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Cavalry Patrol (1956)
Should have been much better
Given the credits of director Charles Marquis Warren and writer John Champion, and with a cast of westenr veterans like John Pickard, Dewey Martin and Sheb Wooley, this pilot for a proposed series shoudl have been far better than it was. Warren has done some excellent westerns in the past--1953's "Arrowhead" being a particularly good example--but this is far from his best work. The writing is hackwork, the "action"--such as it is--is pjoorly done, and everything pretty much falls apart at the end, with a completely unbelievable resolution. A good director and a good cast don't necessarily result in good work, and this failed pilot proves it.
Tales of Robin Hood (1951)
Fails in pretty much every respect
Sloppily writtten, badly directed, poorly acted stinker is an insult to its 1939 predecessor, which it pathetically tries to ape. Everything about it is thid-rate , from the cardboard sets to the lackluster "action" scenes to the zombie-like performances in some of the lesser roles., and pretty much everything in between. Robert Clarke is no Errol Flylnn, although there is a slight rsembulane, and none of the rest of the cast makes any im;ression at all. I saw it on YouTube, where it's colorized, and whoever did it didn't do a bad job, but everything else in this cheesefest isn't worth wasting your time on.
Weak initial entry for the series
This series, starring Hugh OBrian, is fondly remembered by many who saw it when it came out as one of the better TV westerns of the era. I was 10 when it first aired, and I remember not being terribly impressed with it. I just saw it now on Tubi for the first time in decades, and I must say I was right the first time.
Sloppily writtern and poorly acted, it looks cheap and seems rushed. The "action" scenes are badly done, and there's no chemistry at all between O'Brian and the rest of the cast, especially the annoying Mason Dinehart as a young and incredibly dumb Bat Masterson. Some good characters actors like Denver Pyle and Hal Baylor can't save it. There wre western series out at the time, such as "Gunsmoke", that were far beter than this. This series was on for seeral years, so maybe it got better as it aged, but I didn't stick around then (or now) to find out.
I would not recommend this.
Rabbit Fire (1951)
The best of the best
Warner Bros. Cartoons were unquestionably the absolute best of any studio. Ever. Period. And this is the best carton to ever come out of Warners. Ever. :Period.
Everything about this cartoon is top-of-the-line. It's Mel Blanc's masterpice, Chuck Jones masterwork, even better (in my opinion) than "What's Opera Doc?", for which Jones won an Oscar. I can't think of any superlatives to describe this film that haven't already been used. It just doesn't get any better than this. See for yourself.
The Marshal's Daughter (1953)
Rock-bottom "B", poor all around
Willliam Berke was a prolific "B" director capable of turning out tight, entertaining, well-made little pictures.
This is not one of them.
Everything about it is sub-par--the writing (laughable), the cinematography (dark and muddy), the editing (done with a dull chainsaw, apparently), the songs (the title song is especially sappy and juvenile) and lead actress Laurie Anders (for whom this as a vehicle) isn't up to it. She's cute, blonde and perky, but that only goes so far, and in this instance it doesn't go far enough.
It's not all her fault, though. Everything about this film is substandard. If Miss Anders was looking for a project to make her a star, she should have kept looking.
Giant from the Unknown (1958)
Better than I thought it would be
Richard Cunha has made some pretty terrible movies in the past--i.e., "Frankenstein's Daughter", "Missile to the Moon", to name just a few--but this isn't one of them. It's actually pretty well done, with an interesting story, good writing and he managed to put together a better cast than he usually assembled (Morris Ankrum, Bob Steele, Ed Kemmer, Sally Fraser) that does a very creditable job. It doesn't have the bottom-of-the-barrel threadbare look that most of his films have and Cunha manages to maintain a level of suspense--even though you know what's coming--and keeps things moving along nicely. A pleasant surprise all around.
Surprisingly tight little B, well-done
"Rimfire" is a low-budget effort from Lippert. Much of their product was forgettable, but every so often they'd come u with a good one, and this is one of them.
There are no "stars", just a good cross-section of solid, reliable character actors, and that helps a lot. James Millican was a supporting actor in a lot of westerns, but he's the lead here and does a very good job of it. Velvet-voiced Reed Hadley is The Abilene Kid, a gambler framed and hung for cheating at cards, George Cleveland is a conflicted judge, Henry Hull is a crusty newspaper editor, and the rest of the cast is comprised of a variety of familiar western faces--among them Forrest Taylor, Fuzzy Knight, John Cason and Don Harvey--who have more screen time than they usually get, and they all acquit themselves well. There are several interesting plot twists, which you don't usually find in low-rent "B" westerns, and give the film the kind of atmosphere that, again, isn't usually found in "B" westerns. This was veteran director B. Reeves Eason's final film as director--although he did do some second-unit work and directed several episodes of TV series after it--and it's a good one to go out on. Well done.
