- SKU: 18205719
- Release Date: 09/29/2009
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Directed by former film editor S. Roy Luby, this above-average mystery-western starred Johnny Mack Brown as Billy Donovan, a sharpshooter turned ammunitions expert coming to the aid of Jean Haloran (Sheila Mannors aka Sheila Bromley), whose ranch is the target of the "Desert Phantom," a masked killer. During his investigation of several mysterious deaths attributed to the "phantom," Billy comes across a wide range of suspects that includes Salizar (Ted Adams) a Mexican bandit trying to blackmail Jean into marrying him; Tom Jackson (Karl Hackett), Jean's somnambulistic stepfather; and Jim Day (Hal Price), a greedy neighbor. Literally stumbling over a hidden gold mine along the way, Billy manages to unmask the killer and save the girl from the usual fate worse than death. Desert Phantom was one of the last films distributed by A.W. Hackel's low-budget Supreme Pictures. Beginning with Undercover Man (1936), the Hackel/Brown series would be handled by Republic Pictures. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi
This above-average Johnny Mack Brown Western from A.W. Hackel's low-budget Supreme Pictures features the bizarre spectacle of an infant contentedly sucking on the barrel of Mack Brown's gun. The scene is played for warm-hearted comedy with Mack Brown and two wizened gunslingers (Frank Campeau and John Beck) all beaming at the clever toddler. The three gunfighters are hired by Sheriff Horace Murphy and cattle rancher Lloyd Ingraham to drive off the local homesteaders, but when they miss a rendezvous due to their baby-sitting endeavors, Roger Gray and his gang are deputized instead. Gray and company, however, robs both the sheriff and Ingraham before turning their attention toward pretty Beth Marion, the baby's presumed mother. Mack Brown, who reveals himself to be a Texas Ranger in disguise, manages to clear up the mess, arrest the guilty and make the valley safe for the homesteaders. Miss Marion on her part reveals herself to be the baby's aunt and a relieved Mack Brown promises to become a steady caller. Despite a rather complicated plot, Everyman's Law is engrossing most of the way and Mack Brown works well with the dour-looking Campeau and Beck. A scene where the three engage in a bit of target practicing on Miss Marion's laundry is played to the hilt and the entire baby-sitting sequence is an eye-opener, to say the least. The scruffy-looking Gray makes a particularly fiendish villain in his B-Western debut and his climactic fight with Mack Brown is well-staged by director Albert Ray. Johnny Mack Brown was to make 16 low-budget but slightly off-beat Westerns for Supreme Pictures 1935-1937 before moving on to Universal. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi
Guns in the Dark
Acting upon the belief that he accidentally murdered his best pal, a gunman swears never to draw his weapon again. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
An operative from the Wells Fargo company goes undercover to trap a crooked sheriff and his equally nefarious hirelings in this standard B-Western from A.W. Hackel's low-budget Supreme Pictures Corp. Former gridiron star (and onetime leading man to Greta Garbo!) Johnny Mack Brown plays Steve McLain, the witness to a stage holdup. Investigating, Steve learns that crooked Sheriff Pegg (Horace Murphy) is in cahoots with the local saloon proprietor Ace Pringle (Ted Adams). Their nefarious scheme: to rob the Wells Fargo, for whom, unbeknownst to the sheriff, Steve is working . In an effort to outsmart the criminals, Steve is ambushed by a couple of Pringle's henchmen and left to drown in the river. Our hero, however, is rescued in the nick of time by lovely Linda Forbes (Suzanne Kaaren) and survives to put a permanent halt to Sheriff Pegg's criminal activities. Undercover Man was the first of Hackel's Mack Brown westerns to be distributed by newcomer Republic Pictures. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi
In his second Western for Poverty Row producer A.W. Hackel, former football star Johnny Mack Brown goes in search of both his long-lost father and foster-sister. Mistakenly believing that they murdered his young son Johnny, John Wellington (William Farnum) kills three ruffians and becomes a wanted man. Young Johnny (Barry Downing), who had survived the attack, is instead raised by rich Sir George Thorne (Lloyd Ingraham). The latter's old-fashioned ideas causes him to lose both his son-in-law, Gentry Winters (Frank Ball), and young granddaughter, Gale. In his search for the missing girl, Johnny ( now Mack Brown) learns that Winters has been killed by Trent (Earl Dwire), an outlaw whose advances Gale (Beth Marion) had spurned. Aiding Johnny in his quest to capture Trent is one Rand who, it turns out, is none other than the missing John Wellington. Although initially opposed to Johnny's courting of Gale, Wellington/Rand changes his mind in due time and heroically takes a bullet meant for his son. After finishing off the murderous Trent in a final confrontation, Johnny can begin to plan a more peaceful future with Gale. According to contemporary reports, Between Men was filmed in six days at Lone Pine, CA. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Johnny Mack Brown - Billy Donovan
- Ted Adams - Salizar
- Karl Hackett - Tom Jackson
- Hal Price - Jim Day
- Nelson McDowell - Doc Simpson