|Index||9 reviews in total|
When his old mentor is killed by black-hooded baddies with
skull-and-crossbones on their chests, Tex and his sidekick Stubby head
up to the old man's mine look for clues and protect the remaining
miners from the mysterious gang.
Colorful villains, some decent action scenes, including a nice saloon brawl with veteran heavy Charles King, and some great songs, all make this pretty agreeable entertainment for fans of Tex Ritter and nineteen-thirties B-westerns in general.
In my opinion, Ritter was the most personable and the best singer of the Saturday matinée westerns and Grand National Pictures the best at strategically placing great songs to cover up the slow parts.
Tex Ritter tries to solve the mystery of a band of hooded horsemen running
roughshod over the country side around the Four Star Mine.
The movie is okay. The plot sort wanders about for the required running time before coming to an end with a chase and a shoot out. Those wishing to learn how not to film a movie chase scene should be required to watch this as good guys and bads guys come from every side of the screen without rhyme or reason. There are a few too many songs that prevent the plot from ever being fully fleshed out.Actually the plot here is more a sketch or a rough idea than an actual story. Its completely forgettable and unremarkable. Its not bad but its something you'll have forgotten five minutes after you watch it.
A Final Note: Whoever was Tex Ritter's make-up man should be shot, I spent a great deal of the movie wondering when all of the flour on his face was going to turn into a cake. Its awful and makes Ritter look like a dead refugee from the silent era.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This one gives us little more than the standard formula for B movie
The bad guy Norton (played by the classic villain Forrest Taylor) steals the deed to the mine; the good guy, Tex Martin (the easy going but tough fighting Tex Ritter) immediately rides into the thick of the trouble, and is quickly involved in a barroom fight with Blackie (Charles King); then Tex and his partner Stubby (Horace Murphy) try to unravel the suspicious goings-on regarding the mine, and the evil gang of black caped and hooded horsemen (wearing a skull and cross bones logo) known as "The Masked Riders."
Tex infiltrates the gang, gets discovered, is falsely put in jail and then rescued by Stubby, and off they go with the vigilantes to pursue and capture the Masked Riders in a final mass horseback open prairie chase sequence, that by 1937 had been done many times: the Masked Riders finally being encircled by the vast group of vigilante horsemen. The 'mystery' of the title lay in discovering who the real boss of the Masked Riders would turn out to be. Although this is a spoiler, I won't tell you, but it's not the bartender!
Although too short and too routine to be of more than passing interest, the highlights are: 1) the direction of Ray Taylor, here giving Horace Murphy (described by Blackie as "short, fat, and wall-eyed") his biggest and best played role so far; 2) the fight between Tex and Blackie in the bar (one of their best-- too bad there weren't more); 3) the slight presence of the Priscilla Presley look alike, Iris Meredith as Nancy, who herself was in almost 50 films as the "Prairie Flower," mostly in the Charles Starret (who?) westerns, but also in those of Bill Elliot, Johnny Mack Brown, and Buster Crabbe's 'Billy the Kid.' She also played the helpless heroine in 'The Green Archer' (1940) serial.
The real high points, of course, in the Tex Ritter westerns are the musical numbers and his singing. We get a nice little yodelin' country and western swing banjo number from Ray Whitley and his band, and Tex singing "Ride Around Little Dogies," and "Ride, Ride, Ride," which is introduced by Blackie as Tex enters the bar: Norton says, "What's he doing here?" and Blackie answers, "I don't know, but it's a cinch he's up to no good." Does he mean his singing?
Other than the above, it's too routine to be of much interest, and too short, with not enough music numbers or enough fights of various types with Charles King.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A murderous gang of masked gunmen rampage through the wilderness
frightening farmers and ranchers alike in "The Mystery of the Hooded
Horsemen," director Ray Taylor's singing cowboy saga about Tex Ritter's
warbling cowpoke. These trigger-happy galoots chase an older man, Tom
Wilson (Lafe McGee of "Arizona Legion"), who is traveling alone by
himself on his buckboard. They gun down the old gent without a second
thought. The leader of the hooded hellions, Blackie Devlin (Charles
King of "Sonora Stagecoach"), fishes the deed to the Four Star Mine out
of Wilson's wallet. Meantime, Tex Martin (Tex Ritter of "Flaming
Bullets") and his sidekick Stubby (Horace Murphy of "Riders of the
Dawn") are drifting through the territory in route to work in Rock
Creek when they discover Wilson sprawled out on the trail. As it turns
out, Wilson was a close friend of both Tex and his father. Wilson
explains to Tex that the Hooded Riders plugged him, and he wants Tex
and Stubby to assist his partner, Dan Farley (Joseph Girard of "The
Outlawed Deputy"), in saving their mine. Wilson dies not long after
uttering his last words. Stubby admits misgivings about their new
course of action. "I don't like to say anything, Tex," Stubby opines,
"but somehow or another, I got the feeling we're riding right smack dab
into a hornet's nest." Tex agrees completely with his sidekick, but he
remembers that Wilson taught him how to rope steers when he was tyke,
and he vows to ferret out Wilson's killers. Our heroes amble into a Red
Eye saloon to inquire about directions to the Wilson mine. Before Tex
and Stubby enter the bar, Blackie meets his boss Norton (Forrest Taylor
of "Bullets and Saddles") and shows him Wilson's deed. Tex goes out of
the way to make sure that everybody knows that Stubby and he want
directions to the mine. The pugnacious Norton tangles with Tex and a
knock-down, drag-out fistfight over the issue ensues. Stubby
discourages Norton's henchmen from pitching in to help their compatriot
by holding them at bay with his six-gun. Sheriff Walker (Earl Dwire)
intervenes in the fracas. Norton blames Tex for starting the fight.
