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THIS SUMMARY CONTAINS SPOILERS! Danny is a juvenile delinquent sentenced to Variety Club Ranch in lieu of jail. He charms the headmistress and goads everyone else. The marshal sets out to find source of Danny's rage, and learns he mistakenly believes he is responsible for his mother's death. After a final crime spree and escape attempt, Danny learns he's not to blame. Court return him to Ranch on the marshal's conviction that he's redeemed from life of crime. Danny goes on to graduate from Texas A&M's ROTC program. Written by
Rita Richardson <email@example.com>
Looks like this movie was piggy-backing on the similar "troubled boy" film of a year earlier, Boys' Ranch (1946). This version, however, is more melodramatic than the sometimes humorous Boys' Ranch.
Here, troubled boy Danny (Murphy) is remanded to the head of Variety Ranch (Nolan) after conviction of armed robbery. At the ranch he causes trouble by refusing to reform, to the point where even the patient head, Mr. Brown, is about to turn him over to the state reform school. Just what is Danny's problem, we wonder.
Considering how quickly farm boy, war hero Murphy was thrust into the national spotlight and then onto Hollywood, he does pretty well in this his first starring role. Oddly, he seems to have the most difficulty projecting the occasional meanness his role calls for. Anyone familiar with his later cowboy roles knows how he can snarl with the best of them. Here, I gather, he is still learning, and more than anything else, comes across as a nice boy. Only the script tells us otherwise.
It's a well-meaning little film, with that fine actor Lloyd Nolan in the lead and everybody's favorite mom of the 1950's Jane Wyatt as his understanding wife. Then there's a 60-year old James Gleason as a surprisingly effective ranch enforcer. But it's the irrepressible Stanley Clements who steals the film as the goofy BitsyI really liked his plowboy-cowboy song and the scene that went with it.
All in all, it's an entertaining little programmer with a good positive message that you just don't see anymore. (In passingI note that the Variety Clubs of the show- biz world produced the movie and apparently helped sponsor the real Texas boys' ranch. I wonder if they still do.)
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