Wildcatter Johnny Maverick and his pal, Chicopee Nevins are speeding toward Antril Bend, a small town in the oil region, that has offered $25,000 to the person bringing in the first oil ... See full summary »
Wildcatter Johnny Maverick and his pal, Chicopee Nevins are speeding toward Antril Bend, a small town in the oil region, that has offered $25,000 to the person bringing in the first oil well.They accidentally find oil on the town's outskirts, and Johnny writes a $4000 hot check for the property. He covers that by having Chicopee sell his half interest to oil promoter Gus Sloane for $7000. Sloane hires a crew to start drilling on his half of the property, with Johnny's old enemy, Mile Rawlins as his foreman. Rawlins sabotages Johnny's rig, causing Chicopee's death. Confidence man Oliver Westbrook and his confederate, Nan Dearing hatch a plan to swindle Johnny by having Nan pose as Chicopee's sister. It works and Johnny makes Nan his partner. Another accident staged by Rawlins forces Johnny to sign a note to get money for repair. Nan falls in love with Johnny and abandons her plan to swindle him. As the note deadline approaches, Johnny learns that Sloane has purchased it as a means of ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wildcat is a typical B-movie of the 40's. The plot is straight forward and largely predictable. For those not familiar with the term, wildcat refers to someone taking the risk of drilling for oil in unproven areas.
While there are no major stars here, there are some recognizable faces. Richard Arlen made a career of B-movies and plays the lead here as an endearing hustler. His main antagonist is Buster Crabbe of Flash Gordon fame. William Frawley (Fred Mertz of I Love Lucy) plays an unscrupulous card shark, that eventually shows some heart. Toss in character actor Arthur Hunnicutt, who is best known as a crotchety old-timer from westerns and 50's TV. Overall, a decent cast that does a fine, if unspectacular job of delivering the goods.
The dialogue is snappy in parts, but also lame in places. There are enough conflicts and action sequences to keep the story moving without bogging down. The characters cover a wide range. There is the flawed hero lead, the conniving femme fatale, a naive youth, a cold-hearted antagonist and loyal associates.
While this movie is mildly entertaining, there is nothing spectacular here. While the movie is shot in the present (1942,) it has a western flavor to it. So if you enjoy any of the actors or just want to see a "modern" western, it's not a bad way to spend 70 minutes.
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