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|Index||14 reviews in total|
Claudette Colbert is wonderful as Prudence, a woman who has to go to a
little country town that's seemingly in the middle of nowhere, where she
inherited the local paper. The men about town are naturally surprised to
find that she's a woman, and don't exactly welcome her spritely ways and
'interference' with 'their' paper. Luckily for Prudence, the card shark
she slayed in New Orleans comes to her rescue, which is nice of him after
the beating she gave him in their game of poker - one of the film's most
enjoyable scenes. Not a wonderful movie, but not bad, and pretty good for
>>Claudette Colbert looking far too old and matronly for the part of an
ambitious small-town journalist and card sharp Colbert certainly
doesn't look matronly in this film - she's just as slender and
attractive as ever.
I've just attended the WIllimasburg Film Festival, which showed this film. It has great meaning for Gregory Walcott- it was his "breakthrough" role, and his wife was pregnant with his first child, which she gave birth to a week after the movie finished filming.
In Walcott's biography, Hollywood Adventures, he tells the story of how he first met Colbert, who was concerned that he was so much younger than she was. But if older leading men can be put in with actresses 20 years younger than them, than women should be able to get the same treatment.
It is a bit episodic, but fun nevertheless.
This was Claudette Colbert's second to last theatrical feature and if this was the quality of scripts she was being offered at that time it's no wonder she stayed away six years between this and Parrish. First of all she belongs in some urbane urban setting not the Old West and try though she might she is out of place there. Additionally she and Barry Sullivan, always a dull leading man no matter his costar, go together like oil and water sharing zero romantic chemistry. The script is ordinary and the direction not terribly exciting plus the film is soft and fuzzy with over-bright color. If you like Claudette or westerns it's okay but don't expect anything above the routine.
Texas Lady marked Claudette Colbert's one and only western and I think
this RKO film was probably something that they might have had Barbara
Stanwyck in mind for. Colbert though she gave a decent performer really
is not a western type. I suspect she wanted at least one on her film
resume and took Texas Lady which was an inflated B film.
After learning the game of poker for years, Colbert takes Barry Sullivan on and beats him handily. Sullivan, a gentleman riverboat gambler had cleaned out her father who had embezzled money and then lost his ill gotten gains at the poker table and promptly killed himself. After restoring the family honor, Claudette goes to Texas where she's inherited a newspaper.
The paper is the paid for rag of the owners of the local Ponderosa, Ray Collins and Walter Sande. Claudette starts agitating for a railroad spur to come to town. But that will mean less dependency on the cattle barons and new people settling. The plot here has certain similarities to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Claudette also gets some attention from fast draw deputy Gregory Walcott who kills a couple of small ranchers in the service Collins and Sande.
In the meantime Sullivan comes to town as his reputation is shot to all heck on the riverboat scene. Being both southerners to the manor born they find a lot in common.
Texas Lady was a decent enough western, but it looks like it was edited considerably down and a lot of the story doesn't really make sense. And Colbert is just not well cast in westerns. But her fans might like it. It sure is a far cry from the comedies she did in the Thirties and Forties.
She was 51 when she made this turkey, though she still tried the best she could to make it work. NO CLOSEUPS of her AT ALL in the film, and everything is shot from her LEFT SIDE, or straight on. A few glimpses of her right profile when she danced and the such, but 95% from her left side. Incredibly hokey film, the color is faded, Barry Sullivan looks bored to tears, Ray Collins spends half the movie sitting down. Gets interesting when the mean sheriff gets involved, and his resolution caught me off guard. But all in all, lame and dull and not up to snuff. Watch CLEOPATRA instead for a solid Claudette Colbert fix. Or better yet, catch the milk bath scene from THE SIGN OF THE CROSS or any scene from IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT for a good dose. This movie just doesn't work.
