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Saturday, March 19, 2011


This light-hearted Western was the tipping point for Errol Flynn @ Warners. But it made so much money, no one noticed at the time. Flynn plays a wronged man who hitches a ride with Music Hall performer Alexis Smith into San Antonio where a showdown looms with the real cattle rustlers. It’s not without action & shoot-outs, but this is Western-lite, a colorful lark, with plenty of music & comedy in the mix. But director David Butler, still new on the lot after a run of Bob Hope & Bing Crosby pics, is well off his game. The musical comedy tone often fights against the drama and the comic routines are mighty strained. (Florence Bates & S. Z. Sakall in labored shtick.) And what lousy editing all thru the pic, as if Butler hasn’t turned in the right angles. (Not helped here by the pudding-rich TechniColor on the current DVD edition which shows noticeable registration problems.) Flynn’s glory days, when Michael Curtiz & Raoul Walsh called the shots, are suddenly over. Now, hacks & journeyman like Butler, Vincent Sherman & Peter Godfrey are in charge as Flynn loses ground with every new release.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: She’s a good deal taller, but Alexis Smith really is a ringer for Jodie Foster in some shots. Wonder if Jodie used her as a model when she tried playing Western dress-up in MAVERICK/’94.

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