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Riddle Ranch (1935)

Approved | | Western | 2 July 1937 (UK)
Rigging a horse race, Don Carlos wins a lot of money. When he loses his winnings at the gambling table, he shoots the dealer with Horton's gun. Horton is arrested but cannot prove his innocence.



(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Black King ...
Black King (as Black King the Horse with the Human Brain)
Baby Charlene Barry ...
Young Betty (as Baby Charline Barry)
Don Carlos
Jim Riddle
Art Felix ...
Henchman Pedro (as Arturo Feliz)
Snowflake (as Snowflake)
Henry Sylvester ...
Henchman Antonio
Deputy Tom


Don Carlos, Mexican renegade, wanted by his government for espionage, but who poses as a horse buyer,wants to buy "Black King," Owner Jim Riddle refuses and Carlos is determined to get the horse by hook or crook. A race is arranged between a Carlos horse and "Black King", with the winning owner to take the other's horse. Carlos sends a henchie to fix "Black King" so that he goes lame and loses. Bob Horton, who loves Riddle's niece, Helen, rides the horse and is accused of pulling a double-cross. That night at Riddle's gambling house Carlos loses, and shoots a gambler with Bob's gun.Bob is accused and escapes to Mexico. Exhausted, he finds a water hole and, while drinking (and surprised to find that it isn't poisoned, considering the kind of day he has had) ol' "Black King" (the Horse With a Human Brain) limps up. He has been freed by Betty, Helen's six-year-old sister. Bob discovers the wire that had been twisted into the horses' leg by the henchman. Bob and the horse elude the posse ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE HORSE WITH THE HUMAN BRAIN(original posters and ads-all caps)




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 July 1937 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film is one of over 200 titles in the list of independent feature films made available for television presentation by Advance Television Pictures announced in Motion Picture Herald 4 April 1942. At this time, television broadcasting was in its infancy, almost totally curtailed by the advent of World War II, and would not continue to develop until 1945-1946. Because of poor documentation (feature films were often not identified by title in conventional sources) no record has yet been found of its initial television broadcast. See more »

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User Reviews

Black King rates tops with me!
12 August 2011 | by See all my reviews

Despite this movie's really, really bad reviews, I spent my $5 on this one because I'm a Charles Hutchison fan. "Hutch" is one of my heroes, and I just couldn't believe that his handling of this "Black King" entry could be all that rotten. I was right. I've no doubt previous reviewers suffered through a really poor print of this. Seeing the movie in 2011's 8/10 copy (which is underestimating the DVD's quality, as the movie was no doubt shot in haste by Robert Doran and never achieved the heights of a Burnett Guffey), it comes across as a reasonably exciting little "B".

Admittedly, one can still find fault. On the negative side, my main complaint is that the film ends somewhat abruptly. The plot is wound up quick smart and lacks the big action climax I was expecting. Nonetheless, plenty of good action material has gone before, including an ingeniously exciting race between Black King and a rival which comes to a most novel finish.

Other negatives include Fred Toones (although here he's not quite as stereotypically racist as usual), young Charlene Barry (now she is dreadful – really dreadful! – but her role is small), and even the lovely June Marlowe who is no great shakes as an actress and further undermines her attractiveness by making a hesitant attempt at a song.

Given the speed of shooting, Julian Rivero could be excused for not being entirely sure on occasions as to exactly which part he's playing: a straight Mexican villain or a Mexican villain laying on the south-of-the-border accent and pretending to be a good guy. Sometimes he gets these roles hopelessly confused – and that makes the ingenious plot just a little difficult to follow at times.

Now for the positives. Some of them I've already mentioned. First and foremost is the engaging story with its great action and crowd sequences – and I don't know where people get the idea that Black King is an ugly horse. He seemed quite presentable to me.

If we count Black King as a plus, third of the positives is Richard Cramer. Although he figures right down the official cast list, Cramer is actually the star of this movie. His role is not only the largest and the most important, but it's a difficult characterization which he plays with both charisma and conviction.

So, all in all, I count my $5 as well spent.

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