Ray Enright’s The Spoilers (1942) is an unabashed adventure yarn brimming with romance, humor and spectacular action. The plot, such as it is, is simple but compelling. When a troop of corrupt government agents, headed by MacNamara (Randolph Scott), arrive in Alaska and 'steal' a gold miner's claim, the miner - Glennister (John Wayne), decides to retaliate.
Glennister’s hot and heavy romance with the lusty, whiskey-voiced madam of the town’s saloon, Cherry Malotte (Marlene Dietrich) is temporarily sidetracked by Glennister’s infatuation with the pure bred and virtuous, Helen Chester (Margaret Lindsay). But Helen’s actually the good girl gone bad. She’s part of the outfit of cutthroats who not only stole Glennister’s claim, but are plotting to have him killed.
Scott and Wayne cut dashing figures of butch masculinity against the stark but beautiful Alaskan backdrops. Their climactic fistfight is often sited as one of the most defiantly brutal in cinema history and I have to agree: it certainly is! Dietrich is at her provocatively sensual best – a steamy role for a sultry gal.
Universal Home Video’s transfer is exemplary. The B&W picture exhibits an outstanding and very clean gray scale that has obviously been the benefactor of some restoration efforts. Blacks are stable. There's a limited amount of film grain and age related artifacts. Digital anomalies are not an issue, though some edge enhancement is present. The audio is mono but nicely cleaned up. There are no extras.
FILM RATING (out of 5 - 5 being the best)