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Edna May Oliver
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André De Toth
New York newspaperman Bat Masterson thinks back on his time as a lawman in Dodge City, Kansas, when he cleaned up the lawless town and loved a saloon girl named Dora Hand. Masterson's rival for Dora's love was a scofflaw named King Kennedy, who laughs at Masterson's attempts to establish law but grudgingly admires the way he goes about it. Kennedy's jealousy of Dora leads him into deeper conflict with Masterson, even as Dora tries to maneuver Masterson into leaving town and leaving the dangerous job of marshal behind. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This was one of two dozen Walter Wanger & Harry Sherman films re-released theatrically in the 1940s by Masterpiece Productions, and ultimately sold by them for USA television syndication in 1950. It was first telecast in New York City on WCBS Saturday 22 July 1950. See more »
An underrated western, and much disliked by people who mistakenly believe that B oaters ought to stick to the traditional pattern. Everyone involved tried to do something original and unique and, for the most part, they succeeded. Slowly paced, to be sure, but then again this was not made for the moron crowd that only wants action, action, action - this is a melancholy movie that favors characterization over plot, and needs to be seen as a one of a kind film to be appreciated. One example of the novel approach - the film begins with Bat as an elderly newspaperman in New York City, circa 1919 (he died later that year), close friends with the young gossip columnist Louella Parsons, who in real life idolized him. There's a flashback to 'the old days,' when young Bat cleaned up Dodge City as town marshal. Actually, Bat never was that - he served as Wyatt Earp's deputy (Earp was the marshal in Dodge) then ran for sheriff and won. In fact, much of what's attributed to Bat here actually happened to Wyatt, who is never seen and mentioned only once. The film collapses the killing of two different real life saloon girls into one fictional character, the title one, and likewise combines the killers of the two women - a tough army sergeant named king and a cattle baron named Kennedy - into 'King Kennedy.' In this version, Bat became a newspaper man owing to the "woman's" pleas - though historically he got the idea on his own. The point is, this is historical fiction, a drama based on reality, and the historicity of the piece is evident less in the story per se but in the remarkably accurate portrait of Dodge at that time, including things most westerns leave out - like the arrival of stage star Eddie Foy (played, incidentally, by one of his descendants), church services, etc. The underrated Albert Dekker, usually cast as villains, makes a fine Bat, cane and derby hat intact. Fans of routine westerns will want to stay away, but those who appreciate something out of the ordinary? Catch this appealingly little understated film!
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