On the way to a small Texas town to claim the local newspaper as her
inheritance, Prudence Webb stops off to fleece a infamous gambler
(Chris Mooney) in revenge for him winning a lot of money off her father
a debt that eventually led to his suicide. On arriving in the town,
Prudence finds that the paper is run by Clay Ballard who denies that
the paper was ever signed over to Webb's father and refuses to give up
ownership. Prudence turns to the law and quickly makes enemies in the
town by using the court system to claim her inheritance and wins her
case. With the town's powerbase against her, who'd have expected that
it would be Chris Mooney who would come to her aid?! And so goes the
story with this fairly run-of-the-mill western that is strangely
coloured and lacking anything special to really justify watching. The
basic plot sees a bit of romance set against a back drop of a stranger
in town causing a conflict with the bad element and, yes, it is
delivered as flatly and unimaginatively as that summary suggests. The
basic characters don't really add anything of interest and I did
struggle to really care about any of them mainly because they were
fairly cardboard and uninteresting. Of course, this being a b-movie
sort of affair then it is maybe a bit unfair to be harsh on it because
all it is aiming to do is fill time and provide a bit of entertainment
and not much else. In that regard the film does alright with poker
games, fights, shoot outs, horse riding and action; none of it is
anything special of course but it just about does enough to be
The cast pretty much match this with average performances all round. Colbert is OK but never made a lasting impression on me; she seems to enjoy the lead role and she matches the material. Sullivan should have been the slick man of the film and brought a spark to all his scenes, instead he is rather bland and only really has chemistry with Colbert in his opening poker scene. Support is nothing special at all and the "baddies" never really made much of an impact and thus didn't feed the tension within the narrative.
Overall this is a fairly average film with nothing special to really recommend it for. The story is OK and is delivered with enough stuff of entertainment value to make it passable and distracting on a wet Sunday afternoon but there are much better westerns than this around.
My how the mighty have fallen. Roles must have gotten mighty hard to come by for an actress of Miss Colbert's caliber. This movie is very typical of 1950's oaters. The one unusal aspect is that Prudence (Miss Colbert) is initially a strong, independent woman, kind of unusual for a western. But in the end Gene Barry Sullivan Fitzgerald becomes her "protector". This is a very cornball movie and Gregory Walcott who plays Jess Foley has got to be one of the most wooden actors ever to grace the silver screen. One can almost see the pain on Miss Colbert's face as she delivers some of the corniest lines in movie history. It is such a can of corn it is worth watching for the unintentional humor it delivers.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Texas Lady is an extremely ordinary mid-50s programmer with a past-her-prime Claudette Colbert looking far too old and matronly for the part of an ambitious small-town journalist and card sharp. Barry Sullivan provides her love interest as a poker player she beats for high stakes in the film's opening scene. The storyline is daft, with Miss Colbert apparently considering dallying with the thuggish deputy employed by the cattle barons who own the town in which she has started her newspaper simply because he can't read. When she realises he's a bit of a cad she decides to fall for Sullivan instead. All in all, Texas Lady is poorly written, barely entertaining employment for has-beens and never-weres.
I watched this movie because I wanted to see Claudette Colbert in her
last film. Miss Colbert was 50 when she made this movie and it is kind
of amusing that she is essentially the only female in the movie and
almost all of men in the movie are older - like 60 and over. It seems
to me they did this purposely so that Claudette Colbert would appear to
be more youthful - or at least fit in with the cast.
I copied this film on my DVR and it took one month and 3 separate attempts to make it to the end of this film. I love Claudette Colbert, but this one was really difficult to sit through, for me. Another person commented that you could make it through this movie if it was raining out and there was nothing else to do. It must have been raining cats and dogs!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I read one review where they said that this was Claudette Colbert's
last movie. In fact, she made several made for TV films as well as the
film "Parrish" after she made "Texas Lady". Just thought I should set
the record straight on this. However, this same reviewer was
right--everyone seemed VERY old in this film and perhaps it was in an
effort to make Colbert seem younger.
The film begins with Colbert beating Barry Sullivan in poker and taking control of his newspaper in Texas. It seems that Colbert has been looking forward to beating Sullivan, as she blames him for ruining her father--who was a gambling addict. Regardless, she heads west to assume control of the paper. When she arrives, she finds some mighty unfriendly folks. Later, when you find out who comes to your rescue and why, you'll most likely groan--it's THAT dumb.
All in all, a stale film that simply is beneath the many talents of Colbert. It's not a terrible film bit it certainly is a poor one--with a romance that comes from out of left field and a script that never, ever packs any excitement. A sad little film.
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