Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

An American Romance (1944)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

An American Romance (1944)

In King Vidor's Technicolored, flag-waving drama (his last film for MGM) about an American success story (the Horatio Alger myth), and the increase in US industrialization and production during the war years:

  • the main character: ambitious, hard-working Eastern European (Slavic or Czech-born) immigrant Stefan "Steven" Dubechek/Dangos (Brian Donlevy) who came to the US just before 1900 and urged entry at Ellis Island because he wanted to find work
  • Steven's arduous, cross-country journey from New York through Pennsylvania and Ohio, eventually settled in NE Minnesota with only $5, where he found employment in an open-pit iron mine in the Mesabi range where his cousin Anton Dubechek (John Qualen) worked
Entry at Ellis Island
Cross-Country Trek to NE Minnesota
  • the early scenes in which the illiterate Steven learned how to read from the local school teacher Anna O'Rourke (Ann Richards) - his future wife when she moved to Chicago to marry him and raise a family; he also became curious about the process of refining ore into steel (and later became the foreman of a Pittsburgh steel mill), the mechanical operation of a steam shovel, and the steps involved in assembling an automobile
  • the exciting rescue sequence when Steven almost lost his life when dangling above bubbling molten steel during a steel-mill accident
  • later, Steven's co-founding of a car manufacturing company in Detroit (the Danton Auto Works) with his friend Howard Clinton (Walter Abel) - and then later, he entered the airplane manufacturing business in San Diego, CA during WWII for the war effort and became an American 'captain of industry' - but was resistant to workers organizing and striking for their interests
  • several historical-documentary sequences depicted the manufacture of steel, cars and planes (some using the assembly-line process), including the concluding aircraft-making sequence (after the attack on Pearl Harbor), exhibiting the mass production of Air Force Flying Fortress war planes for the government
War Effort Airplane Manufacturing
  • 'The End' title card of planes flying in formation (photographed from below)

Steven Working in Coal Mine With Cousin Anton

Schoolteacher Anna O'Rourke

Steven Dangling Above Molten Steel

Steven: A Captain of Industry


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