About the film- This 1940 early version may not have all the bells and whistles as the 1960 version, but it holds its own with nice acting and an interesting script. Thomas Mitchell does a great job, as the viewer is placed right in the middle of the course that the Father has planned for the family. You end up rooting for the man (Mr Robinson) as he wants what is best for his sons even though his wife is not always on board with his agenda.
This film does a great job of making each son a totally different character from the other sibling with each having their own identity which helps the interest. The viewer can find a little bit of themselves in at least one of the boys on the island
Even though the production staff went rather economical on casting actors (there is only nine credited actors, one a baby, and that involves living in England and boarding a ship for days) the film does go all-out on special effects. Even though they are rough by today's standards, the lightning storm is just as powerful as anything in modern films.
When a film ends and you wish there was more- then everyone associated with the production has done their job. It was an exciting, interesting tale that I wish could have continued with later information about the family. But it was naught to be. Anyway, a film that is just as good as any copy of the story.
The only thing that was even remotely interesting was the relationship between Ruth and Sam. But the writers tried to force the viewer into other relationships by showing sex scenes, with others, trying to produce some interest. Get back to the fun of the series. Get back to what makes the some interesting--The Women. It's turning into Payton Place- and that was cancelled many years ago.
The plot folds out as the boy's mother and father are killed and their gold stolen. The henchmen did not know that the boy was around and can quickly identify the men. So now the local gang is out to get the boy that has been hidden by a local bar dancer that actually works for the leader of the gang. She is going to try to get the boy back to his grandfather without the gang knowing. But her plan only ends in tragedy. But thanks to Hopalong and Johnny, things appear to be going in the correct direction to save the boy. That is till one of the main characters get shot.
There is nothing real remarkable about the performance and at times it felt the film was lacking action. But near the end, all things come together to make a nice show. Plus it was nice to see Gabby Hayes return to the cast since he was killed off in the last film. But he might just need a re-write to make it to film three.
I guess if this was the first time I had ever seen a Hopalong western, then perhaps it would be better outcome. But this first show was stiff at times. The actors had not gelled and look ill-at-ease reading the script. Hopalong was ready to hang someone without a trial, which is something that would never happen on later episodes of the series.
You can overlook the plot- and overlook the singing- but from William Boyd's almost mannequin appearance and the fact the leading lady appeared to have never acted before, things need improvement. And in later episodes, they will. They will become Saturday matinee movies with action, laughs and gunfire. And this offering was lacking two of the three.
Even though this film is dated, it actually had a interesting plot that is missing from so many of the 'poverty row' western movies. When the Ranger Busters ride into town, they are recruited as lawmen. In the town they have some villains trying to get a teenager in trouble with the law all because of a hanging that happen some time back. These villains, led by Glen Strange, trying to get the young man, Jimmy, to live their life of lawlessness but are actually setting Jimmy up for a fall. And not just any fall, but one that revenge will be returned for the hanging of one of the villain's buddies.
Everything in the film looked to be going well- but when the songs were introduced, the viewer was made aware that this film was made for teenagers. It was bad enough that one of the Busters, Alibi (Max Terhune) has a puppet named Elmer riding around with him. Then when a song breaks out, Elmer has some of the lines in the song. Egad!
For a 'B' western movie this was not too bad. It did have the lovely Luana Walters in the picture that is always a treat for any viewer. But one cannot get past the fact that, poor lighting, questionable sound and previously recorded song tracks - made this movie seem poorly made. But I am sure that in early 1941, before the outbreak of war, this film entertained many a young man sitting in a dark theater on Saturday afternoon.
It begins in a prison where two convicts vow to get Marshal Buck Roberts (Buck Jones) for locking them up. And when they get out they contact Jones and even believe they have killed him. But thinks to his white horse, Silver, help arrives and Marshal Roberts will recover from his injuries. Meanwhile, Marshal McCall (Tim McCoy) is posing as a card shark and Marshal 'Killer' Hopkins (Raymond Hatton) is posing as a delivery driver that also was put in prison by Roberts. They also throw in a young gentleman named Jim Cramer, the general store owner, that at one time was arrest by Marshal Jones and release all because the Marshal had a soft spot of the young man that was responsible for two small children. Cramer was now on the straight and narrow and about to be married. And he is the owner that villains are trying to put out of business. .
There is much action in this film. As with all 'B' westerns there is lots of shooting, fighting and horse-back riding. There is one action scene that stands out about others which involves a stuntman being dragged supposedly by a horse. Due to the speed of the man being pulled, it was more than likely a motorized vehicle. And I am sure, from the footage, that the stuntman received some nasty injuries due to the dragging. It looked frightening. Overall a nice performance by all. And one that never slowed in action.
The film starts out about the same way as the first film with the three Marshals (Jones ,McCoy, Hatton ) arriving at a small community that is having trouble with villains. It seems that a group of people are causing havoc throughout the community by killing cowhands and stealing cattle. This was all done in order for someone to take all the water-rights, for very little money, as the farmers went slowly out of business. Enter Marshal Buck Roberts, posing as a criminal to the locals. And with the help of Marshal McCall and a ranch-hand cook that is really Marshal Hopkins- the villains will soon get their justice.
