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Les Adams <email@example.com>
Adventures of truckers Byrd and Bond hauling a load of dynamite
No "Wages of Fear" this, but a fun Republic picture directed by Joseph Kane and written by the famous novelist Nathanael West (!), who wrote "Day of the Locust" and "Miss Lonelyhearts". That's reason enough to see what's going on, and there are indeed some pretty nifty repartee and one-liners rattled off.
Look what we have going for us. We have Ward Bond, the major John Ford player, and he does a rhumba in one scene. Ralph Byrd, who played Dick Tracy. There's lots of open road photography in semi-arid landscapes and California landscapes, with fast-moving cars and trucks. There's an explosion of a diversion lock to a dam that's fun. Plus there are several songs, lip-synched by Byrd I'd guess. These are light opera fare and enjoyable. Throw in a Spanish dance for good measure.
It's a totally unexpected mix. Who cares about the plot? Byrd and Bond think they're hauling lettuce, but instead it's dynamite. Along the way, others attempt to stop them, and this includes a girl that Byrd falls for, in good humour no matter what she does. She's played by one Doris Weston whose three year movie career ended in 1939. She represents ranchers who don't want to be flooded out, and then there are some bad guys.
Writer West is an uncredited writer of an early and famous film noir, "Stranger on the Third Floor" and the noirish "Five Came Back", but his fame is due to the two novels mentioned above, both of which were made into worthy films.
Perhaps if I watched "Born to be Wild" again with the idea in mind of picking up West's novelistic themes, I might detect them. But they didn't jump out at me, so for now it looks as if he was earning his paycheck.
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