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Melody Ranch
Melody Ranch
Actors: Gene Autry, Jimmy Durante, Ann Miller, Barton MacLane, Barbara Jo Allen
Genres: Westerns, Special Interests
NR     2003     1hr 24min

Lawlessness runs rampant in Gene's hometown of Torpedo until the movie and radio cowboy returns as Honorary Sheriff for a Frontier Days celebration and cleans up the town! Featuring Jimmy Durante, Ann Miller (On the Town...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Gene Autry, Jimmy Durante, Ann Miller, Barton MacLane, Barbara Jo Allen
Genres: Westerns, Special Interests
Sub-Genres: Westerns, Child Safety & First Aid
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 05/20/2003
Original Release Date: 11/15/1940
Theatrical Release Date: 11/15/1940
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 24min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Autry Musical
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This movie was a classic western musical. It had the talents of lovely Ann Miller, famous dancer, the fabulous comedy of Jimmy Durante and Gabby Hayes and of course the sweet voice of young Mary Lee. Gene, a radio star, returns to his home town of Torpedo as honorary sheriff for a day and winds up running for a permanent place as sheriff. The bad guys were ruling the town and Gene had to stop them. This was classed as a musical because of the many songs and dance routines, but it was also a classical Autry action movie as only he could make..If you have never been an Autry Fan or seen any of his movies this is the one to start with....Strangly enough, this is the very one that made this Autry collector fall in love with the life and legacy of Gene Autry and I have been collecting since that time....I highly recommend this movie!!!Give it a try and you'll become a fan of America Greatest Singing Cowboy!!"
Autry's unique westerns
Wayne Engle | Madison, IN United States | 09/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Like many of Autry's pictures, this one's different from your average run of B-westerns, all right, and that's why some film reviewers over the years have acted as if Gene Autry's movies gave them the toothache. But I believe his pictures have to be considered on their own merits, not according to some rigid formula, and on that basis I found this one funny, tuneful, with some excellent action, some good romantic scenes and beautiful cinematography, and a plot that, while it meanders a little, is nonetheless interesting and reasonably believable.

Radio singing cowboy Gene Autry returns to his hometown Torpedo to be proclaimed Honorary Sheriff. He finds that three brothers, bullies he remembers from his childhood, run the community, and he undertakes to bring real law, order and justice to his hometown.

Smiley Burnette is absent from this 1940 flick (that year was the peak of Gene's popularity), and in his place are Jimmy Durante and George "Gabby" Hayes, two of Hollywood's premier "characters" of their era. Durante is hilarious, although occasionally "over the top," and Hayes is his usual cantankerous but capable self. Comedy actress "Vera Vague" adds to the humor as Durante's love interest.

Autry's encounter with the three bullying brothers during the film has its basis in a real incident from his childhood. When in grade school Gene Autry was often chased home by a group of older, bigger boys who didn't like him; his sisters would slam the front gate shut behind him to keep them from catching Gene. His father, witnessing this one day, proclaimed, "No son of mine is going to hide behind his sisters' skirts!" The next day, Autry Sr. was at the gate when his son came racing home, the bullies on his heels. He forced Gene to confront the bigger boys, who beat him bloody. But it is believed that Gene Autry learned a lesson from the incident, about standing up for oneself.

The DVDs recently released of the restored, complete versions of Autry's movies are a godsend to those of us who had seen the earlier ones only on TV "western" shows beginning in the 1950s. Those shows often were of battered prints that were then further mutilated to make them fit the program's time limitations. I've seen scenes in these DVDs, especially this one, that I never knew existed.

This is well worth watching, if you're an Autry fan, or are broadminded enough to view his movies for what they were and are: Different and unorthodox by B-western standards -- but great entertainment.

