Classic “B” PD Features

In 1985, the principals of Films Around The World, Inc. purchased a library of 178 “B” feature films.  Approximately 2/3 were good copyright; the remainder were in the public domain.  However, as the legitimate distributor – chain of title documents have been recorded with the Copyright Office — they gained ownership of original film elements, which are crucial for first-class modern digital mastering.  This group of titles from that library — all are included in the section for “Classic Drama Features” section of this website — are all in the public domain in the United States, and frequently are available commercially; however, if modern digital restoration masters – high definition or stepdown standard definition – are required, we are the only ones with original print materials to work with. However, in the case of the few which were produced in England, they are believed to be good copyright there, and can be restored to good copyright status in the United States through “GATT Registrations.”  FATW registeres such films for copyright registration, only when they have been digitally remastered in connection with a video release or some other license.

ADVENTURES OF CHICO, THE  (1938)
BORN TO SPEED (1947)
COMMAND PERFORMANCE, THE  (1931)
CRIME, INC.  (1945)
DEAD OR ALIVE  (1944)
DEADLOCK  (1943)
DEVIL ON WHEELS  (1947)
DEVIL’S MESSENGER, THE  (1961)
DIXIE JAMBOREE  (1944)
ENEMY OF THE LAW (1945)
GANGSTERS OF THE FRONTIER  (1944)
GANGSTER’S DEN  (1945)
GREAT FLAMARION, THE (1945)
GREAT MIKE, THE (1944)
HEARTACHES (1947)
HIS BROTHER’S GHOST  (1946)
HIS LORDSHIP REGRETS  (1938)
HITLER – DEAD OR ALIVE  (1943)
HOLLYWOOD AND VINE  (1945)
I ACCUSE MY PARENTS  (1945)
I’M FROM ARKANSAS  (1944)
IT’S A JOKE, SON!  (1947)
THE KID SISTER  (1945)
LADY CONFESSES, THE (1945)
LAW OF THE LASH  (1947)
LIGHTHOUSE  (1946)
MAN WHO WALKED ALONE, THE  (1945)
MARKED FOR MURDER (1945)
MISSING CORPSE, THE  (1945)
OATH OF VENGEANCE  (1944)
PASSPORT TO HEAVEN (a/k/a I WAS A CRIMINAL, a/k/a
CAPTAIN OF KOEPENICK)  (1945)
PHANTOM OF 42ND STREET, THE  (1945)
PLOTTERS, THE (a/k/a THE PRIMITIVES)  (1966)
ROGUES GALLERY  (1944)
SHADOWS OF DEATH  (1945)
STRANGE ILLUSION (a/k/a OUT OF THE NIGHT) (1945)
SUNSET RANGE  (1935)
TOWN WENT WILD, THE (1944)
WHITE PONGO  (1945)
WILD COUNTRY  (1947)
WILD HORSE PHANTOM    (1944)

ADVENTURES OF CHICO, THE  (1938)

C. 2 Dec. 1937  Woodard Productions LP7638
B&W  83 Mins.   PD **** Corel All Movie Guide 2

Directors:        Stacy & Horace Woodard
Producers:       Stacy & Horace Woodard
Writers:           Stacy & Horace Woodard
Cinematog.:    Stacy & Horace Woodard

The National Board of Review Awards:  Chico received Best Acting Award, 1938

Synopsis:    “Horace and Stacy Woodard produced, directed, wrote and photographed this intriguing semi-documentary.  Chico is a 10-year-old Mexican boy who doesn’t communicate well with the human beings around him.  But outside his village, Chico has a marvelous gift for befriending the animals of the wilderness.  Even here, however, hostilities occasionally surface – especially in Chico’s love/hate relationship with a rare wild bird.  Running a little less than an hour, The Adventures of Chico was well distributed to regional movie houses in the Southwest during the late 1930s, and became an early fixture of television’s formative years.”

Reviews:    “Not alone for the excellent shots of the animals, and their behavior, is the film unusual, but for the complete, almost uncanny blending of animal life with that of the child’s.” (The New York Herald Tribune, February 26, 1938)

“Stacy Woodard and his brother Howard should receive a special award of some kind for ‘The Adventures of Chico,’ the tender, unaffected and charming picture which they have brought into the Fifty-fifth Street Playhouse…. Though  it has an excellent score, the picture’s best music and all of its poetry are merely the wonder of a child at the endlessly enchanting world of animals, and the pure, almost abstract love of life which we discover, somewhat patronizingly at times, in our neighbors to the south…. if it is not the best animal picture ever made, we hope some one will tell us where to go to look for its equal.” (The New York Times, February 26, 1938)

BORN TO SPEED (1947)

C. 12 Man. 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP830
B&W  60 Mins.  PD   *  Corel All Movie Guide 2

Director:          Edward L. Cahn
Writers:           Robert B. Churchill, Scott W. Darling, Crane Wilbur
Producer:         Marvin D. Stahl
Cinematog.:    Jackson J. Rose
Music Dir.:      Irving Friedman
Composers:    Albert Levin, Alvin Levin
Editor:             Donn W. Hayes
Cast:                Johnny Sands, Don Castle, Terry Austin, Geraldine Wall, Frank Orth, Joe
Haworth

Synopsis:    “Johnny Randall, a young race-car driver, falls in love with Tony Bradley, who hates racing because her brother was killed in a midget car-race (the car size, not the driver-size.) To compound that, his mother also objects because his father was killed while racing in the Indianapolis 500. But he continues racing, even though he narrowly escapes death when a rival-and-jealous racer schemes to get rid of him. Then, after these narrow escapes, he loses his nerve, but enters one last race. Is there a gas-station ownership in his future? “ Internet Movie Database

Reviews:    “Basically a drama about Midget Racers (small, sleek single-driver race-cars with normal-sized V-8 engines that helped to kill many drivers in their era) and the hotshot son of a great driver who died behind the wheel. The only way I saw this is because I got a 35mm print of it in a film collection I bought. I don’t know if it’s public domain or not, but it’s fairly entertaining. The lead actors are all no-names, but they look good and can act just enough to make it work. The Midget Racer footage is the highpoint, but sometimes the use of stock footage gets pretty bad (the grains and contrasts don’t match up at all). It would be a 4 or 5 B-Movie without the higher production values, but the sets look A-Grade and lift it a couple points higher. Not a must see, but not a waste of time, good 40s fun.”  Internet Movie Database

“… a fair action film that should hold its own” about auto racing.  “Son of an oldtime racing driver killed plying his trade, Johnny Sands plays a chip-off-the-old-block, who teams with his dad’s old mechanic… and pilots a resurrected racing auto driven by his father. Spirited competition develops between him and his arch rival… another driver, both of whom compete for the affections of [the mechanic’s] niece.  In a Frank  Merriwell finish of the big race, Sands defeats [the  rival], wins [the girl] and retires from the track much to the delight of his mother.”(Variety, January 22,1947) “The romantic, dangerous and fast-paced world of professional midget auto racing provides the backdrop for this dramatic tale of a young driver who decides to follow in his late father’s footsteps and win the big race.  Johnny Randall is aware of the risks.  His father died in a fireball during a race.  Still he wants to win and so enlists the aid of Breezy Bradley, an experienced mechanic to help him restore his father’s ruined racer.  He also finds time to fall in love with Breezy’s beautiful daughter.”  Corel All Movie Guide 2

COMMAND PERFORMANCE, THE  (1931)

C. 24 Jan. 1931  Tiffany Productions, Inc.  LP1936
B&W  81 Mins.  PD   **   Corel All Movie Guide 2

Director:          Sinclair Hill
Writers:           Michael Hankinson, Sinclair Hill, George Pearson
Producer:        Harcourt Templeman
Cinematog.:    Cyril Bristow
Story:               C. Stafford Dickens
Cast:                 Lilli Palmer, Arthur Tracy, Finlay Currie, Jack Melford, Mark Daly, Phyliss
Stanley, Julien Vedey

