Unable to find open range near Hollywood, western actor Tom Baxter and his troop head to Judy Blake's ranch to shoot their film. Tom soon learns her foreman has been rustling and poisoning ... See full summary »
Unable to find open range near Hollywood, western actor Tom Baxter and his troop head to Judy Blake's ranch to shoot their film. Tom soon learns her foreman has been rustling and poisoning her cattle. When Tom threatens to expose him, Judy is kidnapped and the troop told to leave. With an expert makeup man available. Tom poses as one of the outlaws in an attempt to rescue her. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Until this movie popped up on TCM, the only time I ever saw Tom Keane was in a commie propaganda movie from 1934 called "Our Daily Bread". I would never have remembered him in that except his overacting was so bad, it was hard to forget. I'm not much for Saturday am oaters, but when I saw his name, I thought it would be good for a laugh. I was really surprised.
This was a movie in a movie. A notch up from the standard western programmers of the day. Tom plays a cowboy hero with a poverty row production company trying to find an isolated ranch to film their two reelers on. He's ably supported by Edgar Kennedy as the director, Betty Furness as his heroine, and Yakima Canutt as a stuntman. (Of course, everybody who knows anything about the genre, realizes that he was the ultimate western stuntman in real life.) They eventually find an isolated ranch outside LA only to get tangled up in a complicated land grab plot. The pretty owner is played by Dorothy Wilson who seems to have vanished from film history. The crooked foreman is played by Lon Chaney Jr in a very early role, and the comic relief is played by Roscoe Ates. I won't bother to outline the plot except to say that the hero saves the day.
The surprise is that this was a thoroughly enjoyable movie. Tom Keane was likable and hardly overacted at all, the heroine and love interest were both lovely, and the contrast between make believe movie magic and what passed for real life was entertaining.
One added bonus: I'm in the business myself, and the opportunity to see the primitive cameras, lights, and sound equipment was really amazing. They really had to work at it in those days. The boom mikes looked like telephone poles. The cameras were the size of dog houses. Humping that stuff around must have been murder. Watching the crew strut around in jodphurs, leather jackets and silk scarfs was a delight.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Anybody interested in the nuts and bolts of film making should enjoy it as well.
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