An unusual but enjoyable early John Wayne western
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 05/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I quite enjoyed The Man From Utah (1934), but it is a rather peculiar old western. John Wayne plays John Weston, a stranger who rides into town, saves the local marshal's life in the aftermath of a bank robbery, and soon finds himself entering a rodeo as an undercover detective of sorts. It seems that the rodeo organizer's boys keep winning all the prize money at each event, while outsider entrants who have a chance to win keep getting "snakebit," literally. It's up to The Duke to infiltrate the gang, figure out how they operate, and save the day. There is a good bit of rodeo action, but a significant portion of it comes from stock footage used in a good number of other early films; this is clearly a mark against The Man From Utah, but it is an understandable way to make a cheap movie back in depression-marked 1934. If you haven't seen the footage elsewhere, it won't matter at all to you. What really distinguishes this film is the music. The movie opens with John Wayne riding into town strumming a guitar and singing; I believe this is stock footage of someone other than The Duke, though. What really got me, though, was the insertion at times, usually during a chase scene, of unusually prominent music consisting mainly of organs and horns (at least, that's what it sounded like to me). I suppose this was done to add tension or excitement to important parts of the film, but the sound of quasi-classical music coming from out of nowhere during an old western really struck me as quite odd. The Man From Utah does have its problems, but it still features John Wayne playing the hero as only he can; this and the presence of the always entertaining Gabby Hayes make this an entertaining old western that all fans of The Duke should enjoy."
Quite the Hero
crystal miller | stevenson, wa United States | 04/21/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"John Wayne is quite the hero in this short, old western. An enjoyable video showing him in his beginning years of acting. He even sings in this one."