|SUNSET SERENADE (director/writer: Joe Kane; screenwriter: Earl Felton/story by Robert Yost; cinematographer: Bud Thackery; editor: Arthur Roberts; music: Morton Scott; cast: Roy Rogers (Himself), Gabby Hayes (Gabby), Helen Parrish (Sylvia Clark), JoanWoodbury (Vera Martin), Onslow Stevens (Gregg Jackson), Frank M. Thomas (Clifford Sheldon), Jack Kirk (Sheriff), Roy Barcroft (Bart, henchman), Bob Nolan (Bob), The Sons of the Pioneers (Themselves); Runtime: 58; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Joe Kane; Mill Creek Entertainment; 1942)|
pleasing performance by Rogers."
by Dennis Schwartz
Kane ("Ride the Man Down"/"Fair Wind to
Java"/"The Road to Denver") directs with typical
efficiency this formulaic Roy Rogers singing cowboy
venture. It's based on a story by Robert Yost
and a screenplay by Earl Felton. The Republic
western offers a simplistic plot, filled with more
holes than Swiss cheese, and offers a pleasing
performance by Rogers.
rancher Bagley dies he leaves the ranch to an eastern
nephew infant, cared for by the guardian Sylvia Clark
(Helen Parrish), instead of his housekeeper Vera Martin (JoanWoodbury). She's livid he left
nothing for her in his will, as promised. Neighbor
rancher Gregg Jackson (Onslow Stevens) wants to buy the ranch on
the cheap and schemes with Vera to make the ranch
rundown, rustle the cattle and builds a dam atop
nearby Grace Canyon to dry up the creek so the Bagley
cattle can't get water.
Roy, his sidekick Gabby and
the cowhands called the Sons of the Pioneers escort
Sylvia to the Bagley ranch when her car is forced off
the road. When Roy witnesses how Jackson and Martin
are scheming to buy the ranch at a very low price from
the inexperienced guardian and then have to fight off
Jackson's men from rustling her herd, he advises her
not to sell and let him investigate what smells rotten
about the offer. Roy soon discovers the evil pair are
willing to do anything to get the ranch, even commit
murder and thereby Roy stays on to work for Sylvia
until he thwarts their plans to drive off the new
owner from his ranch.
So many things about the
plot don't add up or make sense, but as a lightweight
minor western it's an easy one to forgive for being so
the music is solid old-fashioned country, there are a
couple of worthy shoot-outs on the range and Rogers'
pleasant screen presence as a helper of the
unfortunate gives the film an almost religious glow.
REVIEWED ON 8/30/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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