Bad, Black and Beautiful (1975)
As bad as they come
The previous reviewer explained the "plot"--such as it is--pretty well, so I won't bother going over it. Suffice it to say tat this film is terrible on pretty much every level--writing (convoluted), directing (virtually non-existent), photography (washed-out and often out of focus), acting (wouldn't pass muster on a one-day porno), "action" scenes (laughable), sound (tinny and the level goes up and down so much it's often hard to decipher the dialogue--which is actually no great loss), and it gets worse. There's really only one reason to watch tis thing--lead Gwen Barbee is an incredibly beautiful woman, and is the one thing that makes this film worthwhile. Unfortunately she can't act to save her life, but considering this film's tsunami of deficiencies, that's not a deal-breaker.
I'm actually a fan of blaxploitation films--they have a grittiness and a sense of fun I admire--and, more importantly, Pam Grier came out of them. But this one is jut too much even for me.
Besides Gwen Barbee, it has absolutely nothing to recommend it. At all. Watch it if you want to see what truly terrible filmmaking is like. Otherwise, skip it.
The Magnificent Seven Ride! (1972)
The last--and certainly the least--of the "Magnificent 7" franchise
By-the-numbers western has the chintzy look of a cheap Aaron Spelling made-for-TV opus. A good cast of veteran "heavies"--Luke Askew, William Lucking, Pedro Armendariz Jr., Ed Lauter--can't save this extremely ordinary oater from poor direction and atrocious hack writing. Predictable at every turn,
Interesting though not particularly good example of early live television
A District Attorney is questioning a witness in a murder trial when the witness--a convicted murderer awaiting execution--suddenly pulls out a gun and kills the DA. Private investigator Martin Kane is asked to solve the mystery and find out who gave the killer the gun and why he or she wanted the DA dead.
This series was shot live on videotape, and mistakes such as flubbed lines--of which there are quite a few--got left in, as well as some hilariously blatant product placement spots for the show's sponsor, a tobacco company.
The show has the low-rent look of a '40s cheapjack effort from PRC, and the acting and the writing are on a par with that, although Frank DeKova--better known as Chief Wild Eagle from the '60s comedy series "F Troop"--injects a little life into the boring proceedings as the DA's killer.
Interesting as an example of the early days of television, but taken by itself, it's not much.
A little dry, but nevertheless unsettling
This educational short focuses on how a nation can move from democracy to despotism much quicker than most people would think. It shows how injustice, income inequality, concentration of power in just a few hands, propaganda and various other factors can work to turn a healthy democracy into a despotic, even fascist, state. It's a little dry and somewhat simplistic, but the parallels between 1946, when this was made, and today are, to put it mildly, unsettling. A lot of the conditions this film shows as helping to lead to despotism already exist in this country. If we don't watch out, it could well happen to us.
Devil Riders (1943)
Better-than-average Crabbe PRC western, but not by much
"Billy Carson" (Buster Crabbe) helps a stage line beset by outlaws who are secretly working for a crooked businessman who wants to get rid of it so it won't interfere with his plans to buy valuable land along a proposed railroad route. Not quite as cheesy or inept as the usual Crabbe PRC western, and Patty McCarty is several notches above the usual PRC heroine in both looks and talent, but it's still PRC, so you know pretty much what to expect, and you pretty much get it.
Legenda o Kolovrate (2017)
Bit over the top, but good action scenes, hot women--all ruined by ATROCIOUS dubbing
Well made, with good action, story isn't difficult to follow, nicely photographed, acting is a bit raggedy but not distractingly so. It's a bit over the top, but that's to be expected from this kind of film and it doesn't really detract from it.
What DOES detract from it, though, is the absolutely horrific dubbing. The "actors" sound like they just woke up, are having a cup of coffee and reading off a teleprompter. There's not even an attempt at any kind of convincing acting; it sounds like they're ordering a Jumbo Jack from the plastic clown at Jack in the Box. It's hard to take the lead actor seriously when he sounds like Spicoli in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High". The awful dubbing ruined what was otherwise a not-bad movie for me. They would have been better off just leaving in the Russian language and putting up subtitles.
What a mess.
A gunfighter returns to his home town from the Civil War with a useless left arm, having been shot during the war. He's back to help the sheriff, an old friend, hang a convicted murderer, also an old friend, whose family has vowed to break him out of jail.
Aside from the novelty of a one-armed gunfighter, there's nothing really special to set this series apart from any of the numerous western series of the time. This episode has a good cast--James Coburn as the one to be hanged in the morning, Royal Dano as the sheriff, Hank Patterson as the elder of the family and a very young Jim Hutton, who has a few lines at the opening of the episode before he gets killed off. Unfortunately, the writing by series creator Harry Julian Fink is trite and predictable, and director Richard Whorf does a pedestrian job with what little he's given to work with. Star David McLean doesn't really impress; he's OK, but that's about it.
