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Hoppy Impersonated!

Author: museumofdave from Paradise, California
4 July 2015

It's a fascinating comment on "B" Westerns, and possibly on films in general, that one of the reviews on this site plugs this simple Western film as one the "better Hoppy films," while one of the other five cites it as "lesser Hoppy." Both reviewers are right, of course, and each took the time to comment from separate viewpoints. In a world as big as the Wild West, there should be plenty of room for both opinions. Too bad the world isn't so big any more!

Black-clad, cool-headed Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd) must track down lawbreakers and get the guys in the slammer--and wouldn't it be a surprise to all of us if he failed to do so? Most Hoppy films have a distinguishing hallmark, and perhaps this one's is a Movable Herd and the men who move it.

Mystery Man is a low-key, genial cowboy movie with only one song tossed in for good measure, and the sheriff's daughter picking on whatever attractions Hoppy's second- hand man has to offer. For action fans, there is a good deal of gun-play behind boulders and dust-raising in Lone Pine, and' as is often the case, the cinematography by Russell Harlan is a major bonus point, taking what could show as dull chases and enhancing California desert landscape with background mountain majesties and banks of clouds. Harlan turns the ordinary into memorable--lucky us!

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Unusual Hoppy movie -- one long caper of rustling Hoppy's herd

Author: chipe from Brooklyn NY
12 March 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a fair Hoppy movie. I bother to review it to point out one unusual thing. Virtually all of the Hoppy movies entail some kind of mystery or some clever way to flush out the bad guys, get the goods on them. ***Spoilers*** This Hoppy movie is very different! In this oater, after Hoppy helps capture the Trilling gang (but not Trilling himself, who is unknown outside of his gang) at the start of the movie, from there until the conclusion of the movie it is one long caper: the bad guys getting out of jail to rustle Hoppy's 1000-head of cattle being driven for sale at the Circle J, and Hoppy recapturing and losing the herd, etc.

(1) The Trilling gang rustles Hoppy's herd by sneaking up to the cowboys' downtime camp, scattering the cowboys' horses and making off with the herd.

(2) Hoppy and his men gather their horses, follow the herd, chase off the rustlers and regain the herd.

(3) The rustlers pretend to be a posse of lawmen, get the drop of Hoppy, tie up Hoppy and his men at their hideout, and go off with the herd.

(4) Hoppy and men escape the hideout, but before they can regain the herd, Trilling has pretended he is Hopalong, owner of the herd, and Trilling sics the local Sheriff on the real Hoppy and company, who are thrown in jail.

(5) The Sheriff's daughter knows the truth, so she breaks the real Hoppy and crew out of jail, and they finally apprehend the Trilling gang.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One of the better Hoppies!

Author: Steve Haynie from Easley, South Carolina
22 May 2006

Although Mystery Man is no contender for the best Hopalong Cassidy movie ever made, it is definitely among the better movies in the series. The action moves from one city to the next as Hoppy drives a herd of Bar 20 cattle to its destination. This parallels the story as it moves steadily toward its climax.

The villain, Bud Trilling (Don Costello), is introduced to the viewer early on, but Hoppy and the law do not expose Trilling until the end. During the course of the movie Trilling is a faceless villain who is able to enter towns and encounter sheriffs without fear of recognition. During a bank holdup by Trilling's gang, Hoppy, California, and Jimmy join the fight against the bank robbers. Jimmy's life is saved by a visiting young lady named Diane Newhall (Eleanor Stewart). She explains that her father taught her how to shoot and that he is the sheriff in the same town where Jimmy will be at the end of his cattle drive. This brief meeting pays off later in the movie. Trilling works up a scheme to steal both the Bar 20 herd and the money at the end of the trail while leaving Hoppy and his men at the mercy of the law.

No one stays put in Mystery Man. As soon as there is enough action in the first town, the story moves on to the cattle drive. During the cattle drive there is one musical performance which is rare in a Hopalong Cassidy movie, but it fits the scene well. Events along the way keep the story interesting then move to the last destination. There is no tired feeling from too much action in one place.

With a bigger budget this could have been a great movie.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Altogether one of the more minor Hopalong Cassidy entries

Author: wrbtu from Long Island Motor Parkway
9 May 2003

Set in Holbrook in the 1880s, Hoppy is dressed all in black (usually a good sign, but not always). On the positive side, there's lots of action & gunfights (four in all), & the heroine is especially helpful (she's a Sheriff's daughter). On the negative side, Jimmy Rogers is as wooden as always, the comedy is not too funny, the plot seems rushed between horse chases, & most of all, there's no real sense of toughness from Hoppy. Altogether one of the more minor Hopalong Cassidy entries.

I rate it 5/10.

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