Walker advises Tex to steer clear of the mine. According to Walker,
people have been shooting, killing, and setting fires at Four Star.
Tex and Stubby ignore Walker's words of caution and gallop off to the mine. Norton prompts Sheriff Walker to form a posse and pursue our heroes. The lawman beats them to the Four Star and warns Farley about Tex and Stubby. No sooner have our heroes arrived at the mine than they find themselves at the mercy of Wilson's daughter Nancy (Iris Meredith of "Convicted Woman") who holds them at gunpoint. Tex informs Nancy about her father's demise. Afterward, she introduces them to her Uncle Farley. According to Nancy, her father was bound for Silver Springs to mortgage the Four Star so he could obtain new mining equipment. Farley explains the ore is just profitable enough for them to make a living. Saddened by the news of Wilson's murder, Farley concedes, "Sometimes, I almost wish they'd succeeded in taking the Four Star away from us then perhaps we'd have a little peace around here." According to Farley, the Masked Riders are the primary source of their suffering. "They've burned, looted, and killed everywhere and everybody. I guess we've been the hardest hit." When the Hooded Horsemen strike again at the mine, Tex manages to wound one before they beat a retreat. Farley and Nancy are shocked when they learn that the wounded hombre is their foreman, Bill Dawson. Farley tries to revive Dawson with a shot of whiskey, but two-timing Dawson dies. In the town of Red Eye, the citizens form a vigilante force and persuade Tex to serve as their leader since he pummeled Blackie to a pulp. Blackie warns Norton about the townspeople's plans, and Norton summons the Riders for a meeting later that evening. Tex spots Norton, Blackie, and others as they leave the saloon. Not only does Tex shadow them without arousing their suspicions, but he also infiltrates their ranks by donning Dawson's hood. Tex hears Norton say their "big boss" is happy with their efforts at acquiring the ranches and mines of Red Eye. Nevertheless, Norton vows that they must smash the vigilante faction as well as eliminate Tex. Our protagonist has to flee when they discover that one too many of them are at the meeting. In Red Eye, Sheriff Walker catches Tex with the incriminating hood and arrests him. Stubby helps Tex escape from the hoosegow, and Tex assembles the vigilantes. They round up the Masked Riders. Tex pursues Norton to his stash among the rocks. As Norton retrieves a bag of gold coins, the brains behind the Masked Riders murders Norton. Tex catches this killer and exposes him as the leader. As it turns out, the dastard is none other than Farley and Farley had poisoned Dan to silence him. Tex notifies Nancy that Farley planned to run her out to dominate the valley.
"The Mystery of the Hooded Horsemen" isn't a bad little yarn. Naturally, Tex Ritter wins the day and sings some pleasant enough songs. As usual, Charles King makes an unsavory adversary. The shocking revelation about the chief villain's identity adds something to this sprawling western with hordes of horsemen thundering around the terrain.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The ease of this charming, lively and unpretentious western has
something refreshing that leaves cold the audiences jaded, spoiled by
the later developments of the genre; but it's a very good movie, one
that takes time to show its characters enjoying an evening, and
actually showing the glitter of a river, or, earlier than that, a nice
panorama (while Tex is first shown the mine and the ore). So there is
the movie itself, charming, lively, unpretentious, directed with ease,
and the songs, and certainly the cast (Ritter, Iris Meredith, Charles
King, Dwire); the leading man's approach matches that of the movie. Tex
the character is a decent everyman. His first (and, as a matter of
fact, only) fistfight with one of the outlaws, in a saloon, is a very
well made scene, with a sense of the choreography, and the director's
ease shows also in other quirks or highlights (transitions, etc.); 'The
Hooded Horsemen' has been made by a director with an assured sense of
the qualities of the genre, resulting in a cheap script shoot with
gusto, sense and craft, which won't appeal to the jaded fans. Maybe I
was thirsty for such a movie, but I liked it very much.