Reviews:    “In Command Performance, Arthur Tracy playing himself, is getting rather run down. During a performance while singing Londonderry Air {Oh Danny Boy) he breaks down hitting that high note which with his range should have been within reach. The audience helps him out to finish the song. The doctor says rest and Tracy agrees. But he leaves manager Finlay Currie without too much cash and no check book. He can’t get too far on it. Never mind, he makes the acquaintance of a traveling band of gypsies. And of course falls for the lovely Lilli Palmer the daughter of the gypsy chief, Julian Vadey. There certainly was no stretch on any acting talent with Tracy playing himself, but he’s a charming sort and it’s not hard to imagine his popularity on both sides of the pond. In the early Thirties he was a rival to Bing Crosby, Russ Columbo, and Rudy Vallee as a radio singer in the United States. However his description of his own voice as a ‘Baritenor’ is pretty accurate, he had an astonishing range. Unlike those contemporaries I named, Tracy had operatic training, calling him a crooner would be most inaccurate. In fact the big production number of Command Performance is Tracy doing an English version of the The Toreador Song from Carmen. There’s a very droll performance by Mark Daly who plays an amiable chicken thief who falls in with the gypsies and becomes a rival of sorts for Lilli Palmer. Young Rae Collet is very cute as the little girl who becomes attached to Tracy and to whom he sings A Whistling Gypsy Lullaby. Very similar to the scene Bing Crosby did with Edith Fellows in Pennies from Heaven. I didn’t recognize him at first because he used an American accent, but Finlay Currie as the manager was interesting. Interesting because I always like hearing in foreign films what we sound like to another culture. For those who want to check out the man known as The Street Singer, Command Performance is recommended.”  Internet Movie Database

Filmed version of a stage play “… just misses….Stage play was liked.  This may be reproduced too closely … There’s very  little picture screen latitude. Tells about an actor who slugged a prince.  The Queen-mother wanted to see the one person who gave her boy and two companions such a bad beating.  When the actor, who looks muchly like the prince, appears he is ordered to  make love and become engaged to the princess of the other little kingdom.  The royal bunch at home advised him the princess he is going to woo is a pretty tough dame…. But the actor and the princess, the latter quite demure afar away from her long distance billing,  fall in love. They become engaged.  All returning to the first kingly home ground, the genuine prince vamps, renouncing the throne, family and anything else rather  than marry the bad girl.  The actor is then accepted as the Queen-mother’s son, marrying the girl as per schedule as the royal prince.  Acknowledging the story is a royal prune, still it is romantic, with Hamilton in the dual role.  For the actor he at first wears a mustache, but shaves it off when becoming the prince’s  double, leaving other further trouble over facial  expression unnecessary, other than combing the hair differently for each.” (Variety, March 18, 1931)

CRIME, INC.  (1945)

C. 16 Mar. P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13171
B&W  76 Mins.  PD ***   Corel All Movie Guide 2

Director:          Lew Landers
Writer:             Ray Schrock
Producer:         Martin Mooney
Cinematog.:    James Brown
Music, Lyrics: Ray Evans, Jay Livingston
Editor:              Roy Livingston
Cast:                  Leo Carrillo, Tom Neal, Lionel Atwill, Sheldon Leonard, Don Beddoe, George
Meeker, Grant Mitchell, Danny Morton, Rod Rogers, Harry Shannon, Martha
Tilton, Virginia Vale

Synopsis:    “Mobster Bugs Kelley stubbornly refuses to become part of the syndicate that rules organized crime like a business in the city. He further antagonizes “Crime Inc.” by kidnapping Tony Marlowe, one of the syndicate’s most important members, and holding him for ransom. When crusading reporter Mike Egan begins dating Kelley’s sister Betty, a nightclub singer, Kelley begins feeding him information on the workings of the criminal organization. Although Crime Inc. is being investigated by a Grand Jury, it keeps ahead of District Attorney Dixon’s efforts because it has his secretary and several top police detectives on its payroll. All potential witnesses and threats against it are murdered, as is ultimately D.A. Dixon and Kelley. The organization is finally broken when a meeting of its board contracting for Jim and Betty’s murder is secretly filmed, and its head is revealed to be none other than Wayne Clark, head of the crime commission. Jim and Betty are now free to be married.”  Internet Movie Database

Reviews:    “I recently got this film from a good source and was worth the money. It was great to see Sheldon Leonard as the mouthy cop. Tom Neal one of my favorites as the go get ’em reporter. Leo Carillo is debonair as boss man “Tony” and of course Atwill as the man who “calls for the kill” This is worth a sit down to look at. It even has agreat uncredited bunch of actors among them Syd Saylor (remember him?), Earl Hodgins and I. Stanford Jolley. Those guys were in everything! I’m sure if you check it out you will love what you see!!! A B-Movie must see!!”  Internet Movie Database

“…rather tiresome gangster item dealing with the juicer Prohibition days of hoodlumism… title a paraphrase on Murder, Inc., coined by a N.Y. newspaper during cleanup of Brooklyn mobsters…”  “Story is built around a crime syndicate whose chairman is supposedly a respected citizen and, at the moment, foreman of a grand jury.  Numerous killings…”  Newspaper reporter “plays around with gangsters, knows their every move, and walks into the Police Commissioner’s office without even  knocking…. Martha Tilton… sings two numbers… Leo  Carrillo, Lionel Atwill, Grant Mitchell, Sheldon  Leonard, Harry Shannon acquit themselves creditably.”   (Variety, June 22, 1945)  “The story holds no surprises, rival gunmen exterminate each other methodically, and stooges are as plentiful as ever in the district attorney’s office and the grand jury chambers.”  (The  New York Times, June 23, 1945)  “A foreword by J. Edgar Hoover states that such exposes are good for the public conscience; but in this film the stock characters, shallow plot and abundance of gun play take the spotlight away from any message it might have.”  (New York Herald Tribune,  June 23, 1945)

DEAD OR ALIVE  (1944)

C. 9 Nov. 1944  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13572
B&W  56 Mins.  PD ** Corel All Movie Guide 2

Director:          Elmer P. Clifton
Writer:             Harry L. Fraser
Producer:         Arthur Alexander
Cinematog.:    Robert C. Cline
Editor:              Hugh Wynn
Cast:                 Tex Ritter, Dave “Tex” O’Brien, Guy Wilkerson, Revel Randall, Ray Bennett, Budd
Buster, Marjorie Clements, Henry Hall, Reed Howes, Charles King, Ted Mapes,
Bud Osborne

Synopsis:    “The Rangers are after Yackey and his gang. Posing as an outlaw, Dave arrives as Panhandle’s prisoner and works his way into the gang. Tex arrives and joins Wright’s committee. Tex plans a trap for the gang but things go awry when the gang catches Tex and the Committee catches Dave and both are about to be hung.”  Internet Movie Database

Reviews:    “This 1944 sagebrush tale from singin’ cowboy Tex Ritter offers a standard storyline, coupled with a few of Ritter’s signature western ditties. Dave O’Brien goes undercover to work himself into a local gang, but eventually both he and Tex end up in hot water ! Tex Ritter’s films were always predictable in my opinion, but were adequate as films of the singing cowboy genre. This one was a pleasant diversion, offering his fans the matinée thrills and western tunes which they had come to expect.
Dave O’Brien was especially good in this film. He was a good performer, who never quite reached the stardom he deserved. This film is worth a look, especially to catch his fine performance. Enjoy ! “ Internet Movie Database

DEADLOCK  (1943)

B&W  58 Mins.  NC
Director:          Ronald Haines
Producer:        Ronald Haines
Cast:                 John Slater, Cecille Chevreau, Hugh Norton, Molly Hamley-Clifford

