|Index||5 reviews in total|
This is a fun-filled romp for Gene and Smiley, and there's plenty of
action to go along with the shenanigans. Gene & his leading lady,
Judith Allen (Doris Maxwell), are a good match with a seemingly
love-hate relationship that naturally ends in love. In the meantime,
Gene and Judith keep the audience guessing as to what next crazy trick
one will play on the other. Smiley is along to provide the juvenile
comedy. This outing he also provides some fine music, showing off his
versatility by playing both the piano and the accordion (his favored
musical instrument). Smiley "Frog" Burnette was also adept at inventing
musical contraptions. This time around it's the Maple City Boys who
play on some of these concoctions. Smiley provides one of the songs,
"Honey Bringing Honey To You," a clever play on words, written by Frog.
Though mostly traditional music from the time period (using authentic
western music was mainly the reserve of Tex Ritter in those days), the
soundtrack is a winner. "Git Along Little Dogies," the title of the
movie (Gene often used song names - usually his latest hit - for his
film titles) is a true song of the cattle drive and has several
variations. The one Gene, Frog, and the Mape City Boys sing during the
opening credits is the standard version.
The story has Gene at first promoting the cattlemen's water rights over the oil company's rights to drill, which is polluting the streams where the cows drink. Influenced by his attraction to Judith, who has a radio station above a Chinese restaurant (yes, that's right) that is sponsored by the oil company, and by a new revelation, Gene begins to have second thoughts.
The Chinese restaurant is run by Sing Low (Willie Fong)who steals part of the show from Frog, especially when Sing Low sings high his version of "Git Along Little Dogie," with a Chinese "Woopie Tie Ya Yo." Gene even sings "China, My Chinatown," at least a sliver of it.
Added attractions are The Cabin Kids, sort of a precursor do-wop harmony group, and a song and dance from Gladys and Will Ahern. The "Stock Selling Song (We're the Boys From the Circle A)" by the Maple City Boys may be a bit much, but does foreshadow later musical innovations such as the opening number in "The Music Man." This oater has romance, fun, music, and action. Who could ask for anything more?
I love the Maple City Four and their jug band number. Amazing how
rhythms can captivate regardless how primitive the instruments. Gene's
out to keep an oil well out of the hands of selfish no-goodnik George
Wilkins. But first he's got to convince the townfolk that he's not the
one trying to cheat them. Catch how that new-fangled gizmo, radio, is
worked into the plot. Seems like the broadcasting studio can be
anywhere. No formalities here. And what a personality Judy Allen is,
with a smile to light up a whole room. Good thing she and Gene finally
bury the hatchet. But does Frog finally net the butterfly. He's been
after it for an hour. A couple of good touches. Note how baddie George
keeps his black eye for several consecutive scenes. Most oaters would
not bother with such detail. Also, the oil rig collapse looks like the
real thing, and without stock footage or miniatures. So did they
actually build one for the movie see what you think. Anyway, it's the
usual fine Autry mix with more than average number of songs, including
an offbeat lariat duo. All in all, it's a solid production from Gene's
A "7" on the matinée scale.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Even if you're a big Gene Autry fan, I think you'd have to call into
question his behavior in this picture. He shoots the tire of a car
driven by Doris Maxwell (Judith Allen), smashes another car window with
a rock over a disagreement with the driver, and later lies about Banker
Maxwell's suicide so it doesn't tarnish the man's reputation. Not to
mention walking Champion into a restaurant to avoid his saddle being
taken again. You could argue that in each of these events Gene was
provoked in one way or another, but his response didn't exactly conform
to that of your typical Western hero. I'm just saying.
And if he were a politician, he would have been accused of flip-flopping on the oil well issue his neighboring ranchers were fully against because of it's tainting of the water supply. Gene figured the economic benefit of a railroad branch proposed for Canyon City would have trumped the problem of poisoned water. I don't think the writers really thought through their story plot with this one, because it really leaves Gene's character in a bad light.
But somehow he manages to come through the picture a hero, even hooking up with his antagonistic leading lady by the time it's all over. Along the way, sidekick Frog Millhouse (Smiley Burnette) works a butterfly net gimmick in addition to his usual musical chores. There's an impromptu performance at Sing Low's (Willie Fung) restaurant with the Maple City Four on makeshift instruments, and a karaoke style sing along later on in the story. That was something I haven't seen before in an old Western, as the words of some common old standards flashed on the screen for the viewer to follow.
Keep an eye on an early scene when Doris Maxwell makes her first appearance by driving through the stream and splashing water all over Gene. While speaking to Smiley, Gene appears to be wet but relatively clean. However after he chases and catches up to Doris when she veers off the road, Gene's clothes and face are splashed with mud. Stuff like this is pretty common in these era flicks, and it's one of the fun things about being an old time movie fan.
In the 1950s, the films of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers were frequently
trimmed to make them fit TV time slots. In some cases, this actually
improved the films--making them flow better by eliminating a few slow
spots or dull songs. However, sometimes an insane editor completely
destroys a film--like what happened with the copy of "Git Along Little
Dogies" that I saw. It was originally 67 minutes and 15 minutes (about
20%) was chopped off--and often the edits left out important parts of
the plot! And, oddly, it seems like EVERY song remained!
The plot for this film is odd--even for a Gene Autry film. It begins with Autry and a spunky lady, Doris Maxwell, getting into a tiny feud--but because of bad editing, parts of it are missing! Regardless, Gene is incredibly patient with this obnoxious lady. It turns out her father is financing an oil well whose drilling has destroyed the local water table. Gene is against it. But, when Doris bats her eyes and gets into trouble, Gene agrees to help her and the oil project. However, George Wilkens (the foreman on the well) is a conniving baddie and is determined to make the well fail--so he can then buy it himself and reveal that it is a gusher! Can Gene and Frog manage to right everything by the end of the film? What do you think? As I mentioned above, this copy (from archive.org) is lousy. The songs aren't bad, the plot a bit sub-par and there is a bit they left in where the audience sings along with a bouncing ball (YICK!). The only plus is watching Gene run and jump on his horse Champion repeatedly--it was exciting but must have caused serious damage to whoever did these stunts!! My advice is try to find the full film--otherwise forget it.
From a dedicated conservationist Gene Autry becomes a champion of the
oil interests in this early western of his for Republic. One Judith
Allen who's the banker's daughter and runs the local radio station
which is mostly sponsored by the oil company which has a local drilling
Said operation is what Gene's against. He takes the reasonable position that the oil when it comes up will poison the watering holes where the cattle drink. Then however when he finds out that the railroad is going to build a spur line for the oil company, then it will also be used by the ranches to ship their steaks on a hoof to the stockyards, that's different. I guess the cattle and the people can drink a little poison then. Sounds like a confirmed hyrdrofracker of today.
The villain here is Weldon Heyburn who's working his own agenda. He's an agent of the oil company, but he's wanting more than a salary and he gets it.
I saw a much abbreviated version, no doubt butchered for early television. Still I doubt the director's cut would be any better. And seeing our cowboy hero sell out to big oil today would not make this film popular in the circles I hang out in.
|Plot summary||Ratings||External reviews|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|