The series only lasted one season, so I guess it's safe to say that it didn't get much better than this initial episode.
Fort Massacre (1958)
Good twist on familiar theme
The survivors of a cavalry patrol ambushed by Apaches try to make their way through dangerous territory to an awaiting wagon train, all the while trying not to get wiped out by pursuing Indians and riven by tensions within the unit.
It's a fairly familiar theme in westerns, but director Joseph Newman does quite a lot with it. The script by Martin Goldsmith is tight and tough, the cinematography by Carl Guthrie of the territory around Kanab, Utah, and the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico are breathtaking, far better than you would expect in a "B" western. The performances are universally excellent, although Forrest Tucker's tough Irish sergeant--a role he has played before--keeps losing his Irish accent, Joel McCrea does a top-notch job as a sergeant who has to assume command after all the officers are killed, and he doesn't want the job--partly because he doesn't particularly like most of the men in his unit. Veteran western performers Denver Pyle, Robert Osterloh and Rayford Barnes turn in their usual solid performances, but a standout is John Russell--soon to come into his own in his own western series, "Lawman" (1958)--who plays a college-educated private who joined the army to "find himself" but doesn't particularly like what he's found.
Some surprising themes are dealt with that you wouldn't expect to see in a "B western, such as racism, introspection and "heroic" characters who may not be quite as heroic as they appear. Combine this with some well-staged action scenes and you've got a crackerjack little western on your hands.
Take the A-Train (1941)
What a great little short!
I haven't seen all that many Soundies, and this is one of the best. The Delta Rhythm Boys--whom I had heard of but never seen before--are terrific, the dancing is great, the girls are absolutely stunning, the harmonies are perfect, everyone looks like they're having a hell of a good time, and you can't help but have one too while you're watching this. Highly recommended.
Of Cash and Hash (1955)
Tired, slapdash and unfunny
Notwithstanding Shemp's attempts to inject some life into it, this sloppy, hastily thrown together short is definitely NOT one of their better ones. Columbia was phasing out its shorts department--it shut down altogether just three years after this was made--and wasn't putting any effort at all into the Stooges' products. This short consists mostly of painfully obvious stock footage from Shivering Sherlocks (1948) with some cheaply shot new footage thrown in the mix. Don't waste your time on this thing and watch the original instead.
Precious Cargo (2016)
This rancid, festering carcass of a movie--for lack of a better word--was put together by 25 PRODUCERS??? 25??? They should have spent less money on producers and more on writers. Or directors. Or ANYONE who knew what they were doing.
There's nothing I can say about this . . . thing . . . that hasn't been said already. I watched it for about 15 minutes and decided to pop it out and watch a real, honest-to-goodness, professional, well-written, intelligently acted, solidly produced film by comparison--so I put in "Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol".
It was WAY better.
Pretty chintzy, even for a George Montgomery western
George Montgomery didn't make particularly good westerns--like a lot of other western stars he was tall, good-looking, rode a horse fairly well, and was a strapping physical specimen, but he just didn't that "something" that set him apart from the rest of the crowd. He did make a few better-than-average westerns--1951's "The Texas Rangers" fits that description--but for the most part his stuff was for the lower half of a double bill, cheaply made in black and white for low-rent outfits like Allied Artists or some independent company, and one was pretty much like the next. There are two things that set this one apart, however--(1) it's in color and (2) it has Lola Albright.
Like many of his westerns, it's not particularly well-shot, even though it's in color, and is cursed with a surfeit of stock footage, much of which doesn't match the "new" footage. Fortunately, the new footage also contains Lola Albright, who, even in a long skirt and loose blouse is incredibly sexy, with that smoky, almost growling voice of hers in full bloom, and she's actually the best part of the picture. The plot is one that's been done a million times before--white boy's parents die, he is raised by Indians, complications ensue--and better, but Albright is pretty much the only reason to watch this. Stony-faced Charles Horvath plays--as he has done many times before--a villainous Indian warrior (although he's actually Hungarian), veteran character actor Ralph Moody plays--as he has many times before--a kindly old Indian chief, George Waggner directed and co-wrote the script (and didn't do particularly well in either department).
The film's cheapness shows through at every turn, and overall it's just a fair way to spend an hour or so, but not much more than that.
The Texas Rangers (1951)
Probbly Montgomery's best western
I was never really a fan of George Montgomery's westerns; they were pretty cookie-cutter jobs, one looking pretty much like the next, cheap black-and-white somewhat shoddy productions with lame scripts and made by mediocre and uninspired directors.