Reviews:    ““Released in Britain in 1943, Deadlock made the American rounds in the years following the war.  John Slater plays twin brothers, one of whom is serving a life sentence in prison.  The two brothers contrive to switch places, with the bad twin roaming free while the good twin wastes away in jail.  This reversal of affairs naturally has a profound effect on the women in both twins’ lives.  Vestiges of the plotline of Deadlock can be found in the 1957 Jack Palance vehicle House of Numbers.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“This film is on the recently issued BFI 75 missing films that they want to add to their archive.After viewing i can only wonder why.It is an archetypal poverty stricken quota quickie,There are only a handful of sets.Any action which takes place outside these sets is not shown but is reported second hand.The camera is static.there is no editing as such with scenes being joined together.Much of the film is photographed in medium shot,i don’t remember one close up.The story is derivative and clichéd.Slater plays twins,although he doesn’t manage to make one different to the other.He persuades the Judge at his trial for murder that he is insane and sent to a mental hospital.He escapes killing a warder and his twin brother who helped him.We don’t see any of this so any dramatic tension is non existent.The film ends perfunctorily in a welter of bodies.Its only virtue is its brevity.Whilst i am a great champion of quota quickies even i can raise barely a cheer for the existence of this film.”  Internet Movie Database

DEVIL ON WHEELS  (1947)

C. 15 Feb. 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP844
B&W  67 Mins.  PD **½ Corel All Movie Guide 2

Director:         Crane Wilbur
Writer:            Crane Wilbur
Producer:        Benjamin Stoloff
Cinematog.:    Lewis William O’Connell
Music Dir.:      Irving Friedman
Editor:             Alex Troffey
Cast:                Darryl Hickman, Noreen Nash, Jan Ford, James B. Cardwell, Ann Burr, Robert
Alan Arthur, Sue England, Janice Ford, William Forrest, Lenita Love, Damian
O’Flynn

Synopsis:    “John Clark… arrives home with his brand new car.  The  excitement of his wife, Nan… and his children–  Judy…,ten; Mickey (Darryl Hickman), 16; and Jeff…, 24, makes him forget about a tragic automobile accident he saw on the way home.  Mickey’s friends, Tod…, Rusty…, and Peggy…, who have been helping Mickey work on his ‘hopped-up’ jalopy, join in the  admiration of the new car. Clark takes his family for a drive and collides with a car driven by Judge Tanner…  and his daughter, Sue… In court later, Clark finds the judge trying his case is Judge Tanner, who dismisses the case with a strong warning.  Meanwhile, Jeff has become interested in Sue.  Police officers discover the running of a first heat of a jalopy race.  Judge Tanner calls the boys and their parents to court and cautions them strongly against ‘drag’ races.  Mickey promises his father he will not race…Mickey, Peggy, Tod and Rusty go to the morgue to see if they can discover the identity of a ‘drag’ driver who has been killed.  Peggy faints… and the boys carry her out to their ‘hopped-up’ cars, leaving Rusty inside.  As both cars approach an intersection at breakneck speed, Mickey grazes the rear of a sedan and speeds away as he hears Tod collide with the sedan…. Mickey, who has arrived at his home after taking Peggy home, discovers that his mother was in the car which he grazed, and that Tod was killed as a result of the accident….Mickey is brought into court, charged with hit and run driving.  Despite the fact that Nan has recovered, Judge Tanner tells Clark that unfortunately fathers have no responsibility under the law in such circumstances and sets a future date at which he will pronounce sentence on Mickey.” (publicity  release)

“American-International did not invent the juvenile delinquents-jalopies-reckless driving-hot rodders-build it at home-chicken playing genre of movies. PRC and Monogram started churning them out in the mid-forties as part of their let-this-be-a-lesson-to-you genre, preceded by the zoot-suiter and jitter-buggers films, which was better than the social guidance films teen-agers were being overdosed on at school. PRC did at least use card-carrying members of SAG. This one is a sermon against speeding, and Darryl Hickman has it brought straight home to him when he side-swipes a car and causes a collision in which his best friend is killed—the fate of all best friends in juvenile-theme movies including “Rebel Without a Cause”— and his mother is injured. Lots of lecturing precedes and follows.” Internet Movie Database

Review:    “This is a good little film. Darryl Hickman plays Mickey Clark, a kid building his own hot-rod car. His father, John, is preaching how bad driving habits will cause trouble. Then, he drives this way himself. There are several occurrences in the film dealing with poor driving, running from the police after an accident, and an incident in a morgue! This film is a typical PRC potboiler and is worth a look.”  Internet Movie Database

DEVIL’S MESSENGER, THE  (1961)

B&W  75 Mins.  NC

Directors:          Curt Siodmak, Herbert L. Strock
Writer:               Leo Guild
Producer:           Kenneth Herts
Cinematog.:      William G. Troiano
Art Dir.:             Kenneth Herts
Composer:         Alfred Gwynn
Cast:                    Lon Chaney, Karen Kadler, Michael Hinn, John Crawford, Jan Blomberg,
Gunnel Brostrom, Renato Polselli

Synopsis:    “One of the recent sinners to arrive in Hell is Satanya, a beautiful young suicide.  The Devil orders her to act as a messenger for him to recruit possible new candidates from earth.  In return for her work, she is promised clemency.  Her first target is a New York photographer, to whom she brings a new camera; subsequently, he kills one of his models.  His death and consequent descent into Hell are caused by the repeated appearance of the dead model’s face in his photographs.  Satanya’s next assignment is an anthropologist, whose present from the Devil is a pick.  He has fallen in love with a beautiful young woman who has been trapped and frozen in a glacier for a million years.  His entry to Hell is assured when he kills the frozen woman, who drowns as he melts her icy grave.  For Satanya, these two missions have been nightmares, but her next assignment brings her great pleasure.  The potential victim is the man for whose sake she committed suicide.  She ascends to earth as a fortune teller and is approached by her ex-lover, who wishes her to read his fortune from a crystal ball. As foreseen in their session together, the building collapses and they are both killed.  In Hell, the couple are assigned to deliver to the people of earth an envelope containing the formula for an atom bomb.  Soon after the formula has been delivered, the human race is destroyed by an atomic explosion, and all are consigned to Hell.”  (The American Film Institute Catalog)

“Satan sends his newest most seductive minion back to the earthly plane to search for new recruits in this horror compilation from an unsold Swedish television series No. 13 Demon Street that stars Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Devil.  Each of the beautiful hellcat’s victims dies in interesting ways, including the one who sent her to hell in the first place.  He too becomes a worker for the big-D, who gives the couple the formula for nuclear weapons with the instructions that they are to pass it around.  They do so and soon Hell is filled to the brimstone with tormented souls.”  Corel All Movie Guide 2

Reviews:    “This feature film is taken from three episodes of a Swedish TV series “13 Demon
Street”. Oddly, the show was made in the US in English and was then subtitled for Sweden! An odd pedigree, to say the least! While I have never seen the actual show (there’s not a whole lot of Swedish television being shown here at the present time), it appears to have been a rather low-budget horror series. Whether or not it was all connected together by a demon (played by Lon Chaney, Jr.) in the show or just this movie is anyone’s guess.

“The show begins with Chaney on his throne in Hell–enjoying his job immensely! He summons a young suicide victim and gives her some assignments back on Earth. These assignments are the three segments taken from three separate TV episodes.

“The first involves a sex pervert photographer. At first, he just seems really creepy but later when he commits a meaningless murder, you realize what sort of sick, twisted freak he really is. The woman, then, is the means of passing judgment on the guy–making him see visions in one of his photographs that literally ends up scaring him to death. Afterwords, the woman regrets her involvement in this, but considering how sick the man was, the viewer is left celebrating the death–and thinking perhaps this demon isn’t such a bad fellow after all!

