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The Fighting Kentuckian
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10 from 1,928 votes
Release: 15 September 1949 (USA) /

The Fighting Kentuckian

Genre: Adventure, Romance, War
Director: George Waggner,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Following Napoleon's Waterloo defeat and the exile of his officers and their families from France, the U.S.Congress, in 1817, granted four townships in the Alabama territory to the exiles. Led by Colonel Georges Geraud and General Paul DeMarchand, the struggling settlers have made a thriving community, called Demopolis, by the summer of 1819. On a shopping trip to Mobile, Fleurette DeMarchand, the General's daughter, meets John Breen, a Kentucky rifleman, who detours his regiment through Demopolis to court her. But Fleurette, despite her wish to marry for love, must bow to the needs of her fellow exiles, who are at the mercy of the rich and wealthy Blake Randolph, and who wants her as his bride. But John Breen has no intention of allowing that to happen, resigns from his regiment, and takes up the fight against Randolph and his hirelings. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Critic Reviews


Not on the same level as The Searchers or Red River or even Hondo, But The Fighting Kentuckian IS an enjoyable film to watch.

I don't know how accurate the history really is, but I do know that the remnants of Napoleon's band of loyal followers DID establish a community in the Southern part of the US at about the same time that Andrew Jackson was fighting The Battle of New Orleans with the help of, (although not mentioned in this film), Jean Laffite who may have been a pirate, but preferred to be called a free-booter.

Vera Hruba Ralston is the lovely daughter of one of Napoleon's most important Generals. She is quite charming here. Her Czech accent could pass for French.

John Wayne looks marvelous in leather and delivers his lines like a true straight-man when partnered with Oliver Hardy. That is a side-kick combo like no other and worth the price of admission.

The film contains many site gags, but my favorite is the one where Wayne and Hardy pretend to be surveyors and Hardy ends up in a pond.

My favorite one liner in The Fighting Kentuckian is the one where John Breen (John Wayne), after being shot while surveying, comes to a cabin of French settlers, and is discovered by the men who shoot him. They offer him a drink, "Have a shot?" they ask. Breen replies as he mounts his horse, "No thanks, just had one..." and holds up his wounded arm.

There is no point in summarizing the plot line, it is only there to allow John Wayne to kiss Vera Ralston, in the moonlight illuminating the patio of her mansion, watched by her father, the general! That kiss is one of those patented "take her to the moon" kisses that Wayne gave select lucky ladies. (Those lucky ladies reeled for hours after.)

Oliver Hardy is the third part of this delightful three-some. There is action when the French are attacked by the evil river-men who want their land, and are in turn repelled by the Fighting Kentuckians,(the whole kit and kaboodle),lead by a trumpet-blowing Hardy.

When the film first came out it was a smash-hit, and it is easy to see why. There is an easy humor, gallantry and romance here that I miss in modern films. Films now are so message-conscience and so full of unappealing, gratuitous nudity and sex, that it's fun to relax with a film that suggests much more than it shows and does it with style and a wink of the eye.

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