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El Malo, notorious Mexican bandit, forces the Mayor of Sierra Blanca, Seth Landport, to open the safe and turn over to him 2,000 pesos, which the bandit gives a promissory note for to the Mayor. Seth rushes to the cantina where Sheriff Rankin is drinking, and the sheriff posts a reward for the capture of El Malo. El Malo informs his men of the reward. The bandit and his sidekick, Pedro, visit the cantina where Pedro resumes a former acquaintance with Dolores, while El Malo has his attention directed to a tango being performed by Carmita. El Malo pushes her dancing partner aside and finishes the dance with Carmita. Since Seth's description of him is not accurate, El May visits the sheriff and promises to deliver the wanted bandit to the cantina the following night. THe following morning, El Malo and Pedro depart, and, halting their horses on a hill, view the stagecoach being held up by a trio of outlaws. THey follow the outlaws to their hideout, where they discover the leader is the ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
And to think--Myrna Loy went on to be a star after doing THIS!
"Rogue of the Rio Grande" is the sort of film they just wouldn't have made much later than 1930. It's the sort of VERY archaic talkie that amazed crowds at the time but seemed very outmoded very quickly. Part of it is the quality of the sound and staginess of the production. Part of it is because the singing is pretty terrible and audiences of the mid-1930s came to expect much better than this.
The film stars Myrna Loy in her first talking role--and a few years before she became famous with the Thin Man movies. She's a Mexican lady who sings in an old-time cantina--and she makes up for her lack of singing quality by singing loudly! I am not sure if it's really her singing--but it isn't very pleasant--as it's very high-pitched and sound a bit like a Mexican opera as sung by someone with a mediocre voice. It's not terrible but it also isn't what folks today would think is good, either. But, at least Loy is rather pretty.
Much of the film consists of various Frito Bandito-like bandits chasing women and talking...a lot. It's very talky--just like so many of these early sound films. And, all of the actors seem VERY stereotypical--with very exaggerated accents and costumes that seemed BIG and almost, at times, comical (and Loy's was VERY comical). Beneath all this, there must be a plot--though it really was slow and didn't seem to get going for a very, very long time. It seems that el Malo (great name) is a baddie that the local law wants to capture. Now it's obvious to everyone but the law who el Malo is--and it seems that sooner or later they MUST catch on. But el Malo is very smart and like the Cisco Kid, you assume that this bandito will prevail by the end of the film. Unfortunately, by the time any discernible plot arrives, you also are pretty tired of the whole thing. Dull, poorly made in every way and not even good for a laugh. It's hard to imagine that Myrna Loy went on to a HUGE career after this sad little film.
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