|Index||6 reviews in total|
Apple-eating killers, great costumes for the female villain (a different,
dazzling costume for almost every scene) and the impressive California
Sierras make this Hopalong Cassidy adventure one of the best of the 60. It
was so good in fact that Harry Sherman and his crew recycled the plot
elements in another fairly good Hopalong titled, Wide Open Town. Although
Hopalong Cassidy Returns is by far the better of the two, not only by
of being first, but also because more money was spent on the production and
each had a different director: Nate Watt for HCR and Lesley Selander for
The dark-haired Miss Brent in satin and sequins plays well against the shimmering, silvery haired William Boyd. Their final scene is worth waiting for, if not for the emotional content then for the technical aspects of lighting and photography.
You won't see another like it in the series.
I have lately been revisiting these black and white B-Westerns, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the story of William Boyd, and how he made the character of Hopalong Cassidy his own (not to mention how the Hoppy role changed Boyd) is more interesting to me now as an adult than when I first watched these films in the 1950s. Second, I've been reacquainting myself with a broad spectrum of retro/nostalgic film/TV/radio media generally, and these films are excellent examples. Also, Watching the B-Western films of John Wayne (especially the Republic/Lone Star films), the early work of Roy Rogers, and the Hoppy films themselves all have a common element in the sidekick persona of George "Gabby" Hayes, one of the character actors who defined the sidekick role. This particular Hoppy story features some unusual elements, like Hoppy's kid brother Buddy, an apple-chomping villain, a wheelchair-bound good guy, but especially a "woman gone wrong" who falls for Hoppy in a big way, even to the point of letting her feelings endanger the criminal empire she's built for herself. Excellent acting performances also make this film above average for the Hopalong Cassidy body of work. I guess I'd have to say I like them all, but I love this one.
*Hopalong Cassidy Returns* is the seventh in the HC series, released in late 1936, and with William Janney (Buddy Cassidy) standing in for James Ellison (Johnny Nelson) as Hoppy's mischievous sidekick, in this case his own brother. William Boyd as Hoppy is back, this time as a new town Marshal bent on cleaning out corrupt saloon owner Lili Marsh. A number of the familiar early Cassidy 'heavies' are here; Joe Rickson, Ernie Adams, Morris Ankrum (appearing as Steven Morris), and Al St John. George 'Gabby' Hayes is back in yet another incarnation of the fuzzy headed 'Windy'. Practically all these early Hoppy films were tongue-in-cheek, and this one is no exception. Fast-paced action leading up to an exciting climax, with great fun having been had by all. Recommended!!
Hopalong Cassidy Returns has two unusual attributes for the series. For
the one and only time in the series Hoppy had a younger brother as a
sidekick played by William Janney. And for the one and only time Hoppy
had a love interest. In this case, in spite of himself.
After prospector Irving Bacon and city editor of the town newspaper John Beck are killed, Gabby Hayes who's visiting the town of Mesa Grande sends for his old pal Hopalong Cassidy. Lawlessness has gotten completely out of hand in this city and its up to the cowboy hero to set things right.
On the way into town Hoppy saves the life of Evelyn Brent who's been thrown from her horse. The next time he meets her he finds she's the owner of the town saloon and the boss of a gang of outlaws who's been robbing and killing the prospectors in the vicinity. She's got a couple of nasty henchmen in Grant Richards and Morris Ankrum.
Hoppy's got three problems to deal with, his kid brother Janney is wanting to sow some wild oats, but there's a good girl in town played by Gail Sheridan who might be the answer there. There's the problem of lawlessness and the romantic problem with Evelyn Brent.
More her problem than is because she's in a quandary. Her brains say one thing, but her hormones say something else about William Boyd.
There's more than a passing resemblance to the plot of Destry Rides Again in Hopalong Cassidy Returns. The screen credits for this film say it is based on one of Hoppy creator Clarence Mulford's stories. The original novel that Destry Rides Again was written by Max Brand, so it's anybody's guess who might have copied from who, consciously or unconsciously.
If you've seen the James Stewart-Marlene Dietrich classic you know how Hopalong Cassidy Returns will end. Still it's an unusual entry in the series and not a bad one.
Who ever heard of a town called Big Table? Anyway, it was over run with the criminal element who would knock off stupid gold miners who didn't have brains enough not to come to town and shoot off their mouths about the big strike they just made at their secret gold mine. When Hoppy comes to town as the new marshall things change, you can bet. Good action western with lots of gunplay; and Hoppy even found himself a girlfriend.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**spoilers*** The only thing that makes this movie worthwhile is the
fine flirtation scenes between Hoppy and Evelyn Brent, a long-time
distinguished actress, who plays the leader of the bad guys here. She
runs the local saloon-gambling hall, a ranch full of rustlers and a
mine she stole from a witless old prospector. Her really terrific scene
is at the end after she saves Hoppy's life and asks for a final kiss.
At about that time there is some fine cinema photography when Hoppy, at
night, shoots Morris Ankrum through a darkened window into a lighted
The story is quite thin and senseless. One bad guy takes a shot, for no good reason, at Gabby Hays just because he is riding near Brent's mine. The bad guy ends up in jail and is killed there by the worried gang (afraid he'd talk). Then Brent's lieutenant throws a guy out of the saloon and pulls a gun on him, an offense against the local ordinance. So he is incarcerated, the townsfolk inexplicably threaten to lynch him for that (!), so to save his neck he confesses everything to Cassidy.
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