Virginia City (1940): Michael Curtiz Western, Starring Errol Flynn, Miriam Hopkins, Humphrey Bogart, Randolph Scott

Directed by Michael Curtiz, Virginia City is a black-and white-Western, featuring Errol Flynn and Miriam Hopkins, who get star billing above the title.

Virginia City
Virginia City poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster

Below the title. two major actors are mentioned: Randolph Scott and Humphrey Bogart (before he would become a star, a year later with The Maltese Falcon), sporting a mustache while playing the real-life outlaw John Murrell.

Based on a script by Robert Buckner, the tale concerns a Union officer who escapes from a Confederate prison.  He is then sent to Virginia City from where his former prison commander is planning to send $5 million in gold to Virginia to save the Confederacy.

The film was a follow up to Dodge City, although it has new characters, and historically predates it by eight years.  Originally called Nevada, it was to have the same director and cast as Dodge City: Flynn and Olivia de Havilland (his mot frequent and favorite screen lady). De Havilland dropped out and was replaced by Miriam Hopkins, who lacks the chemistry that the former had with Flynn.

Though the characters are flawed and the plot not particularly interesting, Virginia City, like most of Curtiz’s movies (no matter their genre), moves along smoothly, and by concentrating on the action sequences, it provides lively entertainment.

Mostly shot in Flagstaff, Arizona, the film premiered, as expected, in Virginia City, Nevada.

Errol Flynn as Captain Kerry Bradford
Miriam Hopkins as Julia Hayne
Randolph Scott as Captain Vance Irby
Humphrey Bogart as John Murrell
Frank McHugh as Mr. Upjohn
Alan Hale as Olaf “Moose” Swenson
Guinn “Big Boy” Williams as “Marblehead”
John Litel as Thomas Marshall
Douglass Dumbrille as Major Drewery
Moroni Olsen as Dr. Robert Cameron
Russell Hicks as John Armistead
Dickie Jones as Cobby Gill
Frank Wilcox as Union Outpost Soldier
Russell Simpson as Frank Gaylord
Victor Kilian as Abraham Lincoln
Charles Middleton as Jefferson Davis
Ward Bond as Confederate Sergeant (uncredited)
Roy Gordon as Maj. Gen. Taylor (uncredited)
Thurston Hall as Gen. George Meade (uncredited)
Howard C. Hickman as Confederate Gen. Page (uncredited)
Jack Mower as Outpost Officer (uncredited)
Charles Trowbridge as James Seddon (uncredited)


Directed by Michael Curtiz
Screenplay by Robert Buckner
Produced by Robert Fellows
Cinematography Sol Polito
Edited by George Amy
Music by Max Steiner

Production and distribution company: Warner Bros.

Release dates: May 16, 1940 (US)

Running time: 121 minutes
Budget $1,179,000
Box office $2,120,000

France: 2,372,567 admissions (France, 1947)