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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

'Gold is Where You Find It' DVD: Landowner Claude Rains' Daughter Olivia de Havilland Finds Inappropriate Romance

Gold Is Where You Find It
The Warner Archive DVD release of the glorious Technicolor 1938 drama "Gold is Where You Find It" is an awesome part of a collection of such releases of Olivia de Havilland films. Including the Unreal TV reviewed 1943 screwball romcom "Government Girl" in this group demonstrates that de Havilland is more than just a pretty face with a well-known talent for the type of dramatic performance that she delivers in "Gold" and more famously in "Gone With the Wind."

The following clip, courtesy of Archive and YouTube, of scenes from "Gold" highlight the spirit of  deHavilland and the dynamics among the members of her family.

Classic elements of Westerns in "Gold" include pitting landowners who use their vast properties for agricultural purposes against mining companies whose knowledge that "there's gold in them thar hills" prompts activity in the region above the farms and ranches that ruins those properties for farming and raising livestock. This is very analogous to the sheep farmers vs. cattlemen conflict that is often at the center of an oater.

The audience is also treated to a saloon fight, a shoot out, and plenty of horse riding.

"Gold" enhances the fun with 14-carat romantic drama. This consists of deHavilland's Serena Ferris, who is the daughter of  a wealthy landowner whom Claude Rains portrays, falling in love with mining company employee Jared Whitney, played by regular Bette Davis co-star George Brent. Brent is in town to address problems with the local operation. Ferris Sr. forbidding Whitney from seeing Serena adds to the drama regarding this Romeo and Juliet story.

Wonderfully cute interaction between Serena and Whitney includes the pride of the former regarding inviting the latter to visit the orchard that she maintains and essentially asking "how do you like them apples." This pair also has several heartfelt moments which these drama veterans expertly pull off.

"Gold" further offers the bonus of having two mid-scale dramatic confrontations between the landowners and the miners. The first occurs at the mine just before commencing activity that greatly threatens the land below, and the second occurs in a courtroom. The latter includes a nice discussion of the law that determines property rights.

This alloy of Western and romance depicted by the golden boys and girls of 30s-era Hollywood make "Gold" an enjoyable treasure. It is difficult to imagine any critic of the day panning it.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Gold" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.