Film Review – TRAIL STREET (1947)

Trail Street - 1947 - Ray Enright with Randolph Scott | John wayne ...TRAIL STREET (USA, 1947) **½
      Distributor: RKO Radio Pictures; Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures; Release Date: 19 February 1947; Filming Dates: 26 July–mid-September 1946; Running Time: 84m; Colour: B&W; Sound Mix: Mono (RCA Sound System); Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Spherical; Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1; BBFC Cert: U.
      Director: Ray Enright; Writer: Norman Houston, Gene Lewis (based on the novel by William Corcoran); Executive Producer: Jack J. Gross; Producer: Nat Holt; Director of Photography: J. Roy Hunt; Music Composer: Paul Sawtell; Film Editor: Lyle Boyer; Art Director: Ralph Berger, Albert S. D’Agostino; Set Decorator: Darrell Silvera, John Sturtevant; Costumes: Adele Balkan; Make-up: Mel Berns (uncredited); Sound: Terry Kellum, Jean L. Speak.
      Cast: Randolph Scott (Bat Masterson), Robert Ryan (Allen Harper), Anne Jeffreys (Ruby Stone), George ‘Gabby’ Hayes (Billy Jones), Madge Meredith (Susan Pritchett), Steve Brodie (Logan Maury), Billy House (Carmody), Virginia Sale (Hannah), Harry Woods (Larkin Larkin), Phil Warren (Slim), Harry Harvey (Mayor), Jason Robards Sr. (Jason (as Jason Robards)).
      Synopsis: Bat Masterson’s old friend Billy Burns convinces him to become marshal of Liberal, Kansas and help the residents fight drought and a destructive range war.
      Comment: Tale of rich rancher Brodie battling land agent Ryan who supports the farmers looking to grow their crops under the hot Kansas sun is an overly familiar trek through Western tropes. Scott enters the fray as lawman Bat Masterson determined to see that the law is upheld. Meredith is Ryan’s love interest also pursued by Brodie, whilst Jeffreys is the saloon girl spurned by Brodie. Hayes lives up to his nickname as Scott’s sidekick and deputy who can’t stop running his mouth. Enright directs the action scenes well, but the hokey dialogue is delivered in often flat fashion by most of the cast – only Scott and Jeffrey manage to inject personality into their characters and rise above the routine material. The result is an entertaining enough, if dated, Western.

Film Review – TALL IN THE SADDLE (1944)

Image result for tall in the saddle 1944Tall in the Saddle (1944; USA; B&W; 87m) ***½  d. Edwin L. Marin; w. Michael Hogan, Paul Fix, Gordon Ray Young; ph. Robert De Grasse; m. Roy Webb.  Cast: John Wayne, George “Gabby” Hayes, Ward Bond, Ella Raines, Audrey Long, Elisabeth Risdon, Paul Fix, Raymond Hatton, Frank Puglia, George Chandler. When a stranger arrives in a western town he finds that the rancher who sent for him has been murdered. Fast-paced tale of deception with a love triangle thrown into the pot. Wayne is in his element as the stranger and Raines is feisty as a rancher’s hot-headed daughter. Hayes provides comic relief and whilst the story becomes more formulaic in its final act, it is never less than thoroughly enjoyable. This was the first Wayne film to be shown on American network television. Based on the novel by Gordon Ray Young. Also available in a computer colourised version. [U]

Film Review – DARK COMMAND (1940)

Image result for dark command 1940Dark Command (1940; USA; B&W; 94m) ***  d. Raoul Walsh; w. Grover Jones, Lionel Houser, F. Hugh Herbert, Jan Fortune; ph. Jack A. Marta; m. Victor Young.  Cast: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Walter Pidgeon, Roy Rogers, George “Gabby” Hayes, Marjorie Main, Porter Hall, Raymond Walburn, Joe Sawyer, J. Farrell MacDonald, Helen MacKellar, Trevor Bardette, Richard Alexander, Roy Bucko, Mildred Gover. A cowpoke becomes a rival for a ruthless renegade.  Strong production values and well directed action sequences cover cracks in this rushed and uneven Western. Wayne is a likeable hero and Pidgeon a charismatic villain who both court rich banker’s daughter, Trevor. Hayes adds comic relief. Plot takes a dark turn as Pidgeon’s guerrilla army loots its way across Kansas and there is a rousing climax. The character of Will Cantrell is loosely based on the real-life Confederate guerrilla leader William Quantrill. [U]