One of three films made by Columbia circa 1936-37 based on behind-the-scenes film making with a "western" setting ("The Cowboy Star", "Hollywood Round-up" and "It Happened in Hollywood"), ...
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Harry Joe Brown
One of three films made by Columbia circa 1936-37 based on behind-the-scenes film making with a "western" setting ("The Cowboy Star", "Hollywood Round-up" and "It Happened in Hollywood"), plus RKO weighed in the same year with George O'Brien's "Hollywood Cowboy." It had been done before, RKO's 1933 "Scarlet River", and would be done again, "Shooting High" from 20th Century-Fox and Republic's "Bells of Rosarita", among others with a western setting, but this Coronet production with Buck Jones may well be the best of the lot as it devotes more footage to actual film-making both on studio sets and locations. One out-of-the norm plot incident has the studio head Lew Wallace offering a job to a fading star Carol Stevens, with a semi-apology for casting her in what he calls an "outdoor special" and she calls a "horse opry", and this scene in a B-western leaves no doubt that the B-western and it people were near the bottom of Hollywood's pecking order. The stereotypes are there, with Shemp ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Check out that jail scene right after Buck Kennedy (Buck Jones) gets
arrested in a frame up for the bank robbery. When Buck lassoed the
sheriff out of his chair and hung him upside down, it looked like
Buck already had the jail key in his hand because he didn't have to
take it off the lawman. See more »
"Hollywood Round-Up" is a supposed look behind the scenes at the making of a cheap B-western. It's a nice change of pace for the genre and Buck Jones is, as usual, very good in the lead.
When the film begins, Buck Kennedy (Jones) is a movie stand-in who does all the dirty scenes for the star, Grant Drexel (Grant Withers). Despite looking similar, Drexel is the opposite of the nice-guy Kenney. Drexel is obnoxious, a bully and a liar and makes Kennedy's life miserable throughout this movie. Drexel also cannot keep his filthy paws off his leading lady, Carol Stevens (Helen Twelvetrees)...a once leading lady whose career has turned downward...and so she's forced to appear in the so-called 'horse operas'.
Late in the film, Drexel gets Kennedy fired and a group of crooks convince Kennedy that they are filmmakers. But, as they rob the bank, it is NOT being filmed...it's real! And, Buck is left holding the bag. in a twist much like a B-western of the era, Buck soon breaks out of prison to catch the baddies himself...and yet Drexel steps in and acts as if HE is the hero! Is there anything anyone can do to prove Buck Kennedy is a hero and Drexel is a real zero?!
This is a very interesting B-western because I've seen at least a thousand and they mostly consist of about 3 or 4 plots...but this one is much more unique and enjoyable. I did NOT like the whole fake filmmakers portion because it simply didn't make sense. But the rest of the film was just great--very enjoyable and it was nice to see Drexel get his!
By the way, a couple interesting things about the movie are the casting of Twelvetrees and Dickie Jones (who played her brother). Twelvetrees played a once leading actress forced to be in a B-western--and that is EXACTLY what happened with this film. Soon she'd be out of movies completely and, sadly, a decade later she'd kill herself...presumably, in part, due to her career. Also, Jones is interesting because just a few years later he'd star as the leading voice actor in "Pinocchio".
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