|Index||5 reviews in total|
My summary title doesn't refer to the plot of any movie, it refers to the quality of the two Hoppy movies that followed this one: "Twilight on the Trail" & "Outlaws of the Desert," which are the two worst Hoppy movies of the 66 in the series. So somewhat surprisingly, this movie that preceded them is really a good movie. There are four songs, & although I frown on songs in my Hoppy movies (I leave that to Gene Autry & Roy Rogers), these songs are actually of good quality. This is a good, old fashioned western with lots of action, & not all of it involving Hoppy. There's plenty of gunfights, & unlike most later Hoppy movies, some of them are one on one gunfights (in later movies, the gunfights became one gang vs. another gang gun battles). This is a pretty tough western with plenty of excitement, & other characters have the stage quite a bit. Oddly, the Buck Peters character (owner of the Bar 20 Ranch that Hoppy works for) appears & has a few lines, but is not listed in the credits. Blooper: in one scene, California warns Hoppy of danger by yelling "Look out, Hoppy!" The problem is that Hoppy was supposed to be a character named "Tex Riley" at the time! No one in the baddies gang seemed to notice this, & apparently the film editor missed it also (or the director decided it would cost too much to re-shoot the scene). If you're watching the Hoppy series in chronological order, enjoy this one while you can, because as I said earlier, the quality of the next two Hoppy films "falls off the cliff!" I rate it 8/10.
Henry Hall former Bar 20 hand and now owner of his own spread is having
his cattle systematically rustled. Which means that Hopalong Cassidy
and the rest of the Bar 20 ranch can be counted on to help.
It's agreed upon that it's Dick Curtis and his band that's doing the rustling. But finding them and catching them with the stolen cattle won't be easy, Curtis's gang has got a nice hideout in the hills and no easy way to reach them.
Bill Boyd and Andy Clyde go undercover with the help of Charles Middleton who Hoppy arrested back when he was a US Marshal. Of course in the end the bad guys are dealt with in Bar 20 fashion.
Stick To Your Guns gave Jennifer Holt her film debut though she was billed as Jacqueline Holt. She and Hoppy's young sidekick Brad King are paired together.
Enough action in Stick To Your Guns for any western fan.
Jennifer Holt's first role on screen was in Stick To Your Guns. Billed
as Jacqueline Holt for the only time in her career, a possible attempt
to cash in on her famous father, Jack Holt, she did not care for the
billing. In one scene, where she is riding with the posse, her saddle
cinch becomes unloosened and she was in danger of falling off and being
trampled. She was rescued by character actor Tom London who quickly
transferred her onto his horse. Of course this scene does not show up
on the screen. She was replaced by a double. Jennifer never cared much
for horseback riding and in her words, "if you look closely in some
scenes, you can see me holding on for dear life. For more about this
film and her career, please check my memorial tribute as it appeared in
Classic Images in November, l997. Our nickname for each other was
Sorry, but this Hoppy outing disappointed me.
My main complaint is that the basic plot was laid out at the start of the movie. Hoppy was told the general area where the rustler gang was headquartered. Hoppy and California were to join the gang and smoke signal Johnny Nelson and the Bar 20 posse to round up the bad guys -- and that is exactly what happened. No mystery or surprises. Early on Hoppy happened to meet an old adversary who readily told Hoppy where the headquarters was. The boss of the gang learned of Hoppy's deception too late. There were a few twists that mainly served as filler.
I could do without the singing, and Brad King and Jennifer Holt as Hoppy's young sidekick and heroine did nothing for me. Other sidekicks and heroines in the series were much more engaging.
One scene surprised me, for a Hoppy film, for its unnecessary violence: Hoppy gets the drop on the gang leader at the end of the movie. He orders the leader to holster his gun, which he does. Hoppy then holsters his gun, encouraging a quick draw contest, which is what happens -- Hoppy outdraws and kills the leader, who was really not particularly villainous.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Stick To Your Guns can be judged outstanding on two points. First and most convincing is the music which features great songs performed by Brad King and/or The Jimmy Waklely Trio including the classics, Cimmaron Roll On by Johnny Bond (who appears in a speaking and singing role) and Smiley Burnette's On The Strings Of My Lonesome Guitar. The latter tune being scored and edited beautifully into the film. The effect is way beyond the resources of most b-westerns. In fact this element of production value is what elevated most of the Hopalong Cassidy features above the average series westerns of the day. The other is the directing of Lesley Selander, especially in the scenes that involve Charles Middleton and Dick Curtis in character as Long Ben and Nevada respectively. Forgive the few cheap, studio exteriors and focus on the many charming elements of this 1941 film.
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