Even though this was a nice story, it seemed to be more complex that others in the series. Perhaps I have got use to watching 'B' westerns with a simple plot and routine stories, that this offering caught me by surprise. Even with some stiff acting by the main characters, the film did have many action scenes that will appeal to most western fans.. Christine McIntyre and Dave O'Brien, guest-stars, worked great together with O'Brien even singing a special tune to an orphan baby that was made to pull at heart-strings. This is a movie that was still nice to watch as we anticipate the third installment of the Rough Rider series.
The story was centered around three Marshals (Rough Riders) that went undercover to find the people responsible for a series of stage robberies in a small Arizona town. The three Marshals, Buck Jones, Tim McCoy and Ray Hatton arrive in the town at different times as to not arouse the suspicion of the locals with only Jones revealing that he use to be a Marshal but had since retired. And as the plot thickens, the townsfolk will soon learn that they are in the middle of a investigation that will not stop till justice is served.
This was an enjoyable start to the Rough Rider series. -- And sure some of the scenes were rough, as when the trio went through a hail of gunfire and never even got a scratch. Or when a villain was shooting at one of the Marshals and he just walked right towards the villain and never was struck- but it played out well on the screen. An enjoyable watch that has me looking for the next time the Rough Riders ride again. I giving this an solid 8 on the 'B' western index.
It is not long before Crabbe, using a fake name of Billy Andrews, finds a map with the location of the gold. In the meantime, the villains have found that Bill Andrews real name is Billy the Kids and plan to get rid of him by any means possible.
The movie was a typical matinee western made by many companies call the 'skid-row' productions. But what was odd about this film is that it was released under two titles. The first title, upon beginning release, was 'The Mysterious Rider' with a running time of 56 minutes. Later when it was re-released the title was changed to "Panhandle Trail' with a running time of 40 minutes. One can only guess that the reason for the title change was the fact that there were many films in the western genre that used the title 'Mysterious Rider'. Even by 1942 there had been three movies title 'Mysterious Rider' with one being re-released about the time this movie made it debut. And with the shorten time, it appears that the movie houses were wanting shorter films before the main feature. By doing this they can get a double feature or even a triple feature at a small fee to attract the local population into paying price for admission.
Having watch both titles, it is apparent that the production company tried to shorten some scenes in order to get to the 40 minutes mark. Some of the shortcuts mainly involved people riding up, or away, on horse-back. So most of the cuts were really of no value. However, there is a big cut at the start of the movie. In the first release, it shows the Marshal and his posse chasing Billy and Fuzzy which relayed how and why Billy was in the area. The cut even had a nice scene of Fuzzy jumping into Billy's arms when he thinks he sees a ghost. -- Another cut involved how Fuzzy and the violin got into the vacant saloon, the shorter cut ending when the violin was found in the teenagers house. Not much was lost with the editing but watching the full film does make you feel more informed..
Another nice watch from the early western work.
It's not long before a meek stranger ,Bob Marlow (Bob Steele), comes to town looking for a place to stay. But do not judge Mr Marlow by his wimpy appearance. The viewer will learn that much more about the stranger and the real reason he comes to the lonely town.
In this typical western matinee movie, there is a lot of horse riding and endless pistol shooting. And at times, they are happening at the very same time. The added humor, mostly played by Buffalo Brady, gave the movie a well-rounded script. There is not many lulls in the program as the screen is full of action or some nice hi-jinks by the players. Some of the effects were rather lame as when the main villain is knocked down a steep hill. It was obviously an inserted dummy but instead of cutting away to another character and then returning to see the villain - they opted to splice the film at the point the dummy stops falling and insert the real character. There is a noticeable splice in the film that makes the user remember they are watching 'skid row' production.
But overall it served it purpose, an entertaining western that was enjoyable to watch.
Do not get me wrong, the movie has some gifted actors that gave nice performances. Along with Holden, William Bendix and Nancy Olson did a nice job keeping the story interesting and the viewer involved in the story. Even when the writing (at the end) was rushed and forgiveness came like a flash, the actors made the transition flawlessly. Perhaps a bit more time should have been planned for the ending instead of feeling rushed to an conclusion. But since this was not to be, we are left with a film that is at least entertaining and we can enjoy the talent of the actors. Nice watch.
A written summary of this movie will not do the film justice. A person really has to view the production in order to see the development of characters and the quirky plot that is laid out with its slight references to the line between sane and insanity. Steve McQueen gives an excellent performance as the viewer is caught up in the action of the B-17 crew leader that has a fondness for this horrible situation called war. One cannot wait until the next air- raid to see how character is going to react to the crisis and also to each other.
At times, the movie did get a bit slow but overall an entertaining watch. A movie that most people will not be disappoint in viewing.
