In spite of the more-than-pedestrian B-title, this minor-A western from Universal is more of a character study of three people than it is a run-of-the-mill western. It has only a couple of gunshots and no killings and no blood-letting, and is ideally suited for the laconic, take-it-easy and laid-back nature of the always-great Joel McCrea as Del "Rock" Rockwell. Here, he is a man wise to the nature of women and horses, attemptiing to establish a homestead with the aid of his adopted-son Til (Race Gentry). They join neighboring rancher Alida Spain (Mari Blanchard) in her quest to capture a wild black stallion (Outlaw). Rockwell taunts her while the 20-year-old Til falls in love with her and she, of course, is falling in love with Rockwell. Neighboring rancher Jennings (Murvyn Vye) brings some conflict to the proceedings but nothing that Rockwell can't handle without the use of guns. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When both Rockwell and Aldis work with Black Horse, it is always rearing up. But they are clearly making a gesture that the horse is trained to rear up to. They always raise their arms just a second before he rears up, clearly controlling the horse with their gesture. The gesture is made to look like a defensive response to the horse rearing (like they are shielding themselves from the horse's hooves or something), but the gesture clearly happens before the horse rears, not after. See more »
Black Horse Canyon is directed by Jesse Hibbs and adapted to screenplay by Geoffrey Homes and David Lang from the novel The Wild Horse written by Les Savage Junior. It stars Joel McCrea, Mari Blanchard, Race Gentry and Murvyn Vye. Music is by Joseph Gershenson and cinematography by George Robinson.
Although the print of the film I saw was sadly old and scratchy, this is a lovely photographed Western out of Bloomquist Ranch, Douglas, Arizona. A place, it seems, that bizarrely wasn't used in any other Oaters. This along with the magnificent horse at the centre of the plot, makes this a comfortable recommendation for the B Western fan. Story is pretty mundane stuff, a group of people with different motives attempt to capture the wild black stallion for stud purposes. This ensures that we are exclusively out in the open landscapes and privy to much chasing, lassoing, bucking and snorting. There's a bubbling under the surface love triangle, which we know how it's going to end up, and a good fist-fight crowns the proceedings. Gentry and Blanchard are weak, while Vye's villain is barely realised, but McCrea turns in yet another solid and knowing performance. All the cast, you sense, understand that Outlaw the horse is the star of the show. And rightly so. 6.5/10
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?