Screen Directors Playhouse: The Brush Roper (1955)
*** (out of 4)
Another winning entry in the Screen Directors Playhouse series features Walter Brennan playing a farmer who's constantly telling his grandson (Lee Aaker) stories about when he was a young cowhand. A rodeo bull breaks free so the old man decides to prove everyone wrong and prove to the grandson that his stories are true by trying to capture the deadly beast. THE BRUSH ROPER is a very entertaining throwback to the type of Western that Brennan would play earlier in his career and there's no question that this film is a showcase for his talents. I think there's very little question that this role must have been written for him because the screenplay gives him plenty of one-liners that he can wrap his fake teeth around and it also allows him to look back with fondness on his earlier years. You can't help but think that the veteran actor really was having a blast playing this role simply because it allowed him to pay homage to his earlier roles while at the same time showing he was able to bring that type of performance to a new generation. Aaker is also extremely good as his grandson and the two share so much chemistry that you'd think they were really related. A very young Chuck Connors plays a rodeo star here and we even get Edgar Buchanan and Olive Carey in small parts. The story was an extremely good one and I think it made sure to pay respect to the countless Westerns that came before it while at the same time remaining rather funny. The film clearly belongs to Brennan who has a blast in the part and easily makes this worth viewing.
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