U.S. Army Lieutenant Michael Banning is sent to Mexican-owned southern California to investigate lawless land grabbing. There, he (and his horse Tarzan) wins a golden bridle in a riding contest sponsored by Carmelita, daughter of the Spanish Grandee Don Manuel. This irrates Ramirez, who has plans for Carmelita himself, and he attempts to steal the bridle but Banning subdues him. Maddox, leader of the land-grabbers, has Banning jailed. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Lots of dialog to read and music to imagine... my copy is silent!
Senor Americano was made at the transitional time when sound was being introduced to movies. This is probably Ken Maynard's last silent film. Senor Americano was likely one of the Maynard films released both as a sound and a silent film depending on the equipment of the individual theaters at the time. This review has to be from the silent standpoint.
For a movie with no sound there is a lot of music being played by the characters in Senor Americano. The opening scene with a fiesta has musicians. Manana (Frank Yaconelli) is seen with a guitar as he enters the movie alongside Michael Banning (Maynard). The bar scenes include musicians who even play during a fight scene. Manana teaches Banning a song to use to serenade Carmelita (Kathryn Crawford). Manana keeps Carmelita occupied with his singing. The movie is silent! There is no sound, but we are constantly shown musicians and singing!
Senor Americano was a Ken Maynard film, so there had to be some great riding scenes. The movie starts off with Banning and Tarzan winning a horsemanship competition. Tarzan was an amazing horse. He must have been Trigger's idol when he was growing up.
The movie takes place around the town of San Rosario, a California town plagued by crime that hopes for annexation of California by the United States. Banning is secretly a military officer gathering information on criminals in San Rosario. Maddox (J.P. McGowan) and Ramirez (Gino Corrado) must steal the Spanish land grant papers from Don Manuel (Frank Beal) before the annexation takes place, but Banning works to prevent that from happening.
The opening credits have Ken Maynard listed as "Lieut. Mitchen Banning", but the end credits have him listed as "Lieut. Michael Banning." The end credits are done in an entirely different style than the opening credits and may be from a different release. Throughout the movie Maynard's character is referred to as "Michael."
This was a fun story that kept moving forward and remained interested for the entire time. If the tagline promised 85% dialog with songs, there must have been more than one release because I had to read the version I saw. This was prime Ken Maynard, but it would have been much better if I could have heard the music. It was probably a better movie with sound, but ultimately sound is not necessary to make a great movie.
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