Gridley is mining silver from an old Mexican mine and bringing it into the USA thru a passage into his worthless mine. Border guard Rogers suspects Gridley and finally finds the secret entrance to the Mexican mine. He sends Lee Madison for help only to have her captured by Gridley. Trigger brings help that takes care of Gridley's men and now Roy has to rescue Madison.Written by
Maurice VanAuken <email@example.com>
It's always good when you come here and we join our voices together in song. I'm only sorry that trouble brings you here.
I'm sorry too, Padre, but I think with the help of my friends over the border here, we'll be able to get this thing straightened out.
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While I enjoy Roy Rogers movies, I must admit that one of the shortcomings in them is that they were generally geared towards kids--and the violence was way, way under-emphasized. Roy and the gang didn't shoot baddies--they beat them up and turned them over to the law. Or, if they shot anyone, it was usually the way the Lone Ranger did it--in the hand! However, "Bells of San Angelo" is a welcome change and the film is unabashedly violent...very, very violent. And, because of this, it's among Rogers' better films.
The film is a bit unusual because it's in color. Unfortunately, the color is very muddy and unattractive. On the other hand, at least the copy of the film I downloaded for free at archive.org was the full film--not the shortened to fit TV time slot versions you often find.
"Bells of San Angelo" finds Roy and the Sons of the Pioneers coming into town to help the sheriff (Andy Devine) get to the bottom of a shooting. The mine owner says it was justified--Roy and the gang think there is way more to the shooting and decide to investigate. Along the way, a western writer (Dale Evans) comes to town to visit and, uncharacteristically, Dale is nice and not stupid--and Roy is the dumbbell here. He assumes she CAN'T be the author since she's a woman and he also assumes books about the old west are worthless! By the end of the film, she, of course, proves him wrong.
So what about all this violence I mentioned? Well, in the big finale, one of the baddies is launched off a cliff and it looks amazingly real when he hits. Another is shot and killed by Roy. And, both are mangled a bit by dogs just before this! I loved it as it really set the usual formula on its ear. The same can be said for Devine, as usually the sidekicks are pretty passive and not much help--but Devine occasionally kicks the snot out of people! Now compared to a non-Roy Rogers film, this picture isn't that violent--but compared to the usual sanitized view of the west in his films, this IS pretty surprising and a welcome relief.
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