|Index||2 reviews in total|
This 1949 "Durango Kid" western from Columbia starts off a bit out of kilter to begin with as Jay Silverheels (and the other Indian tribesmen) are riding around Wyoming sporting headgear associated with the Seminoles of the Southeastern United States or the Navajos of the Southwest, but not seen much on tribes of the Wyoming area---basically a bandana with a feather stuck in it. The reason for this somewhat-jarring headgear becomes apparent toward the end of the film, but there is one more out-of-character costume change to come first. While many of the westerns stars of the thirties and forties could aften be found wearing the flap shirt with a row of buttons down each side of the front, Charles Starrett, with the exception of 1937's "Cowboy Star", where he briefly appeared in a shirt like that, never wore such a shirt in any of his other films. Until "Laramie",That is. Just before he starts off to overtake the stage he, from out of nowhere, is suddenly wearing such a shirt. Then the reasons for the Indian's headdress and his sudden shirt change become clear when the last few minutes of this 1949 western is 100% stock footage from 1939's "Stagecoach." The tribesmen (or white men posing as Indians) had to match the Navajo's from that film, and Starrett's shirt had to match the one worn by John Wayne in that film, especially when he is climbing from out of the coach to the top of the coach. Stuntmen Yakima Canutt and Cliff Lyons from "Stagecoach" are also both clearly visible. A bit of irony is also involved. Several John Wayne biographers---one or two who knew what they were writing about and several who didn't---have mentioned that when Wayne was released/fired from his Columbia Players contract circa 1932, Wayne, who had no clout or prospects in sight at the time,vowed that he would never again make a film for Columbia until studio head Harry Cohn was dead and gone. And he didn't. Or,at least, he didn't on his own, but the use of stock footage put him in another Columbia film long before Harry Cohn died.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I can save myself the trouble of writing this review and simply refer
the reader to the one I already did for another Durango Kid flick,
1951's "Snake River Desperadoes". Both stories have a main character
inciting Indians to violence, who then turns around and sells them guns
to spiral events out of control just so he and his gang can profit.
Even some of the main players appear in both stories. Of course there's
Charles Starrett, the Durango Kid himself, his partner Smiley Burnette,
and young Tommy Ivo, this time as the son of Cavalry Colonel Dennison
(Fred Sears). The Colonel's a good guy, while in "Snake River
Desperadoes", Ivo's father was the villain working the Indians from
both sides. It didn't surprise me to learn that the writer for both
films was Barry Shipman, and since Fred Sears already knew the story,
he wound up directing the later picture.
Still, if you enjoy these B Westerns like I do, you'll be entertained by the likes of Smiley Burnette, this time a 'traveling boot repair man' who displays a couple of his footwear inventions, like the 'stone removal boot' (don't ask), and one I like to think of as the 'spring in your step' boot for the man on the go. I think the picture could have gotten more out of that gimmick when it teased young Denny trying them on, but the picture did a quick fade at that point and the 'springers' didn't show up again.
A couple of surprise appearances in the film for me included Jay Silverheels as Indian Running Wolf, and Myron Healey as Lieutenant Reed, both in uncredited parts. You have to keep in mind that 1949 was the year 'The Lone Ranger' debuted on network TV, so Silverheels got this one in as well as a handful of other pictures before he became Tonto. I didn't get his outfit here though, it just didn't seem to fit his character.
In between the action scenes, Smiley does a couple of his usual expected tunes - 'The Happy Cobbler' and a fun song called 'Who Don't?'. A couple of others are handled by Elton Britt as a singing soldier, and if I were a betting man, I'd say his first one included the best yodeling I've ever heard in any picture, for that matter any venue altogether. I'd never heard of him before, and a quick look at his bio on IMDb shows he appeared in only two pictures, but gained a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his composing and singing career. The guy can yodel.
|Plot summary||Ratings||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|