Just after making a large gold discovery, an old prospector is ambushed and killed by three masked men but manages to kill two of his attackers before he dies. He also manages to scribble ... See full summary »
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Fred F. Sears
Bill Haley and the Comets,
Ernie Freeman Combo
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Just after making a large gold discovery, an old prospector is ambushed and killed by three masked men but manages to kill two of his attackers before he dies. He also manages to scribble out a will, which is given to detective "Silver" Ward Hogan, who is hired to track down the legitimate heirs and to try to find the third murderer. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
The title itself just about sums up Hollywood film production. Kidding aside, this Western's got a number of nice touches, and with a more involved director (Bartlett) and dynamic lead (Mahoney), could have gelled into a genuine sleeper.
It's got an unusual mystery premise for a Western detective Hogan has to figure out which beneficiary killed the wealthy old miner as well as a cast of former A-players Chaney, Drake, Evans, Gleason, and Terry. But especially, there's Kim Hunter who only a few years earlier picked up a heavyweight Oscar for A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).
I suspect it's a better than the average B-production because of studio (Universal) backing. That backing leads to some scenic locations, fine color photography, and the supporting cast of familiar faces. Also, the unconventional script contains some nice ironies, along with a few surprises. In fact, calling this a pacifist Western may not be too much of a stretch.
Mahoney certainly looks the part of a Western hero, but unfortunately more or less walks through his part in a perfectly tailored outfit. Then too, director Bartlett does nothing to draw us further into the story-- as a result, we remain on the outside, looking in. Anyway, it remains a Western of fine visuals with an unusual storyline, despite the two central drawbacks.
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