|THE KID FROM TEXAS (director: Kurt Neumann; screenwriters: story by Robert Hardy Andrews/Robert Hardy Andrews/Karl Lamb; cinematographer:Charles Van Enger; editor: Frank Gross; music: Milton Schwarzwald; cast: Audie Murphy (Billy the Kid), Gale Storm (Irene Kain), Albert Dekker (Alexander Kain), Shepperd Strudwick (Roger Jameson), Walter Sande (Crowe), Will Greer (O'Fallon), William Talman (Minninger), Martin Garralaga (Morales), Robert Barrat (General Lew Wallace), Dennis Hooey (Major Harper), Don Haggerty (Jameson's ranch foreman, Morgan), Frank Wilcox (Sheriff Pat Garrett), Ray Teal (Sheriff Rand), Paul Ford (Sheriff Copeland); Runtime: 78; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Paul Short; Universal; 1950)|
|"The Audie Murphy film I liked best
even if it wasn't his best."
by Dennis Schwartz
Audie Murphy film I liked best even if it wasn't his
best. Audie is perfectly cast to play Billy the Kid,
and his performance outshines even Robert Taylor's
noted characterization of the Kid. This is the film
Audie was recognized as a star. Audie was America's
most decorated Second World War hero, who went from
the battlefield to Hollywood and had a fine career in
mostly low-budget B-Westerns in the 1960s.
this supposedly true telling of the legendary story
might not be all that accurate, I thought it captured
Billy's killer instincts better than other depictions.
Audie seems as if he could be the real Billy. The
German-born director Kurt Neumann ("Mohawk"/"The
Fly"/"Watusi") gives the pic a good flowing pace and
treats the Kid as if he were a juvenile delinquent,
with decent virtues but not sophisticated enough to
deal with cunning authority figures. He's viewed as
psychologically needy, someone craving respect and
affection. But unable to control his emotions or
events, he already was a wanted man for killing 8 by
the film's start. By the film's conclusion he has
based on a story by Robert Hardy Andrews,
and is written by the author and Karl Lamb. They
romanticize Billy as a good-guy killer, who was
initially viewed with sympathy but by the conclusion
became cornered into being a psychopathic killer. We
are led to believe that Billy was driven to becoming a
mass killer by living in a corrupt society.
1879, in Lincoln, NM, a range war is going on between
the thuggish Major Harper (Dennis Hooey) and ranch
partners Alex Kain (Albert Dekker), the arrogant
lawyer, and the English gentleman rancher Roger
Jameson (Shepperd Strudwick). When
William Bonney (Audie Murphy) outdraws a bunch of
thugs sent by the Major to intimidate the partners,
he's taken to Jameson's ranch to work on the ranch and
is willing to be a good citizen because Jameson is the
only person who ever treated him with kindness.
But when the Major's thugs gun down Jameson in
cold-blood, Billy vows to get revenge on each of the
partner Kain meanwhile marries a much younger woman
from Missouri (Gale Storm), who plays the piano and
attracts Billy. This irritates the two-faced Kain, who
turns out to be the film's heavy. He authorizes Billy
to get the cattle Harper's men rustled and to take
care of the rustlers. When Billy does what he's told,
the acting governor of the territory, General Lew
Wallace (Robert Barrat, the author of Ben Hur)
objects, the phony Kain then double-crosses the Kid
and puts up the bounty money so that a $10,000 reward
is put out for the Kid. Incidentally, he was named
Billy the Kid by the working-class Mexicans who
admired him more than the whites.
When Billy turns 21 he is gunned down by Pat Garrett (Frank Wilcox), the sheriff appointed by the General to keep the peace in Lincoln County.
REVIEWED ON 1/21/2016 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