his dad’s rival. One major complication: a dastardly cowpoke who also wants the girl and will do anything to prevent both the reconciliation and the marriage, including destroying the mine and wiping out anyone in his way. That vile villain-unkempt, unshaven, but with a charming voice and a delightfully mischievous smile-is CLARK CABLE in his very first role (excluding his work as an extra in a few silent films). Gable’s magnetism, immediately apparent, led eventually to an MGM contract-and to immortality. Although this movie occasionally has the static quality and length dialogue scenes common in early sound productions, it also has its share of exciting action, and takes full advantage of beautiful outdoor locations (including Monument Valley, later made famous by John Ford). All in all, an interesting early western, and the only time youÕll ever see “Hoppy” throttle ÒThe King”! 76 minutes. Western