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The Stolen Ranch (1926)

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Title: The Stolen Ranch (1926)

The Stolen Ranch (1926) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
Fred Humes ...
'Breezy' Hart
...
William Bailey ...
Sam Hardy (as William Norton Bailey)
Ralph McCullough ...
Frank Wilcox
Nita Cavalier ...
June Marston
Edward Cecil ...
Lawyer James Morton
Howard Truesdale ...
Tom Marston (as Howard Truesdell)
...
Henchman Hank
Jack Kirk ...
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blue streak western | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama | Western

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26 December 1926 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Fazenda Roubada  »

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1.33 : 1
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Shellshock and ranches
25 October 2012 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Breezy and Frank return from the Great War to find out what happened to Frank's uncle's ranch. Frank is sure that his uncle wanted him to have it, but he is still suffering from shell shock, so Breezy goes in alone to investigate.

To the modern audience the western is a purely nostalgic genre, but in 1926 there were plenty of modern westerns that combined the tropes of the old and new West -- horses and oil wells, World War One veterans and breaking broncs -- the B western was a lively form in the late silent era, a place for skilled talent who needed a job and for new talent looking for a chance.

The latter category includes one of the screenwriters, George H. Plympton, now best remembered for writing the "Flash Gordon" serials, and for the budding director of this one, William Wyler, who would become one of the most accomplished directors of the sound era. He got the job because he was a relative of the studio owner, "Uncle" Carl Laemmle, but he directed for more than forty-five years because he did great work in every genre.

It kept him from being bored and he never bored the audience. Here, though, he's busy proving his competence and this movie is a nice hodge-podge of standard western bits. In fact, the survival of this movie is almost certainly due to Wyler being the director -- none of the people in front of the camera got far out of the B movies. Nor should they have. Their performances are amiable but broad. Still, it's a good whack at combining comedy, romance with issues of mental illness (shell shock), short (under an hour) and if you want to introduce someone to silent B westerns without the distraction of the stars of the era -- I'm very fond of Hoot Gibson, myself -- this is a good one.


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