“Next is a tale about the discovery of a prehistoric woman who is discovered frozen in ice. Naturally, this woman is the agent sent by old Mr. Diabolical himself and it is imbued with strange powers. Despite being in suspended animation, when men see her naked and encased in ice, there is a strange reaction within them–they are transfixed by her beauty and must possess her. As one of the workers talks to her and imagines a weird past-life relationship with her, you realize just how strange this particular segment is! And, by the end, the guy is a raving nut!

“The third segment has this female agent of evil bringing a crystal ball to a fortune teller. It begins with a guy talking to a psychiatrist about some recurring dreams. The doctor gives a rather tenuous interpretation that the guy is dying to know the future–though the guy says he has no desire at all to know! But, following the doctor’s advice, he seeks out a fortune teller. Looking into this evil crystal, she tells him he’s about to die! And, it seems, she is fated to kill him! She says she has nothing against him and has no desire to kill him, but it WILL happen because the crystal ball says it must!

“Despite the high ‘cheese-factor’ and low budget, I did enjoy the film. One reason in particular was due to Chaney. While he certainly was no thespian, here he is quite enjoyable because he gets into the part–laughing and playing it up quite a bit. He was very entertaining and it’s among his better work. Plus, the stories were pretty good–and quite different from the stuff you’d see on “The Twilight Zone” or “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”. I’d sure like to be able to see the rest of the series to find out if they’re all as good as these selected episodes.”  Internet Movie Database

DIXIE JAMBOREE  (1944)

C. 15 Aug. 1945  PRC Pictures, Inc.  LP13618
B&W  72 Mins.  PD ** Corel All Movie Guide 2

Director:          William Christy Cabanne
Writer:              Sam Neuman
Producer:         Jack Schwartz
Cinematog.:    Jack MacKenzie
Art Dir.:           Paul Palmentola, Paul F. Sylos
Editor:             Robert Crandall
Cast:                 Frances Langford, Guy Kibbee, Eddie Quillan, Frank Jenks, Charles Butterworth,
Fifi D’Orsay, Lyle Talbot, Louise Beavers, Ben Carter, Angel Cruz, Joe Devlin,
Almira Sessions, Anthony Warde

Synopsis:    “A Mississippi showboat provides the setting for this adventurous musical comedy.  It tells the tale of the last showboat upon the Big Muddy.  Aboard is a wacky selection of characters.  Much of the story centers around a medicine man who is mistaken for a bootlegger by two former convicts.  They attempt to steal his potent elixir.  Songs include: “Dixie Showboat,” “No, No, No,” “If It’s a Dream,” “You Ain’t Right With the Lord,” and “Big Stuff.” “Corel All Movie Guide 2

Reviews:    “If you like to watch old movies devoid of acclaimed actors, directors and studios and judge for yourself if it is a good movie, avoid this one. I watched it solely to see old depictions of Mississippi riverboat people, both blacks and whites, but these were hardly the most offensive. Louise Beevers as Opal, the maid (of course), had minimal decent dialogue as a woman and a person, and Gloria Jetters as Azella, a small black child, delivered more than would have been expected from a child back then who wasn’t Shirley Temple or Natalie Wood. There is even an enjoyable spiritual sung by the fiery black reverend (even tho the character is named in the film, the actor goes uncredited) on the docks with other black singers. Delightful to see as black portrayals can get extremely rare in most films and historically compelling as well. More offensive were the mobsters (tired cliches from Lyle Talbot) and the French songstress, Yvette, played by Fifi Dorsay, who comes across like she is every man’s desire.

“But the clinchers are the two uncredited Native American indians, no doubt really Anglo performers of some kind, who say virtually nothing and this was probably to their advantage, being deprived of any ‘ugh’ and ‘how’ phrases. The characters are named Double and Nothing (introduced as “Double or Nothing”) and play the drums to the fledgling trumpeter played by Eddie Quillan. In one scene they are being released from jail and one of the Natives hands the officer a message that reads ‘Merci Bien’. The officer quips that it must be in Indian as he apparently cannot read it. Ba-dum-bump!

“Frances Langford was the only performer I was really familiar with, so I expected this to be a vehicle for her. In fact it seems to be a launching pad for Quillan, totally uninteresting as trumpet player Jeff Calhoun. He is supposed to get ‘the tickle’, the inspiration to play mesmerizing, captivating music at such times. Quillan is almost frightening at these moments as he raises his eyebrows, bulges his eyes and tosses his big dark eyes back and forth. Not an inviting portrayal and Harry James had nothing to worry about.

“Thankfully it is only an hour and a half long. Still not worth the time. The ‘plot’ involved the gangsters thinking the miracle elixir sold on the riverboat was a whiskey running operation and Langford acting jealous of Dorsay and Quillan constantly apologizing for playing at inopportune times on his trumpet. Comedy relief characters like the Professor played by Charles Butterworth and the ditzy Captain’s wife played by Elmira Sessions get on my nerves more than racial or ethnic characters. “ Internet Movie Database

“Other than a couple of songs enhanced by the way Frances Langford puts ’em over, there isn’t much to recommend ‘Dixie Jamboree.’….There is one sequence, however, for those wide awake enough to notice, which is a rare specimen in movies.  It permits Lyle Talbot and Frank Jenks (two gangsters on the lam) to ridicule a couple of acts put on by the showboat crew.  Many a worse musical number on the screen has been given willy-nilly approbation as a doting camera carefully picks out nodding heads and smiling faces on the sidelines….Plot is mostly about the two mobsters who plan to take over Capt. Jackson’s boat and contents after they’ve discovered that the Cap’s new batch of patent medicine was unwittingly mixed with liquor instead of aqua. Story idea isn’t bad…” (New York  Daily News, January 1, 1945)

ENEMY OF THE LAW (1945)

C. 7 May 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13650
B&W  59 Mins.  PD

Director:          Harry L. Fraser
Writer:             Harry L. Fraser
Producer:        Arthur Alexander
Cinematog.:    John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Music Dir.:      Lee Zahler
Editor:              Holbrook Todd
Cast:                  Dave “Tex” O’Brien, Tex  Ritter, Guy Wilkerson, Kay Hughes, Charles King,
Edward Cassidy, Ben Corbett, Frank Ellis, Karl Hackett, Henry Hall, Kay
Hughes, Jack Ingram, Kermit Maynard

Synopsis:    “In 1880, ‘Wild Charlie Grey’ is about to be released from prison for the theft of $250,000 in gold which was never recovered.  The Texas Rangers send their member ‘Panhandle’ to Charlie’s prison cell posing as a ‘safe cracker’ in order to gain Charlie’s confidence and hopefully to learn where the money is hidden.  Secretly, Charlie draws the map of the location of the gold on the bottom of Panhandle’s left foot; then tears up the original map.  The two are released and Charlie makes sure Panhandle is always with him.  Steve Martin, Charlie’s partner in the hold up who had escaped, is waiting for Charlie’s release so that Charlie can lead him to the hidden gold.  In town, Ruby  Dawson hates her uncle, Steve, who took her inheritance to build the Red Dog Saloon which she is forced to ‘hostess.’  She is offened [sic] by his criminal-type associates.  Tex, a Texas Ranger and Ruby’s lawyer, arrives in town as pre-arranged to close in on Charlie.  Dave, another Texas Ranger arrives in town posing as a tramp and wangles a job from Ruby in the saloon.  Then,  Charlie, in order to assume a new identity, goes to a  doctor to have a tell-tale scar removed, then kills the doctor after the operation.  Tex and Dave overhear him bragging of the killing and try to arrest him, but Steve helps him escape with Panhandle.  In their hideout, Panhandle washes his feet and throws his old socks away. Later, Tex and Dave, as well as Charlie and Steve, realize that Panhandle’s socks hold the key to the location of the hidden gold, as the ink drawing must  have transferred to the socks from his sweaty feet!  However a  miner has found the socks and taken them to a stream to wash them.  Charlie and Steve find him first and decipher the map on the sock.  Dave and Tex follow them. The map ironically leads Charlie and Steve back to town and right to the Red Dog Saloon.  The gold is buried under the floorboards!  When Charlie finds his cache, Steve tries to shoot him, but Charlie escapes. Dave and Tex arrive and there is a big shoot-out. Through a ruse, Panhandle tricks Charlie into prison to join the other criminals.” (publicity release)

