EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|IN OLD SANTA FE (director: David Howard; screenwriters: Colbert Clark/James Gruen; cinematographers: Ernest Miller/William Nobles; editor: Thomas Scott; music: ; cast: Ken Maynard (Kentucky), George 'Gabby' Hayes (Cactus), Evalyn Knapp (Lila Miller), H.B. Warner (Charlie Miller), Gene Autry (Himself), Smiley Burnette (Himself), Wheeler Oakman (Tracy), Kenneth Thomson (Chandler/Matt Korber), Jack Rockwell (Sheriff), Charles Brinley (Wounded Stagecoach Driver), Stanley Blystone (Hank, Outlaw); Runtime: 64; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Nat Levine; Mascot Pictures; 1934)|
|"Radio singing cowboy
Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette both make their
film debuts in star Ken Maynard's
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Radio singing cowboy Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette both make their film debuts in star Ken Maynard's singing western, which was Ken's first pic for small indie studio Mascot after leaving Universal. Autry and Smiley have cameos as singers at a square dance held at the dude ranch. Less than a year after this pic, the genial singing cowboy Autry would replace a grumpy Maynard in the Mascot serial Phantom Empire and later Autry would start the singing cowboy craze while Maynard found work in films for ten more years but today is mostly a forgotten figure. Director David Howard ("Painted Desert"/"Dude Cowboy"/"The Marshal of Mesa City") and writers Colbert Clark and James Gruen keep it B-western friendly.
Kentucky (Ken Maynard) and
his women hating curmudgeon comic relief sidekick
Cactus (George Hayes) get to meet on the cute Lila
feisty attractive daughter of dude ranch owner Charlie
Miller (H.B. Warner), when her speeding car
goes off the road on the desert trail. The drifter
cowboys plan to race their palomino Tarzan in a
grueling long-distance race across the prairie that's
sponsored by Lila's old man's ranch. Also arriving for
the race, by stagecoach, are two oily slickly garbed
dudes, an easterner named Chandler (Kenneth Thomson) and his shifty friend Tracy
The gabby Cactus is talked into
betting the horse Tarzan to win the race with Chandler,
and only loses because Tracy fixed the race through foul
play--tripping Tarzan with a wire before the home
stretch. After Chandler meets Miller he blackmails him
about his prison record, and tries to muscle his way
into a partnership with Charlie over his dude ranch and
successful gold mine. Chandler is also smitten with Lila
and wants Charlie to force her to marry him. But Lila is
smitten with Kentucky, and the handsome cowboy is
likewise smitten with her.
Meanwhile Tracy is irked
that the brutish Chandler is cheating him out of his
share of the promised gold and robs the stagecoach
carrying Miller's gold without Chandler's knowledge.
Ken somehow gets framed for murdering the stagecoach
driver and then gets framed for Chandler's murdering
of Tracy. But with the help of Cactus, Kentucky finds
the proof that Tracy rigged the horse race and
committed the robbery with three henchmen and he
further learns that Chandler's real name is Monte Korber
and he's the son of a dangerous convict Miller spent
time with in prison. Unknown to Chandler, Miller told the sheriff
about the blackmail attempt and we now learn that
Miller received a full pardon for his supposed earlier
crime when it became evident he was innocent. With the
baddies out of the picture, Kentucky openly courts
Lila while the misogynistic Cactus sneers.
The songs include "Down in Old Santa Fe," "Mama Don't Like Music," "That's What I Like About My Dog," "Because You Didn't Get a Girl" and "Wyoming Waltz."
Director Howard was on loan
in a short contract to Mascot, and when time ran out
Joseph Kane ended up finishing the lively film for
REVIEWED ON 8/1/2011 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