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Location, Location, Location
Gene Crokus from United States
20 October 2004
Perhaps one of the greatest examples of the use of Lone Pine,
California's Alabama Hills as a location (hundreds of movies have been
shot here), 'West of Nevada' offers little in the way of entertainment
save that some interesting characters appear in it. But its historical
significance as a testament to the attraction of the Alabama Hills as a
filming location give it some prominence among B-Westerns.
Star Rex Bell (playing Jim Carden) is dispatched to determine what is
going on with gold shipments from an Indian reservation. It seems that
the local bank manager and his hired guns are after the gold despite
the efforts of Steve Clark (as Milt Haldain) and his daughter and Rex
Bell's love interest - Joan Barclay (playing Helen). Jim Carden's
investigations eventually break the case.
Al St. John (Walla Walla) gives a less-than-convincing portrayal as the
sidekick to star Rex Bell (playing Jim Carden) and this is a bit
surprising given St. John's long career as an actor. St. John appeared
in 249 movies over a 40 year career. By the time 'West of Nevada' was
made he had been in well over a hundred movies!
Particularly annoying is his inability to convey continuity in the
simple task of convincing us of the heaviness of an item. At first he
shows a great struggle with the item but within a few moments is
handling it like the completely lightweight object it really is! So he
flunks Acting 101 right at the outset of the movie.
Director Robert F. Hill made a hundred or so films bridging the silent
and talking picture eras. None of them are particularly memorable.
Co-star of 'West of Nevada' Joan Barclay certainly had the talent to
fashion a more solid career (although she did appear in over 70 films).
But a quote attributed to her speaks loudly about those that have the
energy and drive to be great and those that like the rest of us just
The one who was the nicest to me was Jimmy Cagney. He used to take me
and sit me down in his dressing room at Warners and say, "Now, Geraine,
you have an opportunity here that you seem not to realize. You should
go take acting lessons, singing lessons, dancing lessons, and you could
become a star." I said, "Well, yeah, Jimmy, thanks a lot, I'll do
that." And of course it went in one ear and out the other, I didn't do
one darn thing about it. I was just frivolous-minded, and as long as I
was working and making money, I didn't mind just being a nobody.
Bell, Clara Bow's long time husband, made a number of oaters (22) in
the Twenties and Thirties but essentially retired from Hollywood by
1936. He then began a long career in ranching and Nevada politics. And
Rex Bell becomes one of the other trivia associated with the great 1961
movie "The Misfits". It was his last film appearance.
Rating: Two Stars.
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