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This film is the last outing with Gabby Hayes. He appeared in 44 films with Roy. This film is set in Las Vegas at the annual Rodeo they use to have there in the old days. One very funny scene occurs after Dale is locked in a refrigerator. Roy tries to free her but ends up in a fight with the bad guys. When he opens the door he says, "I just have one question, does the light go out when I close the door..." I watched Roy on the Saturday broadcast of his old TV show when I was growing up in San Diego. We also watched Sky King and Fury. Then, one Saturday in the early 60's I woke up to find nothing but cartoons, and no more western heroes. Well, as soon they started making the videos of Roy's films and TV show available I started collecting them. My three kids have grown up with them and love them, even in black and white! Each year in February we visit the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Film Festival in Apple Valley. 2007 will be the 10th Anniversary! Imagine spending three days watching these wonderful old films and hearing from some of the people who were there when they were made. Actors, Actresses and Stuntmen. Heldorado is one their best! Happy Trails! -Revran
Heldorado finds Roy Rogers as a Nevada State Ranger who gets pulled
into a most modern of rackets, money laundering though it wasn't called
that back in those days. Impoverished playboy Brad Dexter in only his
second film is working out this racket in the casinos there. When he's
discovered they find his body at Boulder Dam.
For the Saturday matinée crowd Roy was finally getting in enough action to satisfy them. Some of his films in the Mid Forties could more properly be classed as musicals. Still he gets a few numbers in here.
Dale Evans plays a society girl visiting out in Las Vegas and she's made an honorary deputy sheriff. Which title she takes most seriously when her friend Dexter is murdered. She annoys Roy all to Heldorado with her interference, but actually does have some good instincts.
When I wrote a review of Home In Oklahoma which is my favorite Roy and Dale film, I said the two of them exhibited a chemistry that was very similar to Tracy and Hepburn. I could also cite Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck for the films they did together. Of course Roy and Dale didn't have the benefit of the writers that these folks had working for the major studios. Heldorado most definitely shows the same kind of chemistry that Home In Oklahoma did.
Herbert J. Yates opened his tight fisted pocketbook and splurged for location shooting in Las Vegas and at Boulder Dam. Remember this was Las Vegas before Ben Siegel and Meyer Lansky opened the Flamingo and made it what it is today. So for a look at Las Vegas before the Mob got there, this is a good film to view it.
Roy and Dale are in top form in Heldorado.
Nevada State Ranger Roy Rogers gets involved with some racketeers who
are entrenched with the local Las Vegas casinos and on the other side
of this matter he makes time to participate in the towns annual parade
Heldorado, which celebrates it becoming a frontier town.
Don't you just hate when the DVD cover tells you that it's the longer cut, but when you watch it you find out it's the edited version well that's what happen here. Anyhow, I better move on. Usually I wouldn't touch a film like this, but I was looking for a change and so I borrowed a couple of old western flicks off my grandfather. I thought it wouldn't hurt for some nostalgia b-grade Hollywood westerns. Sure thing, after getting into 'Heldorado', it wasn't really my thing and I wouldn't care to lay my eyes on it again but still it was a fair way to spend a odd 56 minutes of rooting and tooting fun, well kind of in a clean cut way. Now onto the main star Roy Rogers, sure I've heard of him and know him as a singing cowboy, but really that's it. Actually I think this is the first film I've seen of his I think? Whoops, I almost forgot his white horse Trigger. Is he truly the smartest horse in the movies? I know lot adults would've grown up with Roy Rogers, but I guess I might have appreciated the film more if I did too. Heck, as a child I grew up with John Wayne's westerns because of my grandfather.
The western genre is one of my favourite genres, but like I said I guess I'm the wrong target audience because this b/w typical Hollywood western yarn was kinda lacklustre in the action department and too, it was rather talkie for me. So because of all of that the pacing felt a bit monotone and the song interruptions delayed the viewing for me. But still I got something out of it, if I was able to sit through it. What made it easier to take were the performances by the main leads and surprisingly the humour was worked in rather well, without stretching it. Roy Rogers, George 'Gabby' Hayes and Dale Evans chemistry worked wonders and when they were on screen they seemed to chew up the scenery. The characters had a nice sense of entertainment and likability about them. The humour between flowed well, with Roger's witty remarks, Gabby's sour face and gags and Evans cheeky style. It was just clever in its light touches. At least Evan's character was a strong willed female instead of the damsel in distress. The plot was reasonably simple, with the usual bad guy's stuff and the hero coming through at the end with a parade as the backdrop. When Roger's was not breaking into a song or performing tricks with Trigger and enjoying the parade he finds some time for looking into this mystery of these racketeers and counterfeit money. There's no real tension to it nor are the tussles between the cowboys overly memorable, but this particular film just has a feel good stance about it. While the three leads might have stood out, the rest of the acting was pretty stuffy and their dialogue was real wooden. On a grand scale the combination between the three will make sure you'll enjoy yourself.
The factor is it's nothing more than a showpiece for Rogers to do his stuff. Decent, but more for the fans.
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Roy Rogers plays a Nevada State Ranger in Las Vegas for some relaxation but he's quickly recruited to help locate some counterfeiters passing around fake money at the Helldorado convention. While the story is certainly lacking, I still found this to be much better than its reputation. The film certainly isn't a classic by any stretch of the imagination but I think there's enough charm in it to make it worth viewing for fans of "B" Westerns. The majority of the fun comes from Dale Evans who plays somewhat of an airhead who gets an honorary job with the police but she takes it a step further by becoming a Sherlock Holmes and trying to solve the case by herself. This leads to some of the best moments as she and Rogers are constantly going after one another as they keep getting in each other's way. The chemistry between the two is certainly very high and it really helps keep the film moving. Rogers, as normal, has no problems playing the good time but by this time he could have done that in his sleep. George 'Gabby' Hayes appears for the final time with Rogers but it's strange that the two really don't have much to do together. Hayes' role isn't the best of his career but he does get a few funny bits. The action doesn't happen all that often but we do get a couple nice shoot outs to also help keep the film moving. The story itself isn't anything we haven't already seen countless times but I think the charm of the actors at least keep it entertaining and the short running time doesn't hurt either.
I was less than enthusiastic about this Roy Rogers film because it
featured Dale Evans in one of her typical 'dumb woman' roles. Now I am
not insulting the memory of Miss Evans. It's just that in most films
she made with her husband, she played really annoying women--REAAAALLLY
annoying ones. To put it succinctly, he played obnoxious and stupid
characters. And, while the character in "Heldorado" isn't as bad as
many, she still is one annoying lady! You'd think that once she married
Roy that her parts would improve, but this wasn't the case.
As to the title (which is often spelled "Helldorado"), it's named after the Helldorado Days--an annual rodeo created in the 1930s outside of Las Vegas in order to entertain the men working on Boulder Dam (now called 'Hoover Dam'). I am still not quite sure why they chose this title--especially since folks' sensitivities and censorship meant changing the title by dropping an 'l' to make it more acceptable.
This film once again finds Roy, Gabby, Trigger and Dale in the leads. And, as usual, Roy plays an agent investigating crime (this time counterfeiters) and Dale plays a rich lady who is super-annoying. Throughout the film, Roy actually seems on the verge of smacking her! But, despite Dale's histrionics, they do manage to save the day by the end of the film AND sing a bunch of songs (some by the ubiquitous Sons of the Pioneers). All in all, a slightly below average B western. For fans of Rogers films, it's fun and entertaining, for those who aren't, try finding a non-Dale film (such as "Idaho") first.
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