'Classic Western Tale By Bret Harte!'
Ralph Schiller | Winfield, IL, USA | 06/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'Tennessee's Partner' is a terrific saga based on the novel by the famous Western author Bret Harte.
Beautifully produced by RKO studios in 1955, and filmed in gorgeous Technicolor, this film stars the underated actor
John Payne, as the shrewd, but honest card expert Tennessee. He has no friends in the entire town, except for his dance hall girlfriend played by Rhonda Fleming, whose flaming red hair is spectacular in Technicolor! Tennessee walks into an ambush and is nearly murdered by a losing player,when his life is saved by a cowpoke who wanders into town. He even calls himself Cowpoke, and he is a complete straight-shooting arrow, played wonderfully by Ronald Reagan! Reagan becomes Tennesee's pal and partner, and Tennessee returns the favor by preventing Cowpoke from marrying an obvious goldigger!
In the end, another bushwacker attempts to shoot Tennessee in the back, but loyal Cowpoke deliberately stands in the line of fire, taking the bullet for his pal. Tennessee nearly kills the villain, who is played flawlessly by Anthony Caruso, but instead decides to hand him over to the law. However, Cowpoke dies and a stunned, grief-stricken John Payne stands over his friend's body and says aloud, 'I never even knew his name!' Tennessee buries his only friend, marries his girl and makes for a fresh start out in San Francisco.
'Tennessee's Partner' is a classic, western morality play, directed by Allan Dwan, and the entire cast gives first-rate performances. The DVD quality is top knotch."
Daniel Lee Taylor | GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas United States | 05/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A good movie from RKO in the fifties. The style of the movie is represenative of that era. The stars, John Payne and Rhonda Fleming, do fine with the material. Ronald Reagan in the supporting role fits well. What is distinguishing about this film is the surprise climax. Don't look for realism or the dust and dirt of the old west, just some good entertainment."
Co-stars John Payne and Ronald Reagan join forces as the Gam
Robert J. Evered | 05/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Former song and dance man turned action-man hero John Payne plays Tennessee whilst Ronald Reagan plays Cowpoke (we never know their real names) both had done recent westerns in 1954 under veteran director Allan Dwan, Payne in Silver Lode and Reagan in Cattle Queen of Montana with Barbara Stanwyk. In all Dwan made ten films for producer (including the above) Benedict Bogeaus of which Tennessee's Partner was said to be his favourite. John Alton was the highly regarded cinematographer for all the above westerns.
Payne is the moustachioed gambler in the gold-mining town of Sandy Bar. Reagan is the cowboy who rides into town and saves his life. In return Payne feels he must expose the girl Reagan is about to marry as a gold-digger. Emotions run deep as Cowpoke sets out to track Tennessee down and kill him. Rhonda Fleming plays Tennessee's girlfriend Duchess who runs the saloon called "The Marriage Market" Coleen Gray plays the gold-digging girlfriend aptly named Goldie. Look out for a young Angie Dickinson as Abby Dean one of the saloon girls. Anthony Caruso is the main villain of the piece whilst Leo Gordon turns in a strong performance as the no-nonsense sheriff.
By the 1950's the traditional "B" westerns had more or less faded out, they were replaced by co-features or supporting films as they were sometimes known. Made in Technicolor and running for eighty-odd minutes with western stars of some standing like Joel McCrea, Randolph Scott, Rory Calhoun and others. Now, we can see many of these films again in their true glory thanks to VCI Entertainment for these digitally re-mastered prints. Tennessee's Partner is one the best of these films on DVD.
In 1959 John Payne survived a terrible car accident, putting him out of work for two or more years, as a result of this his film output was never the same again. He died in 1989 aged 77 years. Reagan at this time was President of the Screen Actors Guild and moving into mainline politics became Governor of California in 1966. In 1970 he was elected as the 40th President of the United States of America, surviving a assassination attempt early in his presidency, he went on to serve two full terms. Not bad for a "B" movie cowboy!