The film was produced by PRC Pictures a famous 'skid-row' company that produced over 300 films in its short lifetime. And in this concept it made about sixteen films with Buster Crabbe and Al Fuzzy St John keeping the west safe- all over a three year period. That is some rushed production schedule.
There's really not much to this story that has not already been played out in many westerns. Crabbe, playing the white hat cowboy Billy Carson, is hired by a man to inspect the land where a new railroad would be built. But before Carson can get to the area, some thugs have killed the man and is now trying to buy up all the property before the railroad. Carson has to get evidence that the thugs are the one that killed the man and put a stop to their property take-over.
There is nothing really remarkable about the film as it played out as expected. Crabbe, who had already played cowboy star in the Billy-the-Kid serials, seemed a bit rough in this production. His acting was quite stiff and rehearsed in nearly every scene. But Crabbe, as always, was excellent in the fight scenes. Fuzzy St.John was his usual self by being the comic relief to every situation [laying it up for all its worth. And even if you did not like the story you have to agree that St.John was doing his best in a way that only he can perform.
Even with the less than desirable story-line, the film fulfilled its desired responsibility. It was cheaply made, provided some entertainment and ended with desired results. And yes, Crabbe's white hat never hit the ground in the ending fight scene. For a 'B' western that about all you can ask
But the main plot of the story is between the General and a local woman named Maria. Maria is due to be married to a doctor but it seems the General has eyes for the saucy woman and does his best at wooing her away from the good doctor. This was not a poor concept as the story seemed to be moving in an interesting direction. Then the production staff felt that the movie needed a bit of playful comedy that included an embarrassing conversation between the General and Maria through a closed door. Thereafter the movie took a much kinder tone as the good/bad General is pining over a woman that was about as detached as himself.
Pedro Armendáriz, that played the General, for the most part did a nice job as the strong fighter wanting the strong female. The way that he handled the change from tough character, that also showed a soft side, was refreshing. In fact, Armendáriz was the only actor in the film that seemed sincere in his role. Paulette Goddard, that played the fiery Maria, came across the screen as a twin of Norma Desmond. She played the part as someone that needed mental help instead of a person that the viewer could identify. She over-played the part and used such odd facial expressions that she became nearly scary. Add the fact that she was forty years old at the time of the filming-- even the pigtails that she wore could not make her the age that the movie want her to appear.
Even with the suspicious acting, the movie did have some nice moments. If some of the actors were changed and the director tone downed a few notches, then this could have been an exciting movie. Instead, we are left with a film that had good intentions but failed to meet the mark that was possible.
The story involves two US Marshals being killed and in response they sent Marshal Roberts (Buck Jones) and Marshal McCall (Tim McCoy) to find the persons responsible for the murders. Along the way they run into a gang of roughs that are taking advantage of the law and it is up to the Marshals to put a stop to the high jinks. They even throw in a beautiful girl to make the story complete.
A well performed B western movie. Was not expecting much from the film but was pleasantly surprised with the fifth installment of the Rough Riders series.
And as the movie comes to a close and the music begins, it takes me back to the days as a youth watching Saturday Matinees at the local theater and loving every moment of the experience.
This movie did have a number of great actors but it was obvious they were not used to their potential. And with the script going from one suspect to another suspect in a matter of minutes, the viewer only got a small potion of each character background right before changing to another scene with another character actor. For an Agatha Christie mystery, this film was lacking the excitement that was expected.
Bill Bixby does a fine job of guest-starring as a college paranormal professor that is trying to continue funding his classes by showing the staff that there are ghost living among us. And of course he sets his eyes on the Gull cottage.
At first the Captain tries to frighten the professor away but this only leads to more fascination by the visiting teacher. And in a way the Captain has played right into the professor's hands as he will get fellow professors to visit the house to see for themselves. However, the Captain and Mrs Muir, have a plan to set the young professor back with his head at a low angle.
With some actual good gags and humorous jokes, this episode was the best of the offerings so far in the series. It still seems that Hope Lang is not quite comfortable in the role as she seems to play her part with such a stiff projection. But thanks to Mr Bixby, who was perfectly cast, the show was entertaining enough to view.
The plot involved a young couple on their way to get married when their car breaks down right in front of Muir's house. And due to the late hour, they will not be able to get a mechanic out till morning. Thus, the couple will spend the night. The Captain is not keen on the two young people staying in his house. And as you might guess, the Captain sports around trying to get the people out. This backfires when Carolyn tells him to stop. Now the only way out is to get them married and the Captain will have his room back.
After the show was over, I tried to go back and think of things that made the show worthy for watching. And to be honest, there are very few points of interest. The only real laugh was when the Captain tried to fix the car - otherwise it is not too comical when a window opens by itself or a door closes by itself.
Of course, the screen was made much better by, the always good looking, Yvonne Craig. You can actually say that she was the best item about the entire episode. For a dull script, Ms Craig made the time pass by much quicker. She deserves credit.