Reviews:    “A great old Western filled with Tex Ritter’s songs, this one revolves around a manhunt by the Texas Rangers who are trying to find the outlaw gang who, years before, broke into a safe and hid the money.  Good Western comedy.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“The 22 films in the Texas Rangers series that cousins Arthur Alexander and Alfred Stern produced for Producers Releasing Corporation distribution rank, by any measurement, as the worse continuing-character-series made by anybody, anywhere, anytime in any genre…with Spaghetti Westerns the sole exception. The first fourteen films in the series had Dave O’Brien, Jim Newill and Guy Wilkerson as the trio of Rangers, and the last eight starred Tex Ritter, Dave O’Brien and Guy Wilkerson, although the Ranger Trio concept was overlooked in some of those, with O’Brien and Wilkerson as a pair of Rangers and Ritter not a member of the Rangers. But Ritter had the white horse, top billing and he was the lead whether he was a Ranger or not.

“ENEMY OF THE LAW was the 20th film in the overall series (forget what Movie Connections may say) and the sixth entry of the Ritter-O’Brien films. Director Harry Fraser dusted off…uh…in this case…washed off and modified his original story from 1940’s LIGHTNING STRIKES WEST (Ken Maynard)he directed for brothers Max and Arthur Alexander and came up with this: Charley Gray (Charles King) is about to be released from the state penitentiary after serving a long term for the robbery of a government gold shipment. The gold was never recovered, so Ed Cassidy (Chief of the Rangers, no less) has Ranger Panhandle Perkins (Guy Wilkerson) planted in the prison as Charley’s cell-mate in the hopes Charley will tell him where the loot is buried. Charley has a map of the location but is afraid it may be discovered—he’s had it ever since he has been there but just now beginning to worry about it being discovered—so, while Panhandle is asleep, he draws a copy of it on the sole of Panhandle’s foot. I forget which foot. Charley then destroys the map so, being none too bright to begin with and having both short-term and long-term memory retention problems, Charley is now going to have to adopt Panhandle as a sidekick. (I get parts of this one confused with “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”) So, upon their release from prison, Charley makes Panhandle accompany him back to the town where the rest of the hold-up gang is holed up. They go to the saloon owned by Steve Martin (Jack Ingram), who is also interested in knowing where the loot is buried as he has a vested interest because he was one of the members of the hold-up gang, all of whom escaped except Charley, but Charley was the one who buried the loot before he was captured. But Charley has no intentions of divulging the location of the gold until he has some personal grooming taken care of…namely the removal of a scar. Old Doc Carey (Karl Hackett) drops by and removes Charley’s shameful scar and his reward is getting killed dead by Charley. The latter, making his newly-found best friend Panhandle accompany him, then hotfoots it back to the saloon where nearly everybody in the short cast—the Alexander brothers and cousin Stern were never known to over-populate a cast—are gathered. Tex Haines (Tex Ritter) has just sung a song to dance-hall hostess Ruby Martin (Kay Hughes) and her husband Steve isn’t all that happy about some stranger singing songs to his wife; and Ranger Dave Wyatt (Dave O’Brien) is posing as a tramp and being more than a little bit inquisitive for the average barfly, unlike the resident Barfly (Jack Evans)who is just an everyday mind-his-own-business Barfly. Once he gets there, Charley can’t wait to tell somebody he has killed the doctor but Tex and Dave overhear this and attempt to arrest Charley and a PRC short-cast mêlée breaks out, and Charley gets away and takes Panhandle with him to a hideout cabin. Once there, Panhandle, as he was often prone to do, throws a monkey-wrench into the plot. Well, actually, he advances the plot but this advancement gives Charley a problem. Charley won’t allow Panhandle to indulge in feet-washing but Panhandle does manage to change his socks. (Panhandle Perkins having a second pair of socks is totally unexpected by us devotees of this series.) Panhadle tosses his old socks out the window. Wandering tramp (Ben Corbett) comes along and decides that Panhandle’s old dirty socks are better than what he has, so he takes them. Meanwhile, back in the shack, Charley notices that the map is no longer on the sole of Panhandle’s foot—whichever one it was that he drew the map on—and concludes it has rubbed off onto the discarded socks…or, to be precise, the sock that was on whichever foot that he drew the map on. Things really move along after this as Charlie gets the map-sock (is that a keyword) back from Ben and we learn that the loot is buried under Martin’s Saloon—we did mention that Charley had a memory problem—and soon roars to a semi-mêlée climax.

“Beats the heck out of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, though. Especially in the directing, editing and writing departments.”  Internet Movie Database

GANGSTERS OF THE FRONTIER  (1944)

C. 25 Sept. 1944  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13561
B&W  50 Mins.  PD

Director:          Elmer P. Clifton
Writer:             Elmer P. Clifton
Producer:        Arthur Alexander
Cinematog.:    Robert C. Cline
Music Dir.:      Lee Zahler
Editor:              Charles Jr. Hinkel
Cast:                  Tex Ritter, Dave “Tex” O’Brien, Guy Wilkerson, Patti McCarthy, I. Stanford
Jolley, Harry Harvey, Sr., Charles King, Jr., Betty Miles, Marshall Reed, Clarke
Stevens

Synopsis:    “Singing cowboy movie starring Tex Ritter and Dave O’Brien as Texas Rangers. “Tex Haines (Tex Ritter), Dave Wyatt (Dave O’Brien) and Panhandle Perkins (Guy Wilkerson) are attacked by a band of outlaws led by Bart Kern and Rod Kern. In the fierce gun battle that follows, the Kern boys regain possession of their twin guns, which Haines kept as a symbol of peace. The outlaws take over the town of Red Rock, destroying all who oppose their will and forcing others to work for them in the mines. Tex, Dave and Panhandle organize the first law enforcement body in the territory and by clever horsemanship and the use of the Jenny Deering’s telegraph, they trap the outlaws and in the terrific battle capture them and get back the two symbolic six shooters and peace reigns once more in Red Rock Valley.” (publicity release)

“In this unusual western, two brothers escape from prison and wind up taking over the town of Red Rock and enslaving its residents.  The ruthless brothers force the people to work the mines.  Fortunately, the brave Texas Rangers ride into town at just the right moment and stop them.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Tex put the Kern gang away once but they have returned with reinforcements and have take over the town of Red Rock capturing the townsmen and forcing them to work for them in the gold mines. Dave and Tex then organize the ranchers into the Territorial Rangers. After blowing up the mines to keep the gang from getting the gold, they are ready for the showdown between the two sides. “ Internet Movie Database

Review:    “In the 1930s, 40s and 50s, Hollywood made approximately 2929342342097 B-westerns. A B-film was a relatively short film (about one hour) with a small budget and was intended as a second film in a double-feature. Kids loved these westerns and they were very formulaic–with a near-perfect hero, there was usually some singing, the baddies almost never getting killed but always being defeated and, often, a goofy sidekick there to add some color.

