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The Jubilee Trail - Vera Ralston


Gramme
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I recently watched the western the Jubilee Trail which featured Ms. Vera Ralston as well as notable cast of others. I enjoyed all of their performances, especially Ms. Ralstons'. I was a bit surprised to hear from the host that Ms. Ralston's career was not very notable, especially in the above mentioned western.

 

I really have enjoyed her performances in this movie and some others and I wondered why that statement would be made. I thought she performed superbly as Florinda in the movie and I don't believe that Maureen O'Hara could have done it any better. (Don't get me wrong, I really like Ms. O'Hara also) but Ms. Ralston did it credible justice to me.

 

I just think that it was truly shameful that she was overlooked or perhaps worse.

 

Thank you,

 

 

Gamme

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Gramme,

 

This is the forum for Tech Issues- such as problems with posting, logging on, problems with the recent upgrade.

 

Your post will probably find a larger audience in the General Discussion forum above.

 

Looks like the mods moved it up here!

 

Edited by: lzcutter on Sep 30, 2009 9:48 AM

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After achieving modest fame as an ice skater, Vera Hruba was brought to America by Republic Pictures head Herbert Yates who hoped to turn her into the next Sonja Henie. After featuring her in several Ice Capade movies, he added Ralston to her name and tried to pass her off as a leading lady. Hruba's English was so limited she was forced to learn her lines phonetically. Her English improved, and directors said she tried hard to learn her craft, but bad acting and a thick accent left her hard for audiences to accept.

She eventually married Yates, and they we together until his death.

She died in 2003, a very untalented, but very wealthy (due to Yates' estate of $10 million of which she received half) actress.

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Yes, I checked at IMDB after I posted and found out she had died. (dont think she made the Oscar broadcasts. Or did she?) A piece of funny trivia I found out, Vera Miles had to change her name when she became an actress as her REAL last name was Ralston! ( Ralston's last name was added by Yates. It was Hruba originally. I think she went by both names for awhile). So Vera Miles coulda been Vera Ralston! If only........... :D Would like to sample some of Vera's films (Hruba). some night on TCM. Might be very entertaining! LOL. (esp. the ice skating ones)

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Her skating holds up better for me than Sonja Henie's. Some other films I'd recommend if you are at all serious are:

 

*Hoodlum Empire* (1952) a noir starring Brian Donlevy and Claire Trevor

*Timberjack* (1955) Sterling Hayden Western

and two Westerns with John Carroll, my favorite of her co-stars, *Surrender* (1950) and of course,

*Belle Le Grand* (1951)

 

Nothing Oscar-worthy here, but good solid entertainment

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Thanks for starting this thread, Gramme. This was the first movie of Vera's I got to see a few years ago on EncoreWesterns, and my reaction was much the same as yours. Since then, I have managed to see several other of her films (though not the two with John Wayne), and she is far from being the worst actress ever, as some would have you believe.

 

I'm sure the experts here have only caught the rare Ralston movies shown here at TCM (The Fighting Kentuckian and Jubilee Trail), so they don't have a whole lot to base an opinion on. I'll admit she was very green when she started (who isn't?), but by the time she retired from films she had improved considerably. She did work hard on her acting skills, and it seems she didn't play the diva card as others in her position (boss's wife) might have.

 

For me, her accent is charming (we share ethnic background, so it's like music to my ears), and I have no trouble understanding her. I could name several well regarded actors/actresses whose accents I find indecipherable, but somehow they managed to thrive in the US.

 

I'd love for TCM to show other of her films, but I'm not holding my breath.

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I read some comments from her in some movie book years ago (think in the 70s) long after she'd retired and remarried and she seemed a very down to earth lady with no pretensions as to being a great star or anything like that. She was quite funny. Was one of James Rober Parrish's books on leading ladies............Didnt she win an Olympic Medal? Or she was in the Olympics? I seem to remember she snubbed Hitler, but I'm not sure it really happened or was just some publicity story. I get her background mixed up with Sonja Henie's............

