|WOMAN OF THE TOWN (director: George Archainbaud; screenwriters: story by Norman Houston/Æneas MacKenzie; cinematographer: Russell Harlan; editor: Carrol Lewis; music: Miklós Rózsa; cast: Claire Trevor (Dora Hand), Albert Dekker (Bat Masterson), Barry Sullivan (King Kennedy), Henry Hull (Inky Wilkinson), Marion Martin (Daisy Davenport), Porter Hall (Mayor Dog Killey), Percy Kilbride (Rev. Samuel Small), Beryl Wallace (Louella Parsons), Clem Bevans (Buffalo Burns), Charlie Foy (Eddie Foy Jr.), Wade Crosby (Crockett), George Cleveland (Judge Blackburn), Russell Hicks (Publisher of the Kansas City Clarion), Marlene Mains (Annie Logan), Arthur Hohl (Robert Wright), Herb Rawlinson (Doc Sears); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harry Sherman; United American Video Corp; 1943)|
|"A good cast makes it worth
watching despite all the sentimentality."
by Dennis Schwartz
filmmaker George Archainbaud ("Hopalong
Cassidy"/"The Range Rider"/"The Adventures of Jim
Bowie") does well directing this well-produced b/w
Western. Paramount palmed the film over to United
Artists due to its busy schedule, and the studio made
it look Paramount-like first-class. It's based on the
story by Norman Houston and is written by Æneas MacKenzie.
A good cast makes it worth watching despite all the
film opens in NYC in 1919, where the elderly Bat
Masterston (Albert Dekker) is the editor
of the NY Telegraph. Asked by a gun collector for his
guns when he was the legendary marshal of Dodge City
fifty years ago, Bat recalls those days and why he
buried them in Boot Hill. The young Bat, with a
reputation as an Indian fighter, applies for a
reporter's job on the Daily Globe, the newspaper of
Dodge City that's published by straight-talker Inky
Wilkinson (Henry Hull), but a cowboy
rowdy guns down the frail marshal in the saloon and
Bat guns down the killer. Though aspiring to work for
the newspaper, the saloon owner/mayor, Dog Killey (Porter
Hall), hires Bat on the spot as marshal and
orders him to clean up the town for the decent folks
and church crowd led by the cautious Reverend Small (Percy
Kilbride). Bat does just that, but falls for
newly arrived classy saloon singer, with a heart of
gold, Dora Hand (Claire Trevor). But when the lawman
won't give up his 'killing' job for newspaper work,
Dora turns to rival big-time Texas rancher bad boy
King Kennedy (Barry Sullivan) as her love interest
even though she loves the marshal.
conflicted Bat, apologetic to his love interest for
the forceful way he enforces the law, chases both his
news writer dream and his dream girl, but in the
climax a jealous King Kennedy returns to town with his
cowhands and he plans to shoot up the town that
humiliated him with an overnight jail sentence and to
take the troubled Dora away with him. It results in
tragic consequences and allows the honorable
gun-slinging marshal to follow his newspaper dream but
without his deceased lover.
The Western slightly veers from the old-fashioned formula, but probably not enough to matter that much for true Western fans.
REVIEWED ON 7/26/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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