OF THE CANYON (director: John
English; screenwriters: John K. Butler/from the novel "Phantom .45s Talk Loud" by
Bradford; editor: Aaron Stell; music: Joseph Dubin; cast:
Gene Autry (Himself/Gene Autry Sr.), Nan Leslie (Ruth
Lambert), Walter Sande (Jake Fargo), Thurston Hall (Big Tim Hanlon),
Clem Bevans (Loco
John), Francis McDonald (Charlie Lewis), Jock O'Mahoney (Pete Reagan), Alan Hale Jr.
(Matt Kimbrough), Amelita Ward (Waitress Lily
Mallinson (Sheriff); Runtime: 70; MPAA
Rating: NR; producer: Armond Schaeffer; Columbia; 1949)
"More adult than usual Autry screenplay."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Autry plays dual roles, as he plays himself and sports
a mustache to play his hero sheriff father. John
English ("The Hills of Utah") aggressively directs the
more adult than usual Autry screenplay crafted by
writer John K. Butler. It's based on the
.45s Talk Loud" by Joseph Chadwick.
Rancher Gene Autry prepares
for a stagecoach race as part of Frontier Days
celebration in the town of Canyon Junction. The
sheriff informs Gene that three dangerous criminals
escaped and one of them is Jake Fargo (Walter
Sande). Twenty years ago Gene's, now deceased,
father captured stagecoach robber and killer Fargo and
his other two gang members, but never recovered the
$30,000 gold shipment they robbed from the Bonanza mine
owner Big Tim Hanlon (Thurston Hall).
the race takes place, the escaped convicts steal three
horses in the deserted town, with one being Gene's
horse Champion. The outlaws then head to a nearby
ghost town, once run by mine owner and Bonanza hotel
owner Big Tim. That's the place where Jake hid the
loot while on the run.
Gene has a wheel come off the stagecoach, as racer Matt Kimbrough (Alan Hale Jr.) fixes the race so he can
go that night to the celebration dance with the
waitress Lily (Amelita
promised the race winner a date to the dance. The
deserted Gene walks with a limp three miles to the
nearby ghost town to wait there for Matt to pick him
up the next day, but unexpectedly finds lonely
bespectacled school teacher Ruth Lambert (Nan
Leslie) weirdly communicating with the ghost of
Big Tim in the abandoned Bonanza hotel.
Soon the nearby residing loner prospector, Loco John (Clem
Bevans), shows up
and tells Gene the escaped felons were at his camp
site and had Champion.
Gene becomes romantically
interested in Ruth when she takes off her glasses and
puts on an evening dress once owned by Big Tim's
actress girlfriend, and suddenly looks ravishing.
Gene learns that Ruth has
been coming here the last few Saturdays because she
believes she's communicating with Big Tim's ghost and
he's offering her positive romantic advice. After the
ghost story antics are cleared up through a plot
twist, the dangerous escapees return looking for the
loot and Gene has to battle with them like his dad
REVIEWED ON 11/17/2011 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