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Unfortunately, Sonja Henie did not snub Hitler which would cause her years of trouble with her fellow Norwegians. Hitler's armies invaded Norway, Sonja was in Hollywood. She called her maid in Oslo and instructed her to put out all the pics of Sonja shaking Hitler's hand at the 1936 Olympics. When the Nazis came in Sonja's lavish mansion, they saw the pics of the fuhrer and beat a hasty retreat assuming Sonja was in sympathy with the Nazi regime. The Norwegian common folk who were being terrorized by the gestapo were not amused by Sonja playing both sides of the fence. From A&E's Biography Of Sonja Henie.

 

On the other hand Vera did win a silver medal to Sonja's gold medal at the 1936 Olympics. Hitler sent for Vera and asked her to skate under the german flag and Vera replied "i would rather skate on top of the german flag than skate for it". Vera was 16. Vera also refused to render the "Heil Hitler" arm gesture as she skated past Adolf's viewing stand. Not a fan was Vera of the Nazis.

 

Anyhoo, i've been a fan of Vera/her films since i saw a documentary of Republic Pictures in 1990. I think her accent is unique and special. I find her beautiful to look at especially with that dark, black hair. I am eager to see more of her westerns and noir films. Vera is one of my most favorite european imports to the U.S. film market.

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Nice to read all these good comments about Vera Ralston. I've seen many of her movies and never had a problem with her acting or accent. Sure she had her limitations, but if one is willing to give her a chance, one will find she's not nearly as bad as some people have said.

 

I'd like to see more of her movies on TCM, if not only for Vera, but because there are never enough Republic movies on TV any more.

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Vera should be commended for diligently trying to improve her english and work at the craft of acting. It couldn't have been easy for Vera to hear and read all the rumblings of how she was sub-par and terrible in the incredibly competitive town of Hollywood. And how the only reason she was working was who she was married to. Very mean and nasty. But Vera pressed on undaunted, retired, and lived to a ripe old age. In her later years, she was very kind to her fans when meeting them. Vera did not let the nasty gossip of tinseltown bring her down so much that she could not enjoy her life and marriage to Herbert Yates. I congratulate her for not letting narrow-minded strangers define her or her right to be happy in her own skin.

 

And she defied Hitler without ending up on his death list!!... a list that not even Dietrich could keep herself off of.

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It is so wonderful to read all these positive comments about Vera Ralston. I've always enjoyed her movies and was able to overlook her heavy accent. My personal favorite of her films is "Jubilee Trail." It has a great cast (especially Joan Leslie) and a wonderful story. I wish she were still here with us so she could know how many fans she has.

 

Terrence.

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I believe people have seen Vera more than they think they have. For a while, like several actresses of the time, they tried her with different colored hair, which changed her look considerably. Also, her leading man in a lot of films was John Carroll who I like, but many consider as a 'buddy' to the star, and not necessarily leading man material. She did star in *Dakota* with John Wayne, and that is where I discovered her. My complaint about *The Jubillee Trail* (although I liked the movie as made), took a large turn off of the book. In the book, most of the story was about Garnet (Joan Leslie), who was left pregnant and destitute, and much of it took place on the trip from Missouri to California, thus the name *The Jubillee Trail*. Did anyone wonder why the movie was named as it was? From what I've read here regarding her attitude toward Hitler (brave little lady), has made my estimation of her rise considerably, and her level of talent matters less. If I had been old enough at the time, and known her history, I probably would have been in line for her movies on opening night. She wasn't a great actress, but she wasn't bad, and certainly better than some I could name who have endured through the years to my surprise.

 

Anne

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Jubilee Trail had a lot of flaws, but I still enjoyed viewing it (though I also found it way too long). Vera Ralston does an effective job of evoking a cute and likeable character. I just thought she was totally shown up in the looks and acting department by the glorious Joan Leslie (who is even more amazing in color).

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