Excellent Critics' Choice Randolph Scott western-double-feat
Robert J. Evered | 01/27/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The two black and white westerns featured here are both excellent western fare although "Abilene Town" is the main event here and is without doubt the better film, although perfectly viewable it is let down by a less than perfect transfer to DVD (Star rating reduced accordingly). Strangely enough although eleven years older and somewhat dated "The Fighting Westerner" transfer to DVD is excellent! All well worth the low asking price from Amazon.
ABILENE TOWN (1946 - 89 Minutes).
Based on the novel "Trail Town" by Ernest Haycox and well scripted by Harold Shumate with some excellent one-liners - The story is set in Kansas five years after the end of the Civil War. Abilene is the town at the end of the Chisholm Trail and depicts the struggle between cattlemen and homesteaders in between the two is upright town marshal Dan Mitchell (Randolph Scott) who is trying to calm down the homesteaders led by a head-strong Henry Dreiser (Lloyd Bridges) whilst routing out the corrupt cattlemen. Vying for the marshal's attention is dance hall queen Rita (Ann Dvorak) and general store keeper Ed Balder's (Howard Freeman) daughter Sherry (Rhonda Fleming). Jet Younger (Jack Lampart) is wanted for a train robbery and an out-of-town murder; Dan sets off to capture him with county sheriff "Bravo" Trimble (Edgar Buchanan). Later the homesteaders fence off the cattle trail, leading to the cattlemen stampeding the cattle across the homesteaders land resulting in several deaths. Culminating in both sides facing each other across the streets of Abilene.
Directed by Edward L. Marin with some nice Fordian touches like the hymn singing in the church with the 23-year old Rhonda Fleming in fine voice, also the haunting strains of `Glory Glory Hallelujah' at the homesteaders camp. Marin also seemed to have Scott alternately (according to his attire) to look like Gary Cooper or William S. Hart. On its release in January '46, critics of the day reported that "Scott showed his age (47) also he looked tired and in need of a rest" Indeed little or no rest lay ahead for him as over the next 15 years discounting a cameo appearance he made another 40 films 38 of them westerns; half-a-dozen of them minor-masterpieces and culminating in Sam Peckinpah's elegiac RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY (1962).
THE FIGHTING WESTERNER (1935 - 70 Minutes).
Formerly known as "Rocky Mountain Mystery" Based on a Zane Grey story "Golden Dreams" this charming early Randolph Scott contemporary western is, more or less a semi-comic murder mystery set in the West. Mining engineer Larry Sutton (Randolph Scott) teams up with a cantankerous Deputy Sheriff "Tex" Murdock (Charles "Chic" Sale) to solve a series of murders in a Nevadan Radium Mine. James Ballard (George Marion Sr.) has hired Sutton for his mining expertise on arrival at the mine he is fired on by Rita Ballard (Ann Sheridan). From here on in the story moves at a fast pace as Sutton and Co try to solve the Rocky Mountain mystery.
Directed by Charles Barton. Scott is perfectly at home in the title role. The love interest is supplied by 20 year-old former Beauty Queen Ann Sheridan in only her second major role. Charles "Chic" Sale (1885 - 1937) played "Ben Gunn" in the 1934 version of TREASURE ISLAND. Halliwell's Film Guide records: Mrs. Leslie Carter (a rare screen appearance, and just as well to judge from her performance) plays Mrs Borg the housekeeper.
Very Pleased and pleasantly surprised!.
Dr. John G. Eoll | Amesbury, MA USA | 01/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I had never seen these two Randolph Scott westerns before, and boy I was bowled over by Ann Dvorak's dancehall scene. Wow where have I been! Actually wrong generation. I'm sure my grandfather would have known about Ann Dvorak.
Both movies were very interesting in their own way. Abilene Town shows the stress between ranchers and cattleman, and the difficulty presented to Abilene in living with both sides. Rhonda Fleming is beautiful, but looses out to Ann Dovrak in the end. Lloyd Bridges is good as one of the young ranchers. Seems to be a very authentic story, but one very short section of the film has contrast problems.
Rocky Mountain Mystery, based on a Zane Grey story, is typical of the kinds of westerns I remember seeing on Saturday morning television in the fifties. I wonder if it was originally meant to be a serial, because of the way Randy Scott seems to escape from certain death every 20 minutes or so? Very entertaining, and like a lot of these movies the gorgeous outdoors, trees, range, seems to steal the movie from the actors, even when filmed in black & white."
Good value westerns
Km Dullabh | new zealand | 02/29/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"2 randolph scott westerns .good entertainment.i enjoyed both and if you are rs fan then you should add to your collection regards ken"