Chad Hanna (1940)

“Right out of the pages of The Saturday Evening Post comes the best-seller acclaimed by Millions!” In this extremely low-key but eminently entertaining drama, country bumpkin “Chad Hanna” (Henry Fonda) joins a small traveling circus in the 1840s in upstate New York and becomes infatuated with beautiful bareback rider “Albany Yates” (Dorothy Lamour). However, he soon discovers his true love – circus runaway “Caroline” (Linda Darnell). Nothing much happens but the film is full of colorful characters and features solid acting from the young cast. Directed by Henry King (The Song of Bernadette) and filmed in beautiful Technicolor, Chad Hanna was based on a novel of the same name by Walter D. Edmonds that had been initially serialized in The Saturday Evening Post in 1940 under the title “Red Wheels Rolling.” The film also stars Guy Kibbee, John Carradine and Jane Darwell. Ann Sheridan and Hedy Lamarr were both reportedly considered for the role of “Albany Yates.” Edmonds also authored Drums Along the Mohawk (1936), which was turned into a 1939 film directed by John Ford and starring Fonda and Claudette Colbert.

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