“ “Gangsters of the Frontier” is one of these films and in most ways it’s pretty ordinary for the genre. It stars Tex Ritter (John Ritter’s father) and he belts out song after song in the film–though his charisma left a bit to be desired. He has put the wicked Kern gang behind bars, but somehow they have escaped and are worse than ever–enslaving an entire town! It’s obvious that the Kerns are meant as a metaphor for fascism and Ritter and his friends talk a lot about freedom and God-given rights in this one. They also have WOMEN join their posse–a reference to the women now working to support the war effort. All these details do make the film interesting to history teachers like me, but the average person will possibly miss all these references–as well as be relatively unimpressed by the film. It’s not super-exciting and there’s too much singing–even for one of these style films. It’s just adequate–one of many, many, many adequate B-series westerns.”  Internet Movie Database

GANGSTER’S DEN  (1945)

C. 14 July 1945  PRC Pictures, Inc.  LP13607
B & W 55 Mins.  PD *1/2 Corel All Movie Guide 2

Director:         Sam Newfield
Writer:            George H. Plympton, George H. Plympton
Producer:        Sigmund Neufeld
Cinematog.:    Jack Greenhalgh
Editor:             Holbrook N. Todd
Cast:                Buster Crabbe, Al St. John, Sydney Logan, Charles King, Emmett Lynn, Kermit
Maynard, Ed Cassidy, I. Stanford Jolley, George Chesebro, Karl Hackett, Michael
Owen, Jimmy Aubrey, Foxy Callahan, Horace B. Carpenter, John L. Cason, Steve
Clark, Victor Cox, Rube Dalroy, Bert Dillard, Jack Evans, Falcon (Horse),
Morgan Flowers, Art Fowler, Herman Hack, Milton Kibbee, Cactus Mack,
Frank McCarroll, Art Mix, Jack Montgomery, Artie Ortego, Matty Roubert,
Wally West

Synopsis:    Western starring Buster Crabbe as Billy Carson and his comic sidekick Al “Fuzzy” St. John as “Fuzzy.”  They “operate a gold mine, but their biggest problem is the Taylor saloon in town where their men get drunk and cheated out of their money. They decide to … do something about it. On the way, they ride through land owned by Jim and Ruth Lane, and are promptly blasted by Ruth who is chasing two other men off her property. She  blames her troubles on Lawyer Black, who wants to get the property because, secretly, he believes there are gold deposits on it.   Black also wants to acquire the Taylor saloon to get the gambling profits. In town, Billy and Fuzzy find Jim Lane… drunk and being ‘taken’ in a card game.  Jim runs out of money and borrows two thousand dollars from Black.  He signs what he believes is a note, but it is actually a quit claim deed to the Lane land.  Lane gets back in the game, and Billy, seeing that he is being cheated, interferes, with the result that a terrific fight takes place.  Fuzzy decides that the only way to save his men from being swindled, is to buy the Taylor place and run it honestly.  Black also makes an offer.  Taylor decides to sell to Fuzzy, who leaves for the mine to get the money, but is ambushed by Black’s gang on the way back.  Billy, sensing trouble, arrives in time and they fight their way out.  The money is paid to Taylor who leaves immediately.  Later it is discovered that he has been robbed and murdered.  Black decides to enforce the quit claim deed on Lane’s land.  Lane shoots the deputy who is serving the papers and believes he has killed him.  Actually, the man is only wounded, but is later killed by Black because he knows too much.  Billy does some clever detective work and uncovers Black as the murderer.”  Fuzzy ends up buying the saloon, recovering his money, gives the saloon away, and goes back to mining with Billy.  Black gets killed by his own gang.  (publicity release)

“The “urban” nature of the title notwithstanding, Gangster’s Den is another PRC Studios B-western.  Buster Crabbe and Al St. John, as usual, fill the roles of cowboys Billy Carson and Fuzzy Q. Jones.  This time, Billy and Fuzzy are partners in a gold mine.  Using his earnings, Fuzzy opens a saloon, which unfortunately turns into a safe harbor for every thief and varmint within shouting distance.  Billy comes to Fuzzy’s rescue, dispersing the crooks and bringing the worst of the bunch to justice.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

Review:    “Fuzzy uses sacks of gold dust, saved by himself & Billy, to buy a bar from Taylor, who is trying to avoid selling it to crooked lawyer Black, who wants to bar and property as part of a valuable mining property land grab. While Black and his henchmen try to scare off Fuzzy, Billy has his hands full battling Black and helping Ruth Lane to save her brother Jim from losing money gambling with Black’s henchmen and then their ranch to Black. Decent entry in the Billy Carson series, which doesn’t feature Crabbe/Billy that much, but focuses Fuzzy’s comedy antics and his encounters with Emmett Lynn as the bar’s new cook and Charlie King as Fuzzy’s bodyguard with a taste for strange booze concoctions. All in all, it’s a fun hour to spend watching this. Rating, based on B westerns, 6.”  Internet Movie Database

GREAT FLAMARION, THE (1945)

C. 23 Feb. 1945  Republic Pictures Corp.  LP13190
B&W  78 Mins.  PD

Director:               Anthony Mann
Writers:               Heinz Herald, Richard Weil, Anne Wighton
Producers:           W. Lee Wilder, William Wilder
Cinematog.:        James S. Brown, Jr., Spencer James Brown
Art Director:       Paul F. Sylos
Music Dir.:          David Chudnow
Composer:           Alexander Laszlo
Editor:                 John Link
Cast:                     Dan Duryea, Erich von Stroheim, Mary Beth Hughes, Stephen Barclay, Lester
Allen, Esther Howard, Tony Farrell, Joseph Granby, John Hamilton, Carmen
Lopez, Michael Mark, Fred Velasco

Synopsis:    “Flamarion, expert marksman, is entertaining people in a show which features Connie, beautiful woman and her husband Al. Flamarion and Connie fall in love and decide to get rid of the alcoholic husband.”  Internet Movie Database

Reviews:    “As the star of a sharp-shooting act, Erich von Stroheim is drawn from his singular passion for his guns by Mary Beth Hughes, who, together with her husband, works in the act.  Miss Hughes, it appears, is tired of her drunken spouse and suggests that von Stroheim ‘accidentally’ kill him during a performance.  The smitten trigger man takes the suggestion.  But Miss Hughes, as brazen a package as ever was, hies herself off with another and younger actor.  Needless to say, justice and vengeful sharpshooter eventually triumph.”  “Erich von Stroheim… is both sinister and obvious as the title character….Among the supporting players, Dan Duryea is effective as the ill-fated husband, while Mary Beth Hughes is properly hard as the attractive lady who likes variety in her men.”  (The New York Times, January  15, 1945)

“This is a decent little movie with a really nasty woman. She is really quite beautiful, and in the Blue Angel tradition, makes a man twice her age and not all that attractive, fall for her. There’s no fool like an old fool and you don’t mess with Von Stroheim. I wasn’t aware that the great actor/director made some pretty weak films over the years. This one survives pretty well. Von Stroheim plays Flamarion, a trick shot artist, who is in great demand. He gets into the business of an alcoholic and his cheating wife. She uses him, changes him, and then he wants revenge. The story is told by Flamarion as another vaudeville performer holds him in his arms as he dies. It is told in flashback. I have to admit knowing that things had no possibility of working out, yet because of the interesting nature of the characters, particularly the young woman (who is beautiful, even by modern standards). Those of us who have had those yearnings to be young again and have a second chance can easily sympathize as this man makes mistake after mistake; loving too much; trusting too much. I was fairly impressed by the movie.”  Internet Movie Database

GREAT MIKE, THE (1944)

C. 15 Nov. 1944 PRC Pictures, Inc.  LP13638
B&W  73 Mins.  PD

Director:          Wallace W. Fox
Writer:             Ray Schrock
Producer:         Leon Fromkess
Cinematog.:    Jockey A. Feindel
Art Director:   Paul Palmentola
Composer:       Lee Zahler
Editor:              Hugh Wynn
Story:               Martin Mooney
Cast:                 Stuart Erwin, Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer, Robert “Buzzy” Henry, Pierre Watkin, Gwen
Kenyon, Marion Martin, Edward Cassidy, Lane Chandler, Edythe Elliott, William
Halligan, Charles King, Leon Tyler

