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Kind of a cross between "Destry Rides Again" and Bob Hope's "Paleface"
series, this little sleeper of a film takes a good-hearted book-learned
innocent whose skills with a gun (learned for his job, that of gunsmith)
are no more important than his wisdom and mind.
Considering this movie was made in the late 40's it's quite revolutionary in its approach to the Western traditions -- the roles of indians, women and "bad guys" being held up and examined in very interesting ways. In that respect its comedic sensibilities make it a very good time indeed.
Make no mistake about it -- this isn't a very deep film. However it will make for a very enjoyable 90 minutes whether you like Westerns or not. Eddie Albert and all the supporting cast turn in very credible performances. It made me wish they had had made the sequel this was so obviously setup for (they didn't).
The year is 1880-something, and gunsmith Daniel Bone (just one "o")
decides to abandon tame New York for a part of the country where a
person in his line of work can expect to be kept a little busier. The
thoroughly decent Daniel might be a tenderfoot, but between his
professional skill with firearms and his great reader's head full of
knowledge, he turns out to be more than a match for the desperados he
meets en route to-- and in-- lawless Arsenic City, Nevada. Our boy
doesn't do badly with the local Native tribe, either. Now if he could
just get past the defenses of Miss Liza, an over-cautious innocent
who's come West to find her late father's lost gold mine...
Eddie Albert is quite charming as the titular dude in this slight but enjoyable, gently comic Western. In fact, there's charm to spare here: James Gleason endears as the grizzled prospector-sidekick, Barton McLean (later Gereral Peterson in "I Dream of Jeannie") wins one over as the most sympathetic of a host of black-hatted bandits, and Gale Storm is refreshingly non-cloying as your standard-issue spunky, naive heroine. Things never descend to the cartoonish, allowing Albert to get through a couple of on-the-trail ballads (which he croons in a pleasant tenor while strumming a guitar), a dramatic display of "Indian sign language," and even an idealistic law-and-order speech to an angry mob with his dignity fully intact. Indeed, one's inspired to wonder why the future small-screen star never quite scored as a cinematic leading man-- he certainly seems to have had the potential.
Available on DVD-- think I'll watch it again.
Eddie Albert is in the title role of The Dude Goes West and it's a role
that we've seen him in before, the mild mannered guy who somehow
manages to triumph. This was years before his Oscar nominated roles in
Roman Holiday and The Heartbreak Kid. And also before his incredible
dramatic parts in Attack and Captain Newman, MD. Albert was always a
favorite of mine, he was a player with incredible casting range who
never got his due recognition.
He's certainly in a trade that the west needs, he's a gunsmith who to make sure he did a proper job learned marksmanship. That's something some villains learned to regret.
On the way west he runs into Gale Storm who is going west to claim a legacy, a gold mine her late father left her. She's got a map to the place for which a claim was never filed and villains Gilbert Roland and Binnie Barnes are out to steal by hook or crook. There's a third villain in the film, perennial villain Barton MacLane. But he's not so bad here as you'll see.
The whole film is a great commercial for 'reading is essential' because tenderfoot Albert learns a great deal about the west from books and the knowledge he has gets him out of some tight situations.
The Dude Goes West is a funny, but gentle comedy with Albert comfortable in a role he played a lot in his early film years. The rest of the cast gives him fine support and this is a most enjoyable movie.
I strongly recommend you see "The Dude Goes West" for one big
reason--it's not like any other western. If you think about it, there
really are only about a half dozen different plots for about 99% of the
old westerns. Yet, somehow, the studio came up with some novel ideas
that invigorate this film and make it quite charming.
Eddie Albert plays a gunsmith (Daniel Bone) who lives in New York. The problem is that with civility reigning there, he decides to move to the West where there will be a lot more business. However, he is pretty naive and folks don't take him very seriously--after all, he's a fancy East Coast dude. Little do they know that despite his naiveté, he is a VERY well-read and resourceful guy...and a guy who turns out to be a crack shot. So, again and again when he comes into a collision course with various baddies (such as a tribe of Indians, Barton MacLane and Gilbert Roland), Daniel is able to somehow come out on top. It's all very charming and enjoyable and actually is somewhat reminiscent of Albert's later TV series, "Green Acres"--where he plays a New Yorker who yearns to move to the country and where he certainly does NOT fit in, either! It also didn't hurt that the film was so well-written and clever. Well worth your time--especially if, like me, you are tired of the same old recycled plots in westerns. This is anything but familiar! I really loved this film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Daniel Bone (Eddie Albert) is a New York gunsmith. Seeking greener
pastures, Bone heads to a Wild West town appropriately called Arsenic
City. Along the way, he meets a woman named Lisa Crockett (Gale Storm)
who is also headed west seeking her fortune. She has a map that leads
to her late father's goldmine. But there are others who want Crockett's
map and they will do anything to get it. Fortunately for her and
whether she likes it or not, Bone saves her skin time after time.
