As a 32nd cousin of the recently deceased Silas Stockton, Fuzzy heads for the reading of the will. The bad guys are after the Stockton estate and plan to kidnap Helen Stockton, the primary heir, and replace her with a stooge. When the henchmen catch her she is with Billy and Fuzzy so they kidnap them also. But the three escape and Billy then heads out to find the culprits. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <email@example.com>
Buster Crabbe, a fine actor and athlete, never got his due in Hollywood. He played a second hand Tarzan in the beginning and ended his career churning out B movies for cheapie studios such as PRC. One of his last hurrahs was playing "Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion" on early television. He is, of course, best remembered today for the Flash Gordon serials of the 1930's. When he claimed that he was never really given a chance in Hollywood, he was speaking the truth and not just rolling in self-pity. His B westerns such as "Border Badmen" are fairly good oaters despite the low-budget. He was teamed with a master comedian, Fuzzy St. John, who had learned his trade from his uncle, the legendary Fatty Arbuckle. He was adept at physical humor such as taking pratfalls. He has some funny scenes in "Border Badmen," especially when he is sitting up with a dead body and when he and Billy Carson (Buster Crabbe) are exploring a hidden passage way. Buster and Fuzzy carry on in a manner that reminds the viewer of an old Abbott and Costello routine. "Fuzzy, try to find an opening," commands Buster. "If I can't find one, I'll build one," Fuzzy replies. The first movie I remember seeing when I was about four years old was a Buster Crabbe/Fuzzy St. John western at a Saturday matinée in my hometown. The only thing I remember from the film was Fuzzy St. John having a devil of a time in a haystack. So I know his humor was extremely appealing to youngsters of the 1940's.
The plot is one that was recycled in several B westerns about a gang of bad guys trying to keep the female heir to a large estate from claiming what was rightfully hers. This time around, the gang plans not only to kidnap the lady as she comes to town but to replace her with a substitute who will get the land and money for them. Lovely Lorraine Miller plays the heir Helen Stockton. There is no romantic tie between Stockton and Carson as one would expect. Possibly the producers being on a shoestring budget didn't have the time or money to promote this angle and make it believable for the intended audience which would consist mainly of kids and their parents. Marilyn Gladstone plays the part of the stand-in heir. She looks like a saloon gal even though she is weak in the acting department. Buster and Fuzzy get involved because Fuzzy is a cousin "six times removed" to the deceased whose will is being probated. As it turns out Fuzzy is cousin number thirty two. There is plenty of action once the film gets started. At one point Billy Carson says, "It's time for some action." After that remark the action never lets up. The gallery of villains is a noteworthy one consisting of such stalwarts as Charles King. The viewer will recognize the faces if not the names. The title "Border Badmen" is a generic one. There are plenty of badmen in the film but nothing is said about a border as I remember. Still, if you are a fan of the old Saturday matinée cowboy movies, you should enjoy this one.
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