DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

GENE AUTRY AND THE MOUNTIES (director: John English; screenwriter: Norman Hall; cinematographer: William Bradford; editor:  James Sweeney; music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff; cast: Gene Autry (Himself), Pat Buttram (Scat Russell), Richard Emory (Mountie Terry Dillon), Bruce Carruthers (Sgt. MacKenzie), Elena Verdugo (Marie Duval), Carleton Young (Pierre LaBlond), Jim Frasher (Jack Duval), Trevor Bardette (Raoul Duval), Gregg Barton (Sgt. Stuart), Herbert Rawlinson (Inspector Wingate), Francis McDonald (Batiste), Jody Gilbert (Squaw), Nolan Leary (Doc Sawyer); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Armand Schaefer; Columbia Pictures; 1951)

"A formulaic Gene Autry western."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

John English ("The Strawberry Roan"/"Utah"/"Don't Fence Me In") directs a formulaic Gene Autry western that failed to hold my attention. The acting for the black and white film is robotic, the screenplay by Norman Hall is weak and its execution is stilted.

U.S. Marshal Gene Autry and his deputy Scat Russell (Pat Buttram) are tracking the notorious Canadian outlaw Pierre LaBlond (Carleton Young), who robbed Montana banks and fled back to western Canada. Pierre is the ruthless untrustworthy charlatan leader of a gang who espouse the views of the separatist revolutionary socialist thinker Louis Fontaine. The group of land grabber radicals wish to form a welfare state and grab western Canada as their territory.

Riding on horseback in the Canadian woods the lawmen from the States hear gunfire but come too late to save Sgt. MacKenzie (Bruce Carruthers) from an attack by Pierre's gang. But they rescue his wounded Mountie partner Terry Dillon (Richard Emory) and take him to the nearest log cabin, that of Raoul Duval (Trevor Bardette), for shoulder repairs, where Raoul's pretty niece Marie (Elena Verdugo) gladly dresses the Mountie's wound even if her hateful young brother Jack, who aspires to be an outlaw, treats the lawmen intruders with contempt.

The action involves Gene working with Mountie Inspector Wingate (Herbert Rawlinson) to break-up the gang, rescue the kidnapped Marie from a forced marriage to the evil LaBlond, for Gene in a fatherly way to deal with the mixed-up Jack so he learns to respect the law and the outlaws, and the recovering of the gold bullion stolen from the banks of Montana. For comedy relief a heavy-set squaw (Jody Gilbert) is determined that Scat would make a good father for her children because of his skills at playing marbles with the children and chases after him until rescued by the crafty Gene.

REVIEWED ON 1/23/2014       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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