6.3/10
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10 user 4 critic

Melody Ranch (1940)

Passed | | Romance, Western | 15 November 1940 (USA)
His Arizona hometown of Torpedo invites Gene back to be the honorary sheriff of the Frontier Days Celebration.

Director:

Writers:

(original screenplay), (original screenplay) | 4 more credits »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Julie Shelton
...
Mark Wildhack
Barbara Jo Allen ...
Veronica Whipple (as Barbara Allen - 'Vera Vague')
...
Pop Laramie
Jerome Cowan ...
Tommy Summerville
Mary Lee ...
Penny Curtis
Joe Sawyer ...
Jasper Wildhack (as Joseph Sawyer)
...
Bud Wildhack (as Horace MacMahon)
Clarence Wilson ...
Judge Henderson
William 'Billy' Benedict ...
Slim (as William Benedict)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Donnie Allen
Johnnie Fleming
Charlotte Fletcher
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Storyline

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 <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Something NEW In Motion Pictures!... It's GAY... EXCITING... DIFFERENT! See more »

Genres:

Romance | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 November 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eldorado  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original) | (edited)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Cornelius J. Courtney: Hey, Gene. Listen, I've been thinking it over, and I think maybe I ought to go with the others on the bus.
Gene Autry: Oh no you don't. Get up on that horse and shut up.
Cornelius J. Courtney: But, Gene...
Gene Autry: Remember, this was your idea.
Cornelius J. Courtney: I'd forgotten.
See more »

Connections

References The Great Train Robbery (1903) See more »

Soundtracks

Welcome Home
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Sung by the children
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great cast killed by corn
30 April 2006 | by (Azusa, CA) – See all my reviews

"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.


3 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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