Black Aces (1937) Poster


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tomwal10 May 2011
Another rip roaring western from Buck Jones. Jones co-directed,produced and starred in this formula "b" western.Jones play's a devil may care rancher who takes life's worries a day at a time. When his intended engagement with childhood sweetheart Sandy McKenzie falls apart,Jones heads to town,and loses his ranch in a poker game.The shady card dealer Len Stoddard sends his brother Jake to ride with Jones to remove his property. While there ,Jake is killed. Jones is accused and has to flee the law.A gang called the Black Aces is extorting money from the citizens of Sweetwater ,sending black ace calling cards to their intended victims.Jones sets out to clear his name.In a scant 59 minutes, Jones gets the bad guys and renews his romance with Sandy.As in most of his films,Jones's easy going style and sense of humor makes for an enjoyable hour. Jones horse Silver gets to show off also. Veteran baddie Bob Kortman is along with Robert Frazier.Kay Linaker makes a strong leading lady. Viewers of the much later Dragnet series will recognize Barney Phillips as Jake.William Sickner lensed the film,with Cliff Lyons stunting for Jones .Print is so so. 59 minutes.Released by Universal. 6 stars.
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Not bad at all!
JohnHowardReid20 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Produced and directed by BUCK JONES. Co-director: Lesley Selander. Screenplay: Frances Guihan. Based on the novel by Stephen Payne. Photographed by Allen Thompson and William Sickner. Film editor: Bernard Loftus.

Copyright 29 June 1937 by Universal Pictures Co., Inc. Released in the U.S.A. 5 September 1937. No New York opening. 6 reels. 59 minutes.

COMMENT: Another unusual film from the Buck Jones western stable, this one has some really extraordinary photography which defies all Hollywood conventions:- Fully half the film is shot in almost total darkness (including the opening and the climax) and another quarter of it in the eerie twilight just before sunset or just after sunrise.

Jones' direction is more than competent and incorporates at least one striking image (Jones rides down a slight incline and is surrounded by a complete circle of badmen). Jones' production eschews flamboyance and has a realistic drabness about it which is very effective.

The script reveals the identity of the "boss" a little too early in the narrative, but the slack is taken up by some fine character studies, particularly from Kay Linaker as the unusually spirited heroine, Fred Mackaye as the card-cheating saloon proprietor, and Bernard Phillips as his personable brother. Comedian Corbett has a straight role for once.
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