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Smoking Guns (1934)

 -  Crime | Western  -  11 June 1934 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 16 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

Accused of a murder he did not commit, Ken leaves the country. Three years later Evans finds him in the jungle. When Evans dies, Ken seeing the resemblance, assumes his identity and returns to clear his name.

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(screenplay), (original story)
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Title: Smoking Guns (1934)

Smoking Guns (1934) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Gloria Shea ...
Alice Adams
Walter Miller ...
Ranger Dick Evans
Harold Goodwin ...
Hank Stone
William Gould ...
Silas Stone
Bob Kortman ...
Henchman Biff
Jack Rockwell ...
Ranger Captain Adams
Edward Coxen ...
Bob Masters (as Ed Coxen)
...
Henchman Slim Watts
Martin Turner ...
Etta McDaniel ...
Clementine (as Etta McDaniels)
Tarzan ...
Tarzan (as Tarzan the Wonder Horse)
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Storyline

Accused of a murder he did not commit, Ken leaves the country. Three years later Evans finds him in the jungle. When Evans dies, Ken seeing the resemblance, assumes his identity and returns to clear his name.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Western

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 June 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

De Pistola em Punho  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Ken Maynard's real-life trip to South America turns into a nightmare for Papa and Junior Laemmle.

"Smoking Guns" is not even close to being the worse B-Western ever filmed---the films of producers Victor Adamson, Robert J. Horner, Ande Lamb, Ron Ormond and 98.9% of all of the spaghetti westerns keep it from even making the worse-30 list---but it is the absolute, bottom-of-the-barrel stinker to ever be financed and released by Universal Pictures, although some of the westerns from the 50's carrying an Universal-International logo are close to being as ludicrous.

"Smoking Guns" was the last of the eight westerns starring and produced by Ken Maynard at Universal, after the Laemmle's gave Maynard a contract and his own "Ken Maynard Productions Company" unit, which they soon had cause to regret,as Maynard was not the easiest cowboy in the corral to keep corralled. Maynard owned his own plane and, between pictures, decided he would fly it on down to Central and South America. Maynard enjoyed his trip and his enjoyment was enhanced by the fact that he carried along a camera and shot some footage, not unlike thousands of tourists were doing with their 8mm hand-holds.But the tourists were only going to expose their footage to friends and relatives and have a limited-fallout, but Maynard had another plan; if he used the footage in his next film, the cost of the flying vacation could be charged against the Maynard production unit, which consisted of his name and Universal's money. But, before he could do that, he had to make a film and some of the film had to take place in some unnamed country south of the El Paso/Juarez border---way south---so he dreams up one of the most outlandish western-movie plots ever filmed until "Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula" and "Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter" hit the screen in 1966. Speaking here of complete films and not just dumb sequences like those in "Duel in the Sun" or "The Outlaw."

Ken decides he'll write a plot about an honest cowhand-rancher who is framed on a murder charge and has to cut a (long) trail down to South America to avoid being lynched. But the Texas Rangers are on his trail. So when next seen, it is three years later, and Ken has been hiding out in some South American swamp, and his hair has turned white, and he has a white beard that is longer than the one worn by "der Inspector" in the "Katzemjammer Kids" comic strip, but the checked-shirt and his pants remain as spotless and well-pressed as they were when he left Texas three years earlier. This swamp is hell on people but does no damage to wardrobe. So here comes Texas Ranger Walter Miller who has been chasing Maynard for three years and he has a beard straight out of a community theatre production of "Robinson Crusoe" but his hair has remained black, and his clothes are also in great condition and, in fact, his wardrobe is the same as that usually worn by Ken Maynard, and some Ken Maynard fans may have been wondering why Walter Miller was wearing Maynard's "outfit." Actually, Miller's costume has suffered some minor damage due to the fact that a gator or croc or something has bitten a chunk out his leg, and when Maynard finds him, Miller now has a gangrenous leg and is going to die if his leg isn't amputated, so Maynard whips out a carving knife and is going to save Miller's life, but while Maynard is sharpening the knife, Miller up and shoots himself rather than face life with only one leg. Well, that's the explanation given in Maynard's script and film, anyway.

But, being the star, Maynard has to hang around and, since he has a freshly-sharpened carving knife, decides to give the late-just departed Miller a shave,and then discovers that Miller-minus-his-beard looks just like Ken Maynard used to look before his hair turned white and he grew a beard. Of all the swamps in all the world ain't it lucky that the Ranger chasing Maynard turned up in this one, and turned out to be Maynard's look-alike double..once shaven that is. Gee, thinks Maynard, all I have to do now is find some shoe polish and dye my hair or, failing that, take off this wig, change clothes with this guy,as soon as I patch the pants where the croc or gator or something bit a chuck out of them, take his badge, since he doesn't need no badge or, in South America, a bawdge, and go back to Texas posing as this Ranger and prove that Harold Goodwin did the deed that caused me to be in this swamp. Nobody will recognize me since I now have white hair and a beard if I get rid of the white hair and beard.

The only way that logic scans if he is thinking the jungle denizens won't recognize him because, when last seen in Texas, the now-shaven and hair-dyed Maynard looks just like he did when he was last seen crossing the border in Del Rio. But, by golly, he is right. Back in Texas, everybody thinks he is Walter Miller, whom he favored none at all when both men left Texas, and nobody thinks he is fugitive Ken Maynard even though he still looks like the Ken Maynard that left town. But there is a slight change...he is now wearing the wardrobe Ken Maynard usually wore in his Universal films but wasn't wearing when last seen in Texas as Ken Maynard. Clothes do indeed make (or change) the man, especially in this Ken Maynard film, that doesn't seem to include any of the "locale" footage he made in order to bill Universal for the cost of his flying-trip vacation...which he charged them for anyway.

"Smoking Guns" is an unintended Horror film because it is so awful, but it ain't Gothic. More like Got-cha.

Ken Maynard and Carl Laemmle Senior and Junior parted company after this film.


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