This, however, is WAY above his usual product. It's beautifully shot--I never thought SuperCinecolor could look so good--with a terrific cast of great western veterans, such as John Dehner, Ian McDonald, Douglas Kennedy, Noah Beery, Jock Mahoney, Myron Healey, to name just a few--and in Phil Karlson he had probably the best director he ever worked with. Karlson was known for his fast-paced, right, action-filled westerns that moved like lightning, and this one doesn't disappoint. Montgomery is more animated than he usually is--as a director himself maybe he realized just how good Karlson was and put more heart and effort into his performance than he usually did, Whatever the case, this is one of Montgomery's best westerns--fast, a lot of action and not slowed down too terribly by the usually hammy Gale Storm as his love interest.
If you're looking for a history lesson, look somewhere else--this isn't a documentary. If you're looking for an interesting, satisfying western with good action, beautiful color and spirited performances, this is one for you.
Saving Christmas (2014)
Would turn Jesus into an atheist
You have to give Kirk Cameron credit for consistency. Every movie he makes is consistently worse than the one that came before it. That's a not inconsiderable accomplishment; even Edward D. Wood Jr. And Uwe Boll have made movies that didn't make you want to rush for the nearest bathroom. That's one more goal Kirk can shoot for. Unfortunately for him, he didn't reach it with this one.
Inept at every conceivable level--and even at some that were previously inconceivable--I wouldn't even recommend seeing this just for the laughs (there are plenty of them there, although it's not supposed to be a comedy--I don't think it is, anyway. It's hard to tell). It reminded me of what a friend of mine said not long after he got hit in the cojones by a line drive while playing baseball: "It may have looked funny to you, but it hurt too much to laugh for me".
Now I know how he feels.
Charming little "generation gap" story
George Neise is an ambitious corporate executive who comes up with a plan to retire--forcibly or otherwise--all employees aged 65 or over, in order to make way for new blood. One "old-timer", however, isn't quite ready to hang up his guns just yet, and decides to fight fire with fire.
Charles Coburn, as the would-be retiree, is quite charming as the feisty Tom Carey, who isn't going down without a fight. Neise, a prolific character actor who specialized in playing smarmy corporate drone types, does a good job as "the man with the plan", and as an extra added attraction, the spectacular Joi Lansing has a small but memorable part. All in all, a cute little story,
Cavalier of the West (1931)
Good cast overcomes somewhat choppy presentation
Harry Carey is an army captain whose wastrel kid brother, a lieutenant, is transferred to his post. They find themselves competing for the same beautiful Mexican girl when the brother gets mixed up in a murder involving a saloon girl. He also has trouble with a crooked cantina/gambling-house owner and a gang of rustlers.
Carey is an undeniable presence, and entirely believable as a grizzled cavalry captain, Kane Richmond is cast against type as the carousing, drunken brother, and Gabby Hayes--billed here as George Hayes--is terrific as an Irish-born sheriff. In addition, there are two absolutely stunning Mexican actresses, Carmen LaRoux and Christina Montt, playing the girl Carey and his brothers are in love with and the saloon girl, respectively, and both do first-rate jobs. Ted Adams, of course, does his usual fine job of villainy.
Where the film falters is in its presentation. The writing by director John P. McCarthy leaves a lot to be desired, and his direction is choppy and erratic. There is a dearth of action until near the end when there is a not-bad shootout between the cavalry and the rustler gang.
All things considered, I'd rate this independent (Weiss Bros.) "B" western just a bit below average, but Carey's presence, and the two beautiful Mexican women, made me give it an extra star. It's definitely worth a look.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (2012)
How in God's name did this rancid pile of vomitus last 5 years?
The fact that this testament to the dangers of inbreeding managed to last for five years is a shameful blot on American society that can never be erased. This show has absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever, at all, period. Watching it for more than five minutes is an exercise in masochism that would be unbearable to any sentient human being with more than three functioning brain cells, which of course leaves out both the cast and the audience. This show makes "Duck Dynasty" look like a MENSA meeting. The fact that it lasted on the air for five years goes a long way toward explaining how Donald Trump managed to get elected President.
Unfortunately, IMDb doesn't have a rating of 0--which would actually still be a higher rating than it deserves. Abominable.
Slapstick (Of Another Kind) (1982)
If this isn't the worst movie ever made . . .
. . . it will do until that one comes along. A complete botch job in every conceivable aspect. Lewis mugs more than usual-- a stupendous accomplishment-- and the movie looks so cheap it gives "cheesy" a bad name. How a major talent like Madeline Kahn got roped into doing this steaming pile is beyond me; I guess she must have needed to pay some bills since that would be the only even remotely logical explanation. I've emitted beer farts that weren't as rancid as this mess is. A total misfire, embarrassing to watch, maddening to think that they actually were able to find the $4.19 it cost to make this thing.
Avoid at all costs.