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The Big Trees
Directed byFelix E. Feist
Screenplay byJohn Twist and James R. Webb
Story byKenneth Earl
Produced byLouis F. Edelman
CinematographyBert Glennon
Edited byClarence Kolster
Music byHeinz Roemheld
Color processTechnicolor
Warner Bros.
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • February 5, 1952 (1952-02-05) (New York City)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
The Big Trees

The Big Trees is a 1952 American lumberjack Western film starring Kirk Douglas and directed by Felix E. Feist. It was Kirk Douglas's final film for Warner Brothers, a film he did for free in exchange for the studio agreeing to release him from his long-term contract.[2]

The film has fallen into the public domain.[3][better source needed] Douglas plays a greedy timber baron who seeks to exploit the sequoia forest, while facing the protest of the Quaker colonists.

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  • The Big Trees - Kirk Douglas ( 1952 ) Good Quality



In 1900, lumberman Jim Fallon (Kirk Douglas) greedily eyes the big redwood trees in the virgin region of northern California. The land is already settled by, among others, a religious group led by Elder Bixby (Charles Meredith) who have a religious relationship with the redwoods and refuse to log them, using smaller trees for lumber. Jim becomes infatuated with Bixby's daughter, Alicia (Eve Miller), though that does not change his plan to cheat the homesteaders. When Jim's right-hand man, Yukon Burns (Edgar Buchanan) finds out, he changes sides and leads the locals in resisting Jim. The locals combat Jim's loggers with a sympathetic judge with Jim fighting back by using Federal laws.

Elder Bixby is killed when a big sequoia tree is chopped down by Jim's men and falls on his cabin. Jim's desperate attempt to rescue Alicia's father saves him from being convicted of murder. Meanwhile, timber rival Cleve Gregg (Harry Cording) appears on the scene, making it a three-way fight. Gregg and his partner Frenchy LeCroix (John Archer) try to assassinate Jim, but end up killing Yukon instead. Jim has a dramatic change of heart and leads the settlers in defeating Gregg and Frenchy. Afterwards, Jim marries Alicia and settles down.


Kirk Douglas & Patrice Wymore.

Students from Humboldt State University played members of the Quaker congregation and members of its choir.[2]


The film was made with the cooperation of the Hammond and Carlotta Lumber companies,[2] and was shot at locations in Humboldt County, California.[4]

Footage from Warner Brothers' 1938 Technicolor film Valley of the Giants is used throughout The Big Trees. The Big Trees is not a precise remake, but shares useful plot points. The climactic explosion of a logjam makes use of the destruction of the dam in Valley of the Giants. Costumes were designed to match the images in several scenes, notably when the red-shirted hero in each picture works his way along a train carrying huge cut trees in order to stop the caboose carrying his love interest from plunging into a gorge. The white-shirted villain survived his battle with the hero in the earlier.  Alan Hale Jr. plays a lumberjack in this, wearing a very distinctive outfit—including a hat—like the one his father wears in Valley of the Giants. The Big Trees uses the long shot from Valley of the Giants of Ox (Alan Hale Sr.) sliding down a cable to have “Tiny” accomplish the same feat in this picture.[citation needed]


The New York Times called it a "stormy and sometimes silly saga" based on a script "not terribly far removed from the Warners' Valley of the Giants"; its "plot and emoting seem to be as old as the giant redwoods with which they are concerned."[5]

In a 1986 interview with David Letterman, this was one of two movies Kirk told the audience that they could skip in his filmography. The other was Along the Great Divide.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Original Print Information". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
  2. ^ a b c Smith, Richard Harland. "Articles". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
  3. ^ The Big Trees is available for free viewing and download at the Internet Archive
  4. ^ Hesseltine, Cassandra. "Complete Filmography of Humboldt County". Humboldt Del Norte Film Commission. Humboldt Del Norte Film Commission. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  5. ^ "A Saga of Lumber Operators". The New York Times. February 6, 1952. Retrieved 2011-10-09.

External links

This page was last edited on 5 December 2023, at 03:49
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