Synopsis:    “Story of a boy and his horse. Mike is the horse and is owned by Speck (Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer) and his best friend Jimmy (Rober “Buzz” Henry), together they have a paper route, on which they deliver papers to customers via a wagon pulled by Mike. Recenlty a horse track has been built in the area and attracts horse breeder and racer Colonel Whiteny (Pierre Watkin). He takes out a subscription for delivery and meets Mike and Speck & Jimmy. Clever Jimmy talks both the Colonel and Speck into taking on the Colonel’s pure bred race horses at the track with comedic results.”  Internet Movie Database

Reviews:    “This neat, unpretentious drama about a horse, a dog and a boy… should do well…Yarn deals with the faith of young ‘Buzzy’ Henry in a horse that pulls a milkwagon, but whom the lad feels would make a great racer.  He induces an eastern sportsman to allow his top runner to race the delivery animal, and sure enough, the latter wins the contest.  A crooked racing ring is foiled in making a ‘killing’ involving the horse, through the actions of Henry, Stu Erwin, and the boy’s dog, who  gives his life in saving the runner from serious injury. Erwin comes through with his usual droll performance, and touches of comedy, few and far between, are supplied by Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer, young ‘Our Gang’ comedy graduate, who should appear on the screen more often…. Settings are above par, and camera work… captures several exciting racing sequences.”  (Variety, December  27, 1944)

“Arcadia, California paperboy Robert “Buzzy” Henry (as Jimmy Dolan) and his swell teen pal Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer (as “Speck”) use the former’s beloved horse “Mike” to deliver the news. Young Henry is saving up to get the local lads a proper clubhouse, with “a shower bath, ping pong tables, and weenie roast.” He also wants to run “Mike” in the new racetrack being built at Santa Anita. Henry meets horse breeder Pierre Watkin (as Col. Whitley) and trainer Stuart Erwin (as Jay Spencer). When “Mike” shows potential as a real racehorse, the men buy him from Henry’s uncle Joe, who is strapped for cash. Separated, Henry and “Mike” are devastated. Can you figure out how to get this boy and horse back on track? “ Internet Movie Database

HEARTACHES (1947)

C. 27 May 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1136
B&W  71 Mins.  PD

Director:          Basil Wrangell
Writer:             George Bricker
Producers:      Marvin D. Stahl, Benjamin Stoloff
Cinematog.:    John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Art Director:   Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.:       Irving Freedman
Music, Lyrics: Kim Gannon, Al Hoffman, Walter Kent, John Klenner
Editor:              Charles Gross
Cast:                  Lash LaRue, Sheila Ryan, Edward Morris, Chili Wills/Williams, Ken Farrell,
Charles Mitchell, Frank Orth, Phyllis Planchard, James Seay, Ann Staunton,

Synopsis:    “In this mystery, a reporter looks into two killings and winds up implicating a popular singing movie star.  When it comes out that the singer’s voice is dubbed in by another, a career is almost destroyed.  Things are rectified when the reporter finds the killer.”   Corel All Movie Guide 2

Reviews:    “Carrying a top revival tune as its title, ‘Heartaches’ is a moderately entertaining whodunit, with songs, that emerges as suitable fare to round out double bills….  With the story’s locale centered about Hollywood, yarn deals with the career of a film crooner, portrayed by Ken Farrell.  He’s okay with looks, but his ‘voice’ is actually that of Chill Wills, whose piping is dubbed on the sound track. Of course, studio execs make every  attempt to prevent a leak that Wills croons for Farrell.   Complicating matters are a number of mailed threats on  Farrell’s life.  Cops, as well as reporter Edward  Norris, are inclined to discount them as publicity gags,  but are convinced when a radio agent is rubbed out, followed by the shooting of the crooner’s own rep, Frank  Orth. Culprit is eventually rounded up and Norris wins Farrell’s femme flack, Sheila Ryan.  Sandwiched in the footage are several songs, including the oldie ‘Heartaches’ plus a trio of new ones by Kim Gannon and Walter Kent.  Best of these is ‘Can’t Get That Gal.’ ” (Variety, July 2, 1947)

HIS BROTHER’S GHOST  (1946)

C. 3 Mar. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13651
B&W  50 Mins.  PD

Director:          Sam Newfield
Writer:             George Milton
Producer:         Sigmund Neufeld
Cinematog.:    John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Editor:              Holbrook Todd
Cast:                  Larry “Buster Crabbe,” Al St. John, Charles King, Archie Hall, Karl Hackett,
Richard Alexander, Roy Brent, John Cason, Arch Hall Sr., Frank McCarroll,
George Morrell, Bud Osborne

Synopsis:    “When sharecroppers on Andy Jones’ vast ranch holdings become panicky and rebellious because a band of raiders have already killed four of their neighbors, pioneer Andy Jones enlists the aid of his friend, Billy Carson to bring the desperadoes to book.  Billy surprises the gang in their hideout, but, by a trick, Thorne, the leader, captures Billy and compels him to go with them on a raid of the sharecroppers.  It is revealed that  Thorne has been hired by two local men– a disbarred  [sic] doctor, and the deputy sheriff– has ambitions of his own, and by a threat, declared himself ‘in’ as a partner, which does not please the doctor or deputy sheriff, because they oppose his vicious methods to get rid of the sharecroppers.  By ruse Billy escapes from his captors, notifies Andy Jones and when they apprehend the killer-raiders, Andy’s twin, Jonathan, (Fuzzy)  Jones, who is a sheep rancher in a close-by county,  rides into town.  When Fuzzy arrives, Andy, on his  deathbed, requests his brother to carry on in his place. When word gets around of Andy Jones’ death, Thorne believes he can make quick work of ridding the Jones ranch of the remaining sharecroppers.  But no one knows  of the existence of Fuzzy.  When two of Thorne’s men encounter Fuzzy, they are startled believing him to be a ghost…. Billy cleverly uses Fuzzy to masquerade as his  dead brother and in that way makes several of Thorne’s men implicate the doctor and the deputy sheriff, who, likewise, confess.  But Thorne is not to be outdone, and  during a vicious gun battle and raid on the  sharecroppers, he captures Fuzzy and uses cruel methods to make him sign over the deed to the Jones ranch.  Fuzzy puts up a valiant fight, Billy rides to his rescue, captures Thorne and his remaining henchmen, to bring them to an end the raids on the sharecroppers.   Fuzzy, now first citizen of the community, takes over  the multiple offices of judge, sheriff, etc., and he  promises his friends and neighbors law and order.”  (publicity release)

Review:    “This is a Classic of all Classic early Westerns with great stars as Buster Crabbe, (Billy Carson), Al St. John,(Fuzzy Jones) and the bad bad guy who always wore a big black hat, Charles King,(Thorne) In this film Thorne is a bandit, con-man who wants to take over all the ranchers property and decides to either scare them off their land or just plain murder them all. Thorne has the doctor, sheriff and other officials in the Western town all wrapped around his little finger and is going to take Fuzzy Jones property, when Billy Carson comes to the aid of his old friend and decides to put an end to this murdering and stealing peoples ranches. There are no cowgirls in this picture at all and no singing cowboys. Charlie King made over two-hundred (200) Western Films and did a great job of standing up to Buster Crabbe. When television was appearing in most households in the 1950’s all these Classic Western’s could be seen on a daily basis until people got sick and tired of them. Enjoy.”  Internet Movie Database

HIS LORDSHIP REGRETS  (1938)

B&W  65 Mins.  NC *1/2  Corel All Movie Guide 2

Director:         Maclean Rogers
Writers:           Kathleen Butler, H.F. Maltby
Producer:        George A. Smigh
Cinematog.:    Geoffrey Faithfull
Story:               “Bees and Honey” (play), by H.F. Maltby
Cast:                 Claude Hulbert, Winifred Shotter, Gina Malo, Athole Stewart, Valentine Dunn,
Annie Esmond, Derek Gorst, Eve Gray, Antony Holles, Aubrey Mallalieu, Gerald
Rawlinson, Michael Ripper, Paul Sheridan, Sally Stewart

Synopsis:    “Interesting English antique, with what were then well-known stars.  Claude Hulbert “attended Cambridge University,…[and]  played and danced in a number of London musical comedies”; he was “Happily married to Enid Trevor, the daughter of the late Colonel Philip Trevor, C.B.E.” and “often appears with his wife on the radio.” Winifred Shotter starred in the stage version of “Rookery Nook,” visited California, and “while there received screen test and a contract with the M.G.M. studio.”  “Gina Malo commenced her stage career as one of the dancers in the famous Albertina Rasch ballet, but it was under her own name, Janet Flynn, that she left  America to appear in France in a musical show.  While still in France she was seen by an American producer, who persuaded her to return to America and appear in the well-known play ‘Sons of Guns.’ It was at the producer’s suggestion that she changed her name to Gina Malo, and with a terrific publicity campaign backing  her, she arrived in her own country heralded as a famous French actress.”

