|RIDERS OF THE WHISTLING PINES (director: John English; screenwriter: Jack Townley; cinematographer: William Bradford; editor: Aaron Stell; music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff; cast: Gene Autry (Himself), Patricia White (Helen Carten), Jimmy Lloyd (Forester Joe Lucas), Douglass Dumbrille (Henry Mitchell), Clayton Moore (Henchman Pete), Damian O'Flynn (Henchman Bill Wright), Len Torrey (Marshal), Roy Gordon (Supt. John Hoaglund), Jason Robards Sr. (Forester Charles Carter), Harry Cheshire (Dr. Daniel Chadwick), Loie Bridge (Loie Weaver), Leon Weaver (Abner Weaver); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Armand Schaefer; Columbia; 1949)|
is derived from one of the many songs Gene
sings on his merry way to bagging the
villains in an undisclosed timber preserve."
by Dennis Schwartz
title is derived from one of the many songs Gene
sings on his merry way to bagging the villains in an
undisclosed timber preserve. Director John English
("Mule Train"/"The Blazing Sun"/"Whirlwind") sets
the action in a government forest preserve,
where the bad guys are greedy, sneaky and dangerous.
The so-so western, in b&w, was adequately written
with no formulaic surprises by Jack Townley.
When viewed today the pic is obsolete, as its criminal
detection science is from the stone ages.
ranger Carter (Jason Robards Sr.) is
killed by bad guy Wright (Damian O'Flynn),
a henchman of crooked lumber company owner Mitchell (Douglass
Dumbrille), to prevent the
reporting that there's a tree poisoning, called tussock
moth infestation, and the forest must be sprayed or it
will be destroyed. It seems Mitchell's company has an
exclusive government contract and a delay in cutting
the timber will cause them to lose the contract.
Coincidentally, in the same area the ranger was shot,
Gene is trying to kill a mountain lion but keeps
missing because some foresters, he just worked with
before quitting to return to run his camp, fooled
around with his gun-sight as a joke after giving him
the rifle as a parting gift. Gene blames himself for
the accidental death, and secretly through Dr. Chadwick
(Harry Cheshire) gives the
vic's surviving daughter Helen (Patricia
White) money to continue ranching.
the foresters learn of the poisoned trees, they have
it sprayed by airplane with chemicals and promise
the ranchers it won't poison their livestock. But
Wright and henchman Pete (Clayton Moore, the future
Lone Ranger) poison Helen's cattle and the
dim-witted ranchers follow Wright's pleas to stop
the spraying program by force. But Gene, with the
help of his wartime flying buddy, Joe (Jimmy
Lloyd), locate the plane, stored on the
grounds of Mitchell's site, that's used by the bad
dudes to spray the livestock. With some pilot
heroics by the self-pitying Joe, a drunk ever since
his pretty wife died while he was at war, the bad
guys are caught and all's well in the timber
preserve again. The photo Joe always keeps with him
when flying was actually of Marilyn Monroe (under
contract to Columbia).
array of songs include the previously mentioned
title song, It's My Lazy Day, Toolie
Oolie Doolie, Hair of Gold, Let's Go, Let's
Go Roaming Around The Range, Little Big
Dry, Every Time I Feel The Spirit and Let's
Go Roaming Around The Range.
REVIEWED ON 6/16/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