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Roy Rogers [2 Discs] [DVD]
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Overview

Special Features

  • Digitally mastered
  • Interactive menus
  • Scene index
  • Digitally enhanced audio 5.1

Synopsis

Young Bill Hickok
This Roy Rogers vehicle is a followup (though not a sequel) to 1940's Young Buffalo Bill. Definitely a "premature anti-fascist", singing frontiersman Bill Hickok (Roy Rogers) tries to thwart the takeover of West by foreign invaders. John Miljan is frontier fuhrer Nicholas Tower, who hires a gang of storm troopers-er, henchmen-to do his dirty work. Southern belle Louise Mason (Jacqueline Wells) initially aligns herself with Tower because he is ostensibly anti-Damyankee, but she finally turns against him when she realizes what he's up to. Calamity Jane also appears in the person of comic actress Sally Payne, while Gabby Hayes shows up as a character named-but of course-Gabby. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Eyes of Texas
Few Roy Rogers westerns were as gratuitously violent as the 1948 release Eyes of Texas. This time, Rogers' principal antagonist is a woman lawyer named Hattie Waters (Nana Bryant). With a battalion of homicidal henchmen at her beck and call, Hattie attempts to grab up all the valuable ranch property in the territory by scaring off -- or killing off -- her competition. Hero Rogers doesn't buy the official party line that the killings have been perpetrated by wolves, especially after he befriends and tames one of the huge beasts, so he divides his time between singing his usual quota of songs and bringing the baddies to justice. So convincing was Nana Bryant's performance as the despicable Hattie Waters, that the actress' daughter-in-law stubbornly refused to watch Eyes of Texas whenever it popped up on TV in later years. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Under Nevada Skies
Republic's Under Nevada Skies blends equal parts music and action, resulting in a treat for fans of both. Roy Rogers stars as a wandering cavalier in search of valuable pitchblende deposits. Assisting Roy in his quest is "Queen of the West" Dale Evans and grizzled, dentally challenged Gabby Hayes. In this one, the Indians are the "good guys," chasing down a band of outlaws who've stolen a crucial map. Under Nevada Skies was the last collaboration between star Roy Rogers and director Frank McDonald; thereafter, the man in charge of the Rogers unit was actionmeister William Witney. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Roll on Texas Moon
Roll on Texas Moon was the first of 26 Roy Rogers vehicles directed by fast-action specialist William Witney. The plot concerns a deadly feud between cattle ranchers and sheepherders, with the villains playing both ends down the middle. Working on behalf of the cattlemen, Rogers tries to avoid an all-out range war, finding time to champion the cause of gorgeous sheep rancher Jill Delaney (Dale Evans). Dennis Hoey, best known for his portrayals of the thick-witted Lestrade in Universal's "Sherlock Holmes" series, is rather surprisingly cast as the main heavy. While the musical content of Roll on Texas Moon is as omniprescent as ever, the "thrill" content is considerably heightened by the expert contributions of William Witney. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Bells of Rosarita
The standard Roy Rogers musical western Bells of Rosarita is enlivened by a cute last-reel gimmick. Rogers is appropriately cast as a cowboy star who invariably rescues the heroine from the villain in his movie vehicles. But when Sue Farnum (Dale Evans) is cheated out of her inheritance by the duplicitous business partner (Grant Withers) of her deceased father, Roy finds out with startling suddeness that Real Life isn't like the movies. In order to rescue this genuine damsel in distress, Rogers enlists the aid of his fellow Republic sagebrush stars Wild Bill Elliot, Allan Lane, Don "Red" Barry, Robert Livingston, and Sunset Carson-each astride his own "celebrity" horse. So well-received was the climactic "hero rally" in Bells of Rosarita that the device was repeated again and again by Republic, most memorably in the 1950 Rogers starrer Trail of Robin Hood. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Grand Canyon Trail