At it's absolute worst, I'd still call The Dude Goes West harmless enough and a bit of fun. At it's best, however, it's often quite funny and gives Eddie Albert a chance to shine in a leading role. His character, Bone, is a fish out-of-water and this often leads to the funnier bits. It's very reminiscent of his character, Oliver Wendell Douglas, that he'd play 20 years later. There's a scene where Bone is lecturing the townspeople about the importance of the American judicial system that sounded straight off of Green Acres. All it needed was a fife playing in the background. Albert is joined by a very able cast featuring Storm, Gilbert Roland, and Barton MacLane. The films's pacing is nice and at only 86 minutes, it never feels tired. While the plot is often predictable, it's still fun to watch the events unfold. Some of the comedy may seem corny by today's standards, but it works just fine to me.
Overall, a 7/10 from me.
Most of us have seen Western movies in which an Eastern-raised guy
heads West. To the cowpokes and people of the West, he's a dude (aka,
greenhorn, tinhorn, tenderfoot). The tinhorn is obviously an underdog.
At some point, he'll be the butt of a joke, an easy prey for gunplay,
or face some other shameful put down. Well, this is one such movie in
which the dude comes out on top, in almost all instances. It's almost
the reverse of the standard fare Hollywood Western
"The Dude Goes West" is a very fun and entertaining comedy Western. Eddie Albert is the dude, Daniel Bone, who travels from New England to Arsenic City, somewhere in the Wild West. He plans to set up shop where a gunsmith is still needed. And, he knows his guns and how to shoot them. He also has more knowledge about the West, Indians, survival, etc. than most cowboys. He learned it all from reading.
Daniel is a good guy who winds up in a role that any number of original Western stars have played. John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Randolph Scott, Gene Autrey, and any number of other frequent cowboys in the movies have rescued a damsel in distress. Much of the time, it's been over a mine, too. But, the way Daniel does it in this movie is quite different, and very funny. His good nature and trust of his fellow man causes him some troubles, but these add to the humor.
All of the cast are very good. Gale Storm plays Liza Crockett, James Gleason is Sam Briggs, Gilbert Roland is the Pecos Kid, Barton MacLane is Texas Jack Barton, and Binnie Barnes is Kiki Kelly. Binnie plays a tough hombre in this film. One other thing different about this film Daniel doesn't become sheriff or marshal. This is a nice, entertaining yarn and fun way to spend an evening.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Eddie Albert is cast as amiable Daniel Bone, a New York City native of Brooklyn, who owns a gunsmith business in Brooklyn. He decides to pull up stakes from the Big Apple and head off westward to Arsenic City, Arizona, where everybody totes a hog-leg. Unmistakably a tenderfoot, Bone appreciates a good read and his familiarity with literary tomes helps him out of one tight spot after another. He heads west as the Horace Greeley adage goes and meets a pretty young thing, Liz Crocket (Gale Storm), who is bound for Arsenic City herself to cash in on her dead father's mining claim. Naturally, "Ellery Queen, Master Detective" director Kurt Neumann and "A Ticket to Tomahawk" scenarist Mary Loos and "White Buffalo" scribe Richard Sale pit these two young people through the standard-issue romantic wringer. No sooner do they meet at a railway depot than Liz's mother tries to turn her against all men, particularly Bone. They start out hating each other and end up in each other's arms. This lightweight but entertaining comedy doesn't demonize Native Americans. The Paiute Indians call Daniel 'Big Wind' because he fools them into liking him with parlor tricks after they escort Liz and he to their village. This lively 86 minute sagebrusher from Allied Artists is worth watching. Albert had a knack for playing upstanding citizens and rarely made a fool out of himself. Latin sensation Gilbert Roland plays The Pecos Kid and he makes a charismatic villain. Career heavy Barton MacLane plays desperado Texas Jack Barton. Although the titular hero is a tenderfoot, he has spent so much time working on firearms that he can light a wooden match with a bullet. He is a crack shot and this comes in handy when he must retire two gunslingers trying to abduct the heroine. "The Dude Goes West" is a western spoof related in flashbacks with Albert narrating the saga for his grand children. Amusing from start to finish.
One of my favorite films of the 40's. This mild mannered comedy western hits all the right notes. One might have imagined it made by Bob Hope and a Paramount lovely like Gail Russell or Diana Lynn. But instead it sneaks under the radar with a minor cast of Eddie Albert and Gale Storm who both deliver their best ever film performances. I can't prise this highly enough. It is a must see film for movie lovers. You will thank me. I recall seeing this in 1948 and thinking at the time how good it was and why didn't it make more of an impact. There are just certain films that time treats kindly and this is one of them. Small films that stay with you like THE GREAT DAN PATCH, THE LUCKY STIFF, OUT OF THE BLUE and IVY.
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