Black Aces (1937)
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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.