|Index||4 reviews in total|
Silent Conflict has a different plot than most westerns. This time the
bad guy is a master of mind control, and poor Lucky Jenkins is the
As Hopalong Cassidy, Lucky Jenkins, and California Carlson head home from a cattle drive they lose the money they collected to pay all the cattle ranchers. Hoppy has a hard time finding out who took the money and what has happened to his friend, Lucky. A feeling of hopelessness hangs over most of this movie, but has anyone ever seen Hopalong Cassidy fail to come through by the end of a movie?
The relationship of Hoppy and his pals was one of unquestioned loyalty. He would always look out for his friends. In Silent Conflict nearly all of his dialogue with Lucky is downright mean. Hoppy usually showed some kind of care for Lucky when he had to correct him, but this time he crossed over the line of "tough love." Although we know that Hoppy really cared for Lucky, a first time viewer may not get that right away from watching Silent Conflict. Hoppy is even mean to the innkeeper for no reason.
California often got in trouble to draw Hoppy into action. This time he cannot take the blame for any of Hoppy's troubles. In one humorous scene he reveals that he does not know his own age.
An indicator that a movie will be fun to watch is the inclusion of Earle Hodgins in the cast. His role as Doc Richards in Silent Conflict was better than normal. Not only is he the villain, he does not need any henchmen to help him do his dirty work. Hodgins was magnificent in this movie. This may even be his best role in a movie because he gets so much time on screen.
Rarely does background music make itself noticeable, but the music stands out in Silent Conflict. The usual Hoppy theme music switches back and forth with an eerie horror/suspense type of music during the scenes where Lucky is hypnotized. The forced fit of unmatched music was distracting, especially in the outdoor scenes among the rocks.
An unusual plot and the strong presence of Earle Hodgins make Silent Conflict stand out. It is definitely worthwhile to watch this one.
Hoppy's dressed all in black, which is a good sign; he's unusually stern with Lucky ("You sound like a little boy & you're beginning to act like one"), which sets up some of the ensuing plot. Virginia Belmont, the female romantic lead, looks older (she's just looks older, she's really only 27) & not as pretty as most of the Hoppy heroines. Lucky has much bigger role than usual. Hoppy & his two pals carry $25,000 in gold from the sale of combined cattle herds. Lucky is hypnotized by Earle Hodgins, with the aid of special "herb tea." The plot intertwines Hoppy & California's search for Lucky, Hoppy's four rancher friends' search for Hoppy, a gang of six outlaws suspected of stealing the money, & the travels of Hodgins & his niece (Belmont). Hodgins is very good in one of his biggest & most sinister roles in any Hopalong Cassidy film. Rand Brooks sleepwalks through the film as part of his role, as opposed to his usual sleepwalking in other Hoppy films. Hoppy uses some psychological ("hypnotized") & legal ("alimony") jargon, both unusual terms for the 1800s, making one wonder if he was college educated! Very little action but holds the attention nonetheless by being quite a decent mystery movie. I rate it 6/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You may feel like you've been in another world too after watching Rand
Brooks stumble his way through this film. In an unusual digression for
a Hopalong Cassidy film, most of the action centers around Lucky
Jenkins (Brooks) after he's hypnotized by the slick Doc Richards,
portrayed by Earle Hodgins in a role where he plays against type.
Usually you'll catch Hodgins in more of a comedic support role, but
here he's the main villain, even after we're introduced to a character
by the name of Speed Blaney (James Harrison) who's taken our boy Lucky
for a ride at the card table.
In another departure for a Hoppy flick, he's unusually mean spirited in this one in his relationship with Lucky. Hoppy bawls him out for losing some cattle on a drive, and then takes some of it out on a hotel clerk when they arrive in town. Of course it doesn't help that the money Cassidy earned on the cattle drive disappears and he suspects that Lucky might be involved somehow. He is, and that's because bad guy Doc Richards slipped Lucky some 'medicinal' tea that made him groggy and susceptible to a form of hypnotic suggestion.
While all this is going on, I was a little baffled by Doc Richards' niece Rene (Virginia Belmont). She wasn't really a willing accomplice to her uncle's machinations, and actually seemed quite smitten with Lucky. It appeared to me that she could have taken out her uncle at any given moment just by smacking him around a bit, given that actor Hodgins is skinny as a rail and not generally given to fisticuff type action. I think she could have done it!
Well when Hoppy finally arrives on scene to confront him, Doc figures he'll slip him a mickey too, but Cassidy is too sharp for that. Rene comes clean and spills the beans on her uncle, sidestepping the fact that she might have been involved in the deception. Of course she wasn't, but how would anyone know? Just goes to show that a pretty gal in one of these oaters could get away with just about anything.
Earle Hodgins one prolific character actor in mostly westerns has one
of his best roles in this Hopalong Cassidy western. He runs a medicine
show with Virginia Belmont serving as the female come on for the red
One of his concoctions makes one lose their will and be vulnerable to Hodgin's mesmerizing ways. When they're under his spell Hodgins gets them to do all kinds of things in the case of Lucky Jenkins steal the money that Hoppy got for driving the cattle to market, Bar 20 and other herds.
Hodgins always played all kinds of rustic characters and was in several previous Cassidy westerns. Here that's a guise, he's a slick article, but nobody is slicker than Hopalong Cassidy.
This is one of the better latter day Hoppy features. And for once Andy Clyde didn't stumble into any trouble.
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