|Index||3 reviews in total|
In Santa Fe Marshal Bill Boyd is on a mission to round up a notorious
gang operating in the Santa Fe area with an appointment as US Marshal
on a temporary basis. The law and the title character of the film is
played by future cowboy hero star Eddie Dean and he's up against it.
After all who would dream that the brains of the outlaw gang is sweet
little old lady Marjorie Rambeau.
Even though Hoppy is flying solo in this, Lucky Jenkins leaves the Bar 20 to help him anyway. Russell Hayden's rambunctiousness nearly wrecks Hoppy's undercover, but Boyd finds use for him.
One should see Santa Fe Marshal for Marjorie Rambeau, she gives one great performance here. And as always Earl Hodgins who did more westerns than there were pepper grains in my coleslaw last night is always good. Here Hodgins plays a less than honest but likable medicine show impresario. Hoppy also uses them for a cover as well.
Hoppy did not have his usual black outfit with his two six guns. Instead he's in suit with gun in shoulder holster. Part of his incognito. But he's still Hopalong Cassidy gallant knight of the frontier.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mucho fun. I love Hoppy and had the full regalia as a kid: outfit, hat, and two gun holster set. And while Hoppy is in great form in this picture (except he actually wears a white hat in this epic), Earle Hodgins as the medicine owner/barker is a scene stealer. During one of his spiels exhorting his tonic he reads from letters endorsing it such as, "I used to suffer from insomnia but after only taking one bottle, I was cured and would lie there in bed thinking all night how I had suffered in the past." But this is Hoppy's film as he is the undercover government man sent in to clean up the town. Almost immediately though, the head of the outlaw gang, sweet little old Ma Burton, Marjorie Rambeau, suspects Cassidy as he "ain't no tenderfoot medicine man." And his first night in town, she grills him like a professional extracting from him the very information he wants her to have: he is ex convict 4261 just three months out of prison. But she is still suspicious, Ma Burton wasn't born yesterday. The worst break for Hoppy is that Lucky Jenkins shows up and even though Hoppy hopes to use him as a foil by passing him off as the new marshal, past familiarity lets the audience know that Lucky will spill the beans sooner or later. And he does so somewhat accidentally to Ma Burton herself. Lucky does rescue Hoppy from a burning cabin; but Hoppy wouldn't have needed the help if Lucky could just keep quiet. But all is well, Ma gets caught and accepts that her luck has run out; and Hoppy and the girl and medicine show ride off into the sunset.
William Boyd's Hopalong Cassidy embodied simple American righteousness, despite his black attire. With Lucky, Windy (Gabby Hayes), or later California, he defended frontier justice. However, I'm not sure of the time period ; sometimes the setting seemed modern, others are more traditionally old western. In "Santa Fe Marshal", Hopy goes undercover as he once did in "Borderland". He must discover who is behind a series of robberies. Ingratiating himself to a traveling medicine show, Cassidy becomes the band's mysterious mindreader. One doesn't need to be psychic to know the outcome of this formalistic sagebrush saga. Nevertheless, it is Boyd's screen charisma that makes this film, as well as others in the series, enjoyable. I recommend the first film "Hopalong Cassidy Enters" and "Wide Open Town". Also, the early John Wayne ( who displays comparable mannerisms to Boyd or vice versa depending on your opinion) vehicle "Dawn Riders" is a modest western. 2 out of 4 stars.
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