What Tex does for the townspeople and the mine (and the cute heiress) is to assemble, to raise up a force of vigilantes against the masked riders. There is the ease, there are the songs, there is the cast, with one of those endearing actresses of the low budget westerns, who retired early from the biz. It's a movie for those who take an interest in the offer. I like songs, and I like them in movies. Not all of the performers of the old westerns were actors; some of them were showmen. The showmen from these westerns, of the '30s and '40s, were physically of three main types: the handsome (Rogers, Brown, LaRue, Starrett, Crabbe), the cool (Steele, McCoy) : those perhaps less handsome, or not as handsome, but still macho, and the common (Autry, Ritter, Boyd, E. Dean); I don't classify the greats, Mix, Jones, Cooper, Wayne, Scott, or, from later movies, Mitchum, Stewart, etc..
(Handsomeness never meant that much for a movie career: e.g., Mature, Harrison, Marchal or other officers or citizens of the '60s Hollywoodian Roman Empire.)
Tex Ritter films are not to be taken too seriously. You will encounter
no deep themes to ponder, no grey area where you might wonder if a
certain character is good or bad.
In this one, the good guys wear their cowboy duds and the bad guys wear black cloaks with skulls and crossbones on them. If only telling who the bad guys are was so easy in real life.
As in every Tex Ritter movie I've seen so far, there is a shootout in the beginning, as bar fight, a minor twist in the plot, some singing then another shootout.
Tex Ritter obviously was a man of routine.
This movie was silly and fun, I think I enjoyed it slightly more than the other Tex Ritter movies I've seen just because of the comical black hoods the bad guys wear.
Back in these days those guys were really throwing themselves off the horses for the stunts and some of the extras probably really were cowboys.
Not a long movie, which I consider one of it's strengths.
Ride, ride, ride!!
There are Hooded Horsemen but not much of a mystery in The Mystery Of
The Hooded Horseman. Still as this was a B picture feature for the
Saturday matinée kid crowd it had a lot of riding and shooting with Tex
Ritter singing a song or three for Grand National Pictures.
Tex Ritter and sidekick Horace Murphy come upon a gang of masked horsemen wearing Ku Klux Klan like hoods instead of your regular bandanna masks who shoot down and kill an old friend of Tex's father. The cowboy code demands Tex take action and he does. Of course there's some singing and a little romance with leading lady Iris Meredith.
There are a couple red herrings thrown at the audience as suspects, but it doesn't take too much to figure out who the leader is. Keep it simple for the kids and I'm sure they enjoyed it back then.
Tex Ritter's country stylings in his songs are the main reason to watch The Mystery Of the Hooded Horsemen today however.
To all you lovers of B-westerns, hold on tight...I am about to say
something really, really mean. I've seen at least a hundred or more of
these movies in the last six months and of all the cowboy heroes, the
lamest I have seen is Tex Ritter. I know he had a lot of fans since he
made so many movies, but I just can't see his appeal. Since these are
particularly cheaply made films (even for Bs), the acting is among the
worst and his singing, generally, is pretty limp. When you see a Ritter
film and compare it to a Roy Rogers, Tim McCoy or Three Mesquiteers
film, the quality difference is very noticeable--and not for the
In this installment, Tex investigates a group of hooded killers. They are NOT the KKK neither are they particularly scary. For example, there is one shootout scene where at least 100-200 shots are fired--and at the end, only one guy is hit! These must be the most myopic villains in film history--as the gang of a dozen or more don't manage to have even one of their bullets land!! The only bullet that hits its mark is one of Tex's--and for that, the community wants him to head a vigilante crusade--though they have no idea WHO these men are. All they know is that Tex's gun can apparently hit something...occasionally. But, when Tex dresses up as a hooded rider, d, now things look bad as the community now think HE is one of the dreaded gang (and you know that they are bad due to the skull and crossbones on their silly uniform). Can Tex extricate himself and find the real baddies? And, can he manage to sing a song that doesn't make your ears bleed? Well, as for the latter, no. His song "I'll Ride, Ride, Ride" is particularly painful--with all of its 'woo-woo-woos'! Of all the Ritter movies I've seen so far, this is probably the worst due to dopey villains and really, really bad acting. Only for die-hard fans who can look past all this. Limp and silly.
This is a mediocre western programmer, utterly unremarkable and not worth your time, except for Ritter's singing of traditional songs, particularly his rendition of "Ride Around Ye Little Dogies." The acting is more concerned with making sure that people speak clearly, and the gunfire sounds like cap pistols.
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