- SKU: 13711879
- Release Date: 02/24/2004
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The Texas Rangers vs. the United States Cavalry. That is basically the main thrust of the plot in this tuneful, fairly engrossing Gene Autry music Western. That Autry's singing-style is rather more endemic to 1936 than the late 19th century is merely part of the Autry phenomenon. While supposedly aiding Cavalry Colonel Summerall (Robert E. Homans), Indian sign interpretor Duval (Monte Blue) is instead plotting with the Comanches to attack a supply train. Ranger lieutenant Gene Autry and his sidekicks Frog Millhouse (Smiley Burnette) and Rube (Max Terhune) attempt to warn the colonel but are instead jailed on a trumped up charge. The governor of Texas, however, reinstates Autry and Co. and the rangers save the cavalry from a massacre. The plot is, as always, merely a framework for the Autry magic, which includes serenading leading lady Kay Hughes, as the colonel's daughter, and a running gag that has Burnette pursued by an Indian (Chief Thundercloud) with a scalping complex. The only departure from the routine comes at the end when Autry actually marries the colonel's daughter, a union, so to speak, between the Texas Rangers and the United States Cavalry..Ride, Ranger, Ride was filmed at Newhall, California, by former editor Joseph Kane, who included plenty of stock footage to give the film a more sumptuous look than the stingy Republic Pictures would allow. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi, Rovi
The Old Corral
A typical Gene Autry everything-but-the-kitchen-sink musical Western, The Old Corral featured the spectacle of Autry getting robbed at gunpoint by his future rival, Roy Rogers. Rogers, who was then known as Dick Weston, and his fellow highwaymen (the singing group the Sons of the Pioneers) go about their illegal activities like true gentlemen, of course, refusing to rob female passengers Nora Cecil and Hope Manning. The latter, playing Eleanor Spencer, is wanted by both the authorities and the Chicago mob after witnessing gangster Mike Scarlotti (John Bradford) murder rival Tony Pearl (Buddy Roosevelt). En route to Los Angeles by Greyhound bus, she hooks up with small town saloon owner Martin Simms (Cornelius Keefe) who offers her a job singing in his Turquoise City establishment. Both Simms and Turquoise City sheriff Gene Autry, however, recognize Eleanor as the key witness in the Pearl murder case and the former is quick to notify Scarlotti. Arriving to silence the girl for good, the Chicago mobsters are met by Sheriff Autry, Deputy Frog Millhouse (Smiley Burnette), and their erstwhile prisoners, the O'Keefe brothers (Rogers, Bob Nolan, and the Sons of the Pioneers, the brothers having taken a break from harmonizing in their cell). The outcome, of course, is a given and the entire gang is soon behind bars. Milburn Morante, a veteran silent screen comedian who was rarely very funny, is actually amusing this time around as a farmer with car troubles, and Lon Chaney Jr. is well cast as Simms' lumbering henchman. Leading lady Hope Manning later signed with Warner Bros., changed her name to Irene Manning, and starred as Fay Templeton opposite James Cagney's George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). Aside from all the aforementioned pleasures, The Old Corral is probably the only chance to see silent screen cowboy star Buddy Roosevelt playing a tuxedo-clad mobster. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi, Rovi
Yodelin' Kid from Pine Ridge
The prolific Jack Natteford wrote this unusual Gene Autry Western -- or, to be accurate, "Eastern" -- which reportedly suffered cuts after censors found it too violent. Gene, as usual, plays Gene Autry, this time the son of a Georgian cattleman (Charles Middleton) waging a war against the areas "turpentiners," harvesters of pine tree sap. Disowned by his father after siding with the turpentiners, Gene takes up with Colonel Millhouse's (Smiley Burnette) traveling Wild West Show. The show returns to Pine Ridge two years later and Gene discovers that a gang of rustlers is now using the turpentiners as a cover for their crimes. While Gene is occupied with the rustlers, the Wild West Show audience grow restless and Millhouse sends in an imposter (Art Mix), who mimes to a recording of Autry's voice. The leader of the rustlers, Len Parker (LeRoy Mason), takes this opportunity to get rid of his enemy and has the imposter killed. The real Gene, meanwhile, finds his father murdered by what appears to be someone connected by the leader of the turpentiners, Bayliss Baynum (Russell Simpson), and when Autry Sr. is likewise found slain, Gene becomes the natural suspect. The turpentiners demand swift justice, but Gene manages to track down the real culprit with the aid of Baynum's daughter, Milly (Betty Bronson), and the Wild West Show performers. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi, Rovi
Public Cowboy No. 1
In this 20th-century western, hero Gene Autry uses his old-fashioned horse and six-shooter to foil the plans of cattle rustlers who ply their trade via airplanes, refrigerated trucks and shortwave radios. Songs include: "The West Ain't What It Used to Be?", "I Picked up the Trail When I Found You", "Heebie, Jeebie Blues" (sung by Smiley Burnette) and "Defective Detective from Brooklyn" (also by Burnette). ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi, Rovi
Gene Autry is the star (but not the title character) of Oh, Susanna!, a Republic musical western. What plot there is consists of Autry running afoul of masked robbers. Thrown from a speeding train, Autry is rescued by comedy relief Smiley Burnette and grizzled Earle Hodgins. Autry takes a few more singing breaks, then brings the robbers to justice. A 1951 William Elliott western, also titled Oh, Susanna! is not a remake. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi
The Old Barn Dance
An enjoyably silly Gene Autry romp, this music Western had an early ecological message: Horse-power instead of tractors. Or at least tractors manufactured by greedy Thornton Farming Equipment. Having lost his horse-trading business to Thornton (Ivan Miller), Autry signs with Helen Valkis' local Grainville radio station. But unbeknownst to the singer, the program is sponsored by none other than Thornton, and when the farmers cannot live up to the greedy manufacturer's finance plan, they blame Autry. In typical Autry style, Autry not only bests Thornton on the business front, but also receives more attention at the local fair than the Thornton-sponsored Big City entertainment. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi, Rovi
Though it bears the same title as an earlier Gene Autry western, Roy Rogers' Man From Music Mountain isn't a remake. Rogers is appropriately cast as a cowboy who's hit it big as a radio singing star. Returning to his hometown for a special remote broadcast, Roy finds himself in the middle of a deadly feud. Nothing will be settled so long as cattleman Victor Marsh (Paul Kelly) resorts to villainy to achieve his goals. Fortunately, the newly deputized Roy figures out a way to straighten out the mess without undue bloodshed. Rogers' leading lady this time out is the multitalented Ruth Terry, who was in just about every other Republic B-picture of the mid-1940s. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi
Rim of the Canyon
Gene Autry plays a dual role in the above-average Columbia oater Rim of the Canyon. Our hero plays "himself" and his own father, a famed sheriff. Twenty years ago, Autry Sr. threw a trio of outlaws (Walter Sande, Jock Mahoney and Francis McDonald) into jail for stealing a large sum of money. When the crooks escape and head for the hidden loot, it's up to Autry Jr. to track them down. Unlike previous Columbia Autrys, Rim of the Canyon downplays the musical element in favor of fast, sometimes violent action. Even Autry's faithful horse Champion gets in on the act by trampling one of the crooks. Autry's leading lady this time out is Nan Leslie, later a busy TV character actress; another future TV favorite, Alan Hale Jr., essays a supporting role. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi