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Nineteenth century Wyoming: the wild West. Mild-mannered Tom Healy has a two-wagon theater troupe hounded by creditors because Angela, his leading lady and the object of his affection, constantly buys clothes. In Cheyenne, they meet with applause, so they hope to stay awhile: the theater owner likes Angela, and she keeps him on a string. She's also the object of the attentions of Mabry, a gunslinger who's owed money by the richest man in Bonanza. Complications arise and the troupe heads for Bonanza, through hostile Indian territory. Is the troupe doomed to a peripatetic life, is Mabry in danger, and does Tom stand a chance with Angela, a hellion in pink tights? Written by
Actor Ken Clark, a close friend of writer DeWitt Bodeen, brought Louis L'Amour's book to Bodeen's attention. Bodeen, a friend of director George Cukor, told him about the book, which Cukor read and was enthusiastic about. Bodeen was to write the script with L'Amour himself, but L'Amour wanted more money than the studio was willing to pay and was not hired. The final screenplay is signed Dudley Nichols and Walter Bernstein. Cukor thanked Clark by casting him as a soldier warning the traveling company about the presence of Indians in the area. See more »
You'll never be a businessman, Goober. You part with money much too easily. To owe is one thing, to pay is quite another.
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For the only western in the film credits of George Cukor he sure couldn't be faulted for the source of his material. This film is taken from one of the books by the great western novelist Louis L'Amour. It concerns the escapades of a traveling theatrical troupe in the west headed by Anthony Quinn with the leading lady being Sophia Loren. This was her only trip to the American west on film also.
Theatrical people did not exactly have the same kind of prestige back in those days as they do now. We first meet our players fleeing across the state/territorial boundaries of Nebraska and Wyoming evading a sheriff with a writ. They arrive in Cheyenne and get themselves involved with the villainous doings of Ramon Novarro and his hired gunman Steve Forrest.
After Forrest does a couple of jobs for him, Novarro tries a doublecross maneuver similar to the one Laird Cregar tried on Alan Ladd in This Gun For Hire with the same sorry results. Forrest of necessity joins the theatrical troupe and both get an opportunity to use their respective skills to help each other out of some tight spots.
This film had potential to be better. Maybe in the hands of someone like George Marshall or John Ford it might even have become a classic. George Cukor was not the director for it.
The film marked the last feature film appearance of both Ramon Novarro and Edmund Lowe. Novarro did do some television work until his tragic murder in 1968. Here he's a smooth and polished villain. Edmund Lowe does quite well as an old ham actor which at that point in his life was I'm sure one easy role for him.
Heller in Pink Tights is enjoyable enough, but no classic.
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