Captain Hartford, sent by the Army to buy horses, is kidnaped and replaced by the gang boss. Rankin suspects the Captain is a fake and that he will pay for the horses with a worthless check. He finally finds Hartford but Hartford's guard is too strong and overpowers Rankin and now they are both prisoners. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <email@example.com>
I found Under Texas Skies to be less than I had expected. The only real actor in this movie is Tom London. Everyone else came across as stiff, but I do understand that this movie was an early talkie. Maybe the actors and actresses had not polished their on screen speaking skills yet. Tom London was the only one to come across naturally, and even then there are a few rough spots. Bob Custer may have had star billing, but he was mediocre in this movie. Lane Chandler was a little better, but his character appears later in the film and only served the purpose of making the plot more apparent. Expecting a lot out of a B western is often unreasonable, so I try to be forgiving in my judgment. Still, there were better western movies made at the time.
I am willing to bet that the scenes of the horse round-ups were stock footage from some time in the 1920's, but they were excellent scenes in the first place. I also find that during the silent era there was more experimentation with camera close-ups. The brutish guard, Dummy, is intimidating as he steps right out of the screen toward the viewer. The same treatment is given to another villain, Mustang Pete. This worked well to give a horror movie feel to some of the scenes.
I wish there were more examples of early sound westerns, but for now Under Texas Skies is one of the few that is available. I find it an interesting precursor to the formula westerns that were just a few years away.
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