Released in Republic Pictures' low-budget Trucolor and filmed at the majestic location of the title, Grand Canyon Trail stars Roy Rogers is a rancher going up against a crooked mining engineer played by fellow Western star Robert Livingston. The latter, Bill Regan, has conned eastern silver magnate J. Malcolm Vanderpool (Charles Coleman) into believing that his Sintown mine is worthless. But Vanderpool's pretty secretary, Carol Martin (Jane Frazee), is suspicious and travels to the ghost town masquerading as the boss' daughter. Rancher Rogers and his hired hands -- Foy Willing & the Riders of the Purple Sage in their first Rogers Western -- have all invested in the mine, courtesy of hayseed blacksmith "Cookie" Bullfincher (Andy Devine), and are doing a bit of digging themselves. The only person with knowledge of the location of the mine, elderly stage driver Ed Carruthers (Emmett Lynn), is kidnapped by the gang and later murdered. Carol, whom Roy accuses of being in cahoots with the villains, is kept captive in a cabin during a rainstorm and when Mike Delsing (Ken Terrell), one of Regan's men, turns up, she mistakenly believes he has come to rescue her and hits Roy over the head with a vase. Realizing her error, Carol later aids Roy and the Riders capture the gang and their leader, Regan, whom she dispatches with a well-appointed rock. In between the action, Roy and the Riders perform "Everything's Going My Way," by Foy Willing and "Grand Canyon Trail" and "Colorado Joe" by Jack Elliott. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Hands Across the Border
There's practically no western action in Hands Across the Border, but there's music aplenty. Roy Rogers stars as a wandering cavalier (named "Roy Rogers", naturally), who comes to the aid of entertainer Kim Adams (Ruth Terry). The daughter of a rancher, Kim does her patriotic bit by raising prize horses for the Army. But villainous Brock Danvers (Onslow Stevens) does his best to keep Kim's stock from reaching the Army, and that's when Rogers comes to the rescue. The final two reels of Hands Across the Border is a virtual nonstop parade of musical numbers by the likes of Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington, and featuring Rogers, Ruth Terry, Janet Martin and that zany European comedy trio The Wiere Brothers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Billy the Kid Returns
Roy Rogers fans were in for a shock in the opening scenes of Billy the Kid Returns--for there was Rogers, playing the title character, being gunned down in the dark by sheriff Pat Garrett! Within a few minutes, however, things were explained satisfactorally when Rogers showed up again as a young cowpoke who bears a striking resemblance to the late Billy. Mistaken for the the notorious outlaw, Rogers finally clears himself by bringing villains Morgansson (Morgan Wallace) and Matson (Fred Kohler Sr.) to justice. The musical numbers are strategically placed throughout the film as tension-breakers during the more hair-raising moments. Lynne Roberts, who briefly changed her name to Mary Hart before reverting to Lynne Roberts again, made the first of several appearances opposite "The King of the Cowboys". ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Heldorado
In the tradition of several of the Gene Autry vehicles of the 1930s, Roy Rogers' Helldorado is built around a real-life frontier celebration. In this instance, the story is set against the backdrop of Las Vegas' annual "Heldorado Week", at which time the Old West came to life in the form of costumed revellers, equine parades and pre-rehearsed stagecoach holdups and bank robberies. Arriving in Las Vegas to participate in the festivities, Roy Rogers ends up crossing six-guns with a gang of gamblers who've been delinquent in their income tax. Gee, if Roy had stuck around a bit longer, he could have shot it out with Bugsy Siegel (or Bugsy's Godfather counterpart Moe Green!) Rogers' perennial costar (and later wife) Dale Evans costars as a female sleuth who gets in over her head when she tries to capture the gamblers herself. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

West of the Badlands
This Roy Rogers vehicle was based on a Zane Grey story, previous filmed twice in the silent and early-talkie era. Rogers stars as young doctor Steve Kells, who after leaving New York in disgrace (it wasn't his fault) takes up residence in Idaho territory. Here he redeems himself by taking on a deadly outlaw gang, headed by a surly gent named Gulden (Joe Sawyer). Just so the audience knows that this is a "typical" Rogers picture despite its pedigree, the producers cast Gabby Hayes as Steve's sidekick Honest John Whittaker. Carol Hughes, who'd recently played Dale Arden in the third "Flash Gordon" serial, is Rogers' leading lady in this one. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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