"Gene Autry B-Western Series ... Melody Ranch (1940) ... Ima
J. Lovins | Missouri-USA | 08/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Republic Pictures present "MELODY RANCH" (November 11, 1940) (84 mins/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- relive those thrilling days when the "First Singing Cowboy" Gene Autry took us down the dusty trails with hard riding and straight shooting hitting the bull's eye with excitement every time --- the Gene Autry series of B-Westerns were a staple of Saturday matinees in the 1930s and 1940s --- The Following Segments are from the "Melody Ranch Theater", which originally aired on the Nashville Network in 1987 --- Hosted by Gene and longtime sidekick Pat Buttram the program showcased many of Gene's classic motion pictures and featured personal anecdotes about how the films were made --- Information on costars and significant happenings in Gene's personal life and career. --- don't miss any of the Singing Cowboy's features loaded with action and songs that will leave you wanting more of Gene Autry's B-Western Adventures --- The sale of this DVD will further the educational and cultural mission of the renowned "Autry National Center in Los Angeles".

Under Joseph Santley (Director), Sol C. Siegel (Producer), Ray Golden (Screenwriter), Frederick Hugh Herbert (Screenwriter), Jack Moffitt (Screenwriter), John C. Moffitt (Screenwriter), Joseph H. August (Cinematographer), Raoul Kraushaar (Musical Direction/Supervision), Jule Styne (Composer (Music Score), Murray Seldeen (Editor), Adele Palmer (Costume Designer) - - - - - - our story line opens with Gene Autry who has a radio show loaded with singing and drama each week --- Gene's co-star, Ann Miller, thinks he's less than sophisticated and that she's too good for him and the show --- His hometown wants him to come back as honorary sheriff during a special celebration --- While there he tangles with three brothers who run the town headed by Barton MacLane. And Gene develops a love interest toward Ann --- Then there is Jimmy Durante who was in a class by himself and a great scene stealer of all time --- and Gabby Hayes who's rode with just about every hero gives a fine performance --- the films title was based on Gene's popular new radio program to boost Gene into first run theaters --- stunt work by Yakima Canutt, Joe Yrigoyen (double for Gene Autry) and Wally West - - - - - - some wonderful tunes "MELODY RANCH" (Gene Autry), "RODEO ROSE" (Gene Autry), "WELCOME TO YOU" (Mary Lee and Children), "TORPEDO JOE" (Mary Lee), "WE NEVER DREAM THE SAME DREAM TWICE" (Gene Autry and Ann Miller), "MY GAL SAL" (Ann Miller), "BACK TO THE CITY AGAIN" (Parody of Back In The Saddle) (Joseph Sawyer and Horace MacMahon), "THE CALL OF THE CANYON" (Gene Autry), "WHAT ARE COWBOYS MADE OF" (Joseph Sawyer and Horace MacMahon), "VOTE FOR AUTRY" (Jimmy Durante and Mary Lee), "MELODY RANCH" (Gene Autry and Ann Miller) - - - - - - some Autry fun facts, Gene had 1,000 square feet of closet space in his North Hollywood home.

the cast includes
Gene Autry ... Gene Autry
Jimmy Durante ... Cornelius J. Courtney
Ann Miller ... Julie Shelton
Barton MacLane ... Mark Wildhack
Barbara Jo Allen ... Veronica Whipple
George 'Gabby' Hayes ... Pop Laramie
Jerome Cowan ... Tommy Summerville
Mary Lee ... Penny Curtis
Joe Sawyer ... Jasper Wildhack
Horace McMahon ... Bud Wildhack
Clarence Wilson ... Judge Henderson
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys ... Musicians
George Chesebro ... Henchman
Edmund Cobb ... Autry Voter
Spade Cooley ... Fiddle Player
Lloyd Ingraham ... Ed - Bartender
Jack Ingram ... Radio Actor with Loco
Jack Kirk ... Man on Bus
Tom London ... Henchman Joe #2
John Merton ... Henchman
Art Mix ... Rancher
Horace Murphy ... Loco - Cowboy Radio Actor
Al Stricklin ... Member of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys
Ray Teal ... Henchman
Wally West ... Townsman
Slim Whitaker ... Rancher
Joe Yrigoyen ... Joe #1 - Henchman

1. Gene Autry
Date of Birth: 29 September 1907 - Near Tioga, Texas
Date of Death: 2 October 1998 - Studio City, Los Angeles, California

