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A musical about a man, [START] Reb Randall [END], who rides into a frontier town looking for his brother's killer, but is surprised to find everyone in the town is celebrating his kin's death and, for that matter, gunplay in general. He eventually discovers the murderer and each man swears to shoot down the other in a gunfight. However, their girlfriends team up to put an end to the bloodshed. [EXPLANATION]Alfred Jingle got the wrong man! Written by
During a dance number Calaveras Kate pulls the gun out of the holster of Rafael Moreno and shoots at his feet to make him dance. Rafael raises his arms up level with his shoulders as he dances. However he begins to lift his arms immediately after Kate pulls the gun and before she begins to shoot. See more »
I'd been interested in this musical for a long time in view of its famously stylized look bright yellow scenery, disembodied sets which, in hindsight, is still the film's major asset (though, curiously, it's taken for granted throughout and never once commented upon!). The cast is low-key but undeniably engaging: lovely Rosemary Clooney is delightful and surprisingly sensuous at times (although the title's promise of naughtiness is not carried through); Jack Carson is amusing as her loudmouth womanizing beau (atypically, he's the object of Clooney's affection throughout); Guy Mitchell is the gauche stranger hero looking for his crook brother's murderer simply because the Code Of the West, whom everyone takes off his hat to (which, actually, reminds me of a very funny Tex Avery cartoon!), demands it and who falls for Carson's sheltered ward; and Gene Barry(!) as the archetypal Latin lover who strikes up an unlikely partnership with Mitchell (while, naturally, having his own romantic complications over the daughter of a judge from out-of-town played by veteran Reginald Owen).
Frank Faylen emerging as the real villain of the piece is typically weaselly, while Buddy Ebsen appears briefly as a bartender (but who still gets his own specialty number and is involved in an amusing fade-out gag); besides, there's resistible (but not particularly intrusive) comedy relief courtesy of a squaw character. After a funny introduction, too, Mitchell's horse who hates its own species and really thinks itself human! is simply forgotten about for the rest of the film. There are a couple of nice spoofs of barroom brawls and duels, but rather too many ensemble dance routines which don't really add anything new to the fold. The songs, while not especially memorable, are nonetheless fine ironic and intimate as the case may be but the plot itself is rather blah. The whole, then, is somehow less than the sum of its parts if still highly enjoyable, even endearing; in retrospect, it's a pity that RED GARTERS has been overshadowed by other contemporaneous Western musicals such as ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (1950), CALAMITY JANE (1953) and OKLAHOMA! (1955).
Clooney, who also co-starred in WHITE Christmas (1954), later ballooned into a really fat lady and is nowadays perhaps best-known as George Clooney's aunt; for eclectic film buffs, however, she is also Mrs. Jose' Ferrer and Mrs. Dante Di Paolo (from Mario Bava's BLOOD AND BLACK LACE ). Incidentally, George Marshall was the ideal director for this Western musical spoof having previously directed DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1939) and FANCY PANTS (1950), and later still the color remake of DESTRY (1954) and THE SHEEPMAN (1958).
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