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: Kansas Pacific (1953)  ( 309 )

« : May 09, 2017, 04:21:44 AM »

Built By Bullets, Dynamite And Blood Stained Spikes!

Kansas Pacific is directed by Ray Nazarro and written by Daniel B. Ullman. It stars Sterling Hayden, Eve Miller, Barton MacLane, Harry Shannon, Tom Fadden and Reed Hadley. A Cinecolor production with music by Albert Sendrey and cinematography by Harry Neumann.

"In the years preceding the War between the States, 'Bleeding Kansas' was split down the middle. Being a border state-and not legally committed to either side-Kansas was almost torn apart by its two equally violent factions.

A railroad to the West was being built. To the rapidly forming Confederacy, this line, if completed, could mean the difference between defeat and victory, because it could well become the lifeline for the Union's western military installations.

Some Southern groups therefore, took strong steps to see that the Kansas Pacific did not reach completion. Northern interests, on the other hand, took equally strong steps to see that it did. All of this happened before any formal declaration of war, so neither side was really justified in the acts of total violence which resulted."

It's a fictionalised account that would surely have the historians frothing at the mouth, but on its own modest terms Kansas Pacific is solid entertainment. It's 1860 and Hayden is an undercover Army engineer who is sent in to ensure that the railroad is built. Not easy because the construction is plagued by sabotage attacks by Southern Rebels led by William Quantrill (Hadley).

Thus the story follows a familiar path that sees Hayden viewed with suspicion by some, admired by others, and as the sabotage attempts increase in ferocity, so does Hayden's will to succeed. Some love action comes his way (Miller on dressage duties only), as does the chance for some stoic engine driving. The action is well staged by Nazarro, who oversees dynamite attacks and cannon warfare, and the location photography coupled with the train sequences are most pleasing.

Modest for sure, but performed well in the right areas and at 73 minutes in length it barely has time to annoy anyone but the history buffs. 6/10

UK cable viewing.

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