Special footnote, Orvon Gene Autry was an American performer who gained fame as The Singing Cowboy on the radio, in movies and on television --- Discovered by film producer Nat Levine in 1934, he and Burnette made their film debut for Mascot Pictures Corp. "In Old Santa Fe" as part of a singing cowboy quartet; he was then given the starring role by Levine in 1935 in the 12-part serial "The Phantom Empire" --- Shortly thereafter, Mascot was absorbed by the formation of Republic Pictures Corp. and Autry went along to make a further 44 films up to 1940, all B westerns in which he played under his own name, rode his horse Champion, had Burnette as his regular sidekick and had many opportunities to sing in each film --- Autry became the top Western star at the box-office by 1937, reaching his national peak of popularity from 1940 to 1942. His Gene Autry Flying "A" Ranch Rodeo show debuted in 1940 --- Gene Autry is the only celebrity to have five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one in each of the five categories maintained by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce --- Radio, Films, Recordings, Television and Live Theater.

2. Smiley Burnette (aka: Lester Alvin Burnette)
Date of Birth: 18 March 1911 - Summum, Illinois
Date of Death: 16 February 1967 - Encino, California

Second special footnote, Lester Alvin (Smiley) Burnette an American singer-songwriter who could play as many as 100 different musical instruments, was a successful comedy actor in Western films over three decades --- The popularity of Burnette's Frog Millhouse character, with his trademark floppy black hat, was such that when Autry left for World War II service he did sidekicks duties with Eddie Dew, Sunset Carson and Bob Livingston, plus nine other films with Roy Rogers. After leaving Republic Pictures in 1944, Burnette became the sidekick to Charles Starrett at Columbia Pictures in the long Durango Kid series. Starrett starred in the series from 1944 until 1952, and that pairing resulted in more than 50 films. After the Starrett series was over, Burnette joined Autry for his final six films, all released by Columbia Pictures in 1953.

1. Reminiscing with Gene Autry and Pat Buttram at the "Melody Ranch Theater"
2. "Don't Touch That Dial", Gene Autry is on the air - excerpts from the Original "Melody Ranch Radio Show"
3. Production and Publicity Stills
4. Horseplay
5. Poster and lobby Card Art
6. Trivia and Movie Facts
7. Original Press Kit Material

Check out a new book from Empire Publishing - "GENE AUTRY WESTERNS" (Hardcover) - by author Boyd Magers, like no other book on Gene Autry --- all of Gene's Mascot, Republic and Columbia westerns included, as well as his half-hour TV Episodes --- each segment contains the release date on each film ... major production credits ... complete cast (including character played) ... all songs included, songwriter and who performed them in the film ... running time of each film ... dates of the filming ... bios on the cast and major players (Smiley, Pat Buttram, Cass County Boys, Herbert J. Yates, directors, leading ladies, songwriters and various heavies, etc.) ... locations that were used ... budgets and negative cost ... stunt people involved ... analysis and synopsis on each film ... notes and comments (including film and cast background info, salaries paid, working titles, etc) ... comments from Gene and many other cast members on each film ... theater exhibitors comments at the time of the films release ...this tribute was written from the heart and it shows.

Hats off and thanks to Les Adams (collector/guideslines for character identification), Chuck Anderson (Webmaster: The Old Corral/B-Westerns.Com), Boyd Magers (Western Clippings), Bobby J. Copeland (author of "Trail Talk"), Rhonda Lemons (Empire Publishing Inc), Bob Nareau (author of "The Real Bob Steele") and Trevor Scott (Down Under DVD Com) as they have rekindled my interest once again for Film Noir, B-Westerns and Serials --- looking forward to more high quality releases from the vintage serial era of the '20s, '30s & '40s and B-Westerns ... order your copy now from Amazon where there are plenty of copies available on DVD --- stay tuned once again for top notch action mixed with deadly adventure --- if you enjoyed this title, why not check out Image Entertainment where they are experts in releasing B-Westerns --- all my heroes have been cowboys!

Total Time: 84 min on DVD ~ Image Video #3994 ~ (5/20/2003)"