U.S. Marshal Gene Autry and his deputy Scat Russell cross into Canda while pursuing bank robbers Pierre LaBlond and Raoul Duval. They meet wounded Canadian Mounted Policeman Terry Dillon, whose partner has been killed by the bandits, and take him to a cabin where they meet Duval's niece, Marie. Jack Duvan, Marie's brother, hates all lawmen and regards LaBlond as his hero. The elder Duval and Bastiste are captured by the Mounties in a raid which uncovers stolen U.S. gold bullion. LaBlond frees the bandits and takes Marie hostage and forces her to flee with him. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When it comes to Gene Autry westerns I tend to approach them with some trepidation. Autry himself was a likable, low-key screen personality with an agreeable singing voice, a pleasant 'watch', unless the singing overwhelmed things to such an extent as to literally 'stop the show.' Happily, in "Gene Autry and the Mounties" it does not. A tightly scripted duster, "Mounties" has Gene and sidekick Pat Buttrum chasing some baddies led by Carleton Young into the Canadian rockies via the San Bernardino forest east of L.A. Along the way they assist a wounded Mountie (Richard Emory) who falls for the pretty girl who helps dress his wounds. (Elena Verdugo plays that pretty girl before moving on to be the title character of the early 50s TV sitcom "Meet Millie" and 1969/1976 reception nurse to "Marcus Welby.") Autry gets to play kindly mentor to a wayward- thinking youth (Jack Frasher) and Buttrum's sidekick silliness is mercifully kept to a sensible, almost minimalist level.
With its requisite fisticuffs and gun-play, the brisk direction of John English is complimented by the San Bernardino location nicely masquerading as the Canadian rockies. An unpretentious horse opera, this one should appeal to all B western junkies even if some of us aren't necessarily on board with its interpolated, overtly neo- conservative political moment.
Viewed as the lower half of a personally designed Columbia Pictures double bill headlined by the innocuous noir, "Counterspy Meets Scotland Yard", this was just the sort of film package I loved to see at the long, lost Granada Theatre, whose demise I have always lamented, along with the demise of the B picture programmer.
Ah yes, those were the days!
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