Gene and his buddies discover that the ranch they bought is really a dairy farm. And worse, it's subject to intimidation from a protection racket that prevents dairy products from safely reaching the market.
Opening with a credit line that reads "Entire production conceived, created and directed by George White," a film evolves where the only plot line is a thin backstage romance between Jimmy ... See full summary »
With a longer-than-usual running time on original release and booked and sold to the exhibitors as a "Gene Autry Special", which Republic would do once a year from 1939-1943 in order to get higher rates than on the regular series entries from the theatre owners. Hey, Jimmy Durante and Ann Miler cost more than Smiley Burnette and June Storey. This "special",(which alternates between tongue-in-cheek and for-real and hard to distinguish which is which since there was very little for-real in most of the fantasy-land settings Autry's Republic films were laid in), finds Gene returning to his hometown of Torpedo as guest of honor at the Frontier Days Celebraion, Once there, he encounters his childhood enemies, the Wildhack brothers (Barton MacLane, Joe Sawyer and Horace MacMahon in pecking order), now the local gangsters (and playing it with relish.) The Wildhacks own a saloon next door to the school, and when their shooting and brawling endangers the safety of the children, Gene protests ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The 'Melody Ranch' set built for this film consisted of a long, one story house and a much larger gambrel-roof barn with a practical interior. The house portion's exterior was revamped after filming, and the set was a fixture on Republic's back lot for several years. It was featured in the show My Three Sons (1960). See more »
Cornelius J. Courtney:
Folks, this is your pal, Cornelius J. Courtney, tellin' you that this program is brought to you by that nationally famous head cold remedy "Nose Posse." Aaahh! Manufactured, endorsed by that benefactor of humanity, Thomas Summerville. Ah, that most delicate of organisms, the nose, the snoozle, the proboscus, let Nose Posse guard it for you. It deserves that protection - take it from me, a man who knows his noses. At-chaaa! And now, after a brief pause for station identification, Gene Autry will...
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"Melody Ranch" (1940) is one of Gene Autry's best-known and most popular Oaters. In reality,while not his best, it's still entertaining as all get-out!
The only neative is the screenplay by Jack Moffitt, F. Hugh Herbet (norelation to the comic character actor), Bradford Ropes and Betty Burbridge: It's got a little too much comic corn.
The film boasts an unusually strong cast,including Gabby Hayes, Gene's love interest Ann Miller (who never ever looked more stunning - she's a total knockout here at age 17), bad guy Barton MacLane, and Jerome Cowan (a year before Mary Astor bumps him off when he played Bogie's Sam Spade partner Miles Archer near the beginning of "The Maltese Falcon").
Serving as Gene's back-up band...Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys! The fella who gets the lion's share of the corny jokes is that wonderful legend, Jimmy Durante. His role is similar to his Banjo in "The Man Who Came to Dinner" four years later, in 1944.
I absolutely love the two-reel B film "Oater" westerns of the '30 & '40s and the western TV series of the '50s. This one comes close to being included among them but the high corn factor keeps it off the list. But Ann Miller is really great to look at here.
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