“The story:  “Mabel Van Morgan, daughter of a South African millionaire, is sent by her father to England to get information on Lord Reggie Cavender, a penniless young nobleman to whom her family owes a debt.  To facilitate inquiries, she assumes the name of Mary Edwards, and becomes Reggie’s secretary. Reggie tries to borrow some money from Guy Reading, a shifty  acquaintance, and while engaged on the fruitless mission he meets a girl who introduces herself as Mabel Van Morgan. Mary allows the deception to remain unexposed, and when the scene shifts to Reggie’s mortgaged ancestral home the imposter and Guy get together, each thinking the other a good catch. Reggie’s only hope of saving himself is to contract a wealthy marriage, but  having fallen in love with Mary he jibs at making up to  Mabel.  However, after several complications, Mabel and Guy come on badly and Reggie, thanks to the timely arrival of Mary’s father, gets Mary for his bride.” (publicity release)

HITLER – DEAD OR ALIVE  (1943)

C. 11 Nov. 1942  Charles House  LP11911
B&W  64 Mins.  PD **½  Corel All Movie Guide 2

Director:         Nick Grinde
Writers:           Karl Brown, Sam Neuman
Producer:        B.N. Judell
Cinematog.:    Paul Ivano
Cast:                 Ward Bond, Dorothy Tree, Warren Hymer, Paul Fix, Russell Hicks, Felix Basch,
Bob Watson, Warren Hymer, Eddie Coke, Bruce Edwards, Jack Gardner,
Frederick Gierman, Kenneth Harlan, Myra Marsh, George Sorel

Synopsis:    “During Hitler’s rule of Germany, an American business man offered a $1 million reward for the one who captured him.  This true fact is the basis for this adventure that chronicles the attempts of three ex-cons from Alcatraz, to collect the reward.  They begin by hijacking a truck.  They then steal a bomber from the Canadian air force and fly to Germany where they pose as the musicians engaged to play at one of the Fuhrer’s parties.  They almost succeed in their mad scheme.”  Corel All Movie Guide 2

Reviews:    “A fine example of wishful thinking on the screen is being unreeled currently at the Globe Theater….To describe what does on at the Globe merely as fantastic is an understatement.  For here we have a group of grown people taking part in a charade that is obviously the invention of a bright child tired of playing cops and robbers.  The idea of $1,000,000 reward for the dictator of Germany dead or alive certainly comes under the head  of juvenile fancy….The story is that dream of the successful raid on Hitler’s headquarters and the consequent capture and death of the leader.  This is accomplished by three American gangsters, who start out to get the reward but end by preaching against a regime that murders innocent people.  A sardonic note is achieved in the picture as Hitler, his mustache and forelock cut off, is killed by a German firing squad. This is small comfort, though, in a film as childish as ‘Hitler, Dead or Alive!’ ” (New York Herald Tribune,  March 31, 1943)

“Not quite as awful as some would make it out – but definitely in the ‘so bad it’s funny’ category. In fact, it could have been worse – I smiled a lot but I never laughed out loud as I do with Ed Wood films. There’s nothing credible about the story whatsoever – no, don’t even try. At one point Hitler gets his mustache shaved off, and people who have known him for years can no longer recognize him! The shoddy sets and preposterous plot devices have been remarked by other reviewers, why belabor such points. And Ward Bond’s performance isn’t simply “over the top,” it’s shot out to the stratosphere. There are some funny lines, and the German accents are Monty-Pythonesque caricatures of human speech. The first half drags a bit, but the second half moves along at a fair clip.  One other piece of plotting non-sequitor: The narrator of the story makes out that he can report a dead hero’s last words – unfortunately, nobody present at the death could possibly report these to him. Is he just clairvoyant? And that hero – racketeer, bank-robber, murderer – “A great man,” one character calls him, “a great American” says another. Hmmm….

“Oh well; one positive piece of propaganda does show up toward the end, when the Nazis line a group of children up against a wall and shoot them. A bit of a brutal throw-away in a film like this, but since this is really something Nazis did, it was important to communicate it to American audiences, so they could get a glimpse at their real enemy – which, since this is the point of the film, made this brief brutal moment worth the whole effort, I guess.”  Internet Movie Database

HOLLYWOOD AND VINE  (1945)

C. 25 Apr. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc. LP13579
B&W  60 Mins.  PD

Director:          Alexis Thurn-Taxis
Writers:           Edith Watkins, Charles Williams
Producer:         Leon Fromkess
Cinematog.:     Ira Morgan
Art Director:    George C. VanMarter
Composer:        Lee Zahler
Editor:               Donn W. Hayes
Story:                Edith Watkins, Charles Williams, Robert Wilmot
Cast:                  Leon Belasco, Franklin Pangborn, Jack Raymond, James Ellison, Wanda
McKay,  Ralph Morgan, Billy Benedict, Lillian Bronson, June Clyde, John Elliott,
Robert Greig, Charles Jordan, Donald Kerr, Vera Lewis, Emmett Lynn, Grandon
Rhodes, Cyril Ring, Dewey Robinson, Hal Taggart, Ray Whitley, Charles
Williams

Synopsis:    “Hollywood and Vine is set in a drugstore located at the intersection of the title.  James Ellison plays a successful screenwriter who likes to do his research first-hand.   Assigned to write a film about Hollywood hopefuls, Ellison gets a job as a drugstore soda jerk.  Wanda McKay plays Daisy, a small town girl with dreams of stardom who hangs out at the soda counter in hopes of being discovered.  Despite its tiny budget and brief running time, Hollywood and Vine is jam packed with prominent movie character people, including Franklin Pangborn, Ralph Morgan, Leon Belasco, Robert Grieg, and sometimes “Bowery Boy” Billy Benedict.”  Corel All Movie Guide 2

Reviews:    Satirical comedy “achieves considerable success resulting in a well produced comedy on an adult level. Decidedly a superior item… The satirical barbs are aimed at the commander of a big movie studio who has a dozen members of his family working for him, a brasshat eccentric producer, and the industry in general which is shown capable of making a star out of almost anybody or  anything.  In this instance the fabulous film concern makes a star out of a dog, and the take-off results in some genuinely funny business.  Best in the piece in addition to the dog, which really deserves top billing, are James Ellison as the writer… Wanda McKay… as the gal who has made her way to Hollywood in the hopes of becoming a star and Emmett Lynn as the owner of a  hamburger stand who rises to heights as landlord of valuable Hollywood real estate.  Lynne’s performance is socko…”  (Variety, April 11, 1945)

“Daisy must have been the most overworked animal star of the 1940s. She appeared in over 40 films starting with “Blondie” in 1938 and finishing with “Badman’s Gold” in 1951. Her bread and butter was, of course, the Blondie series but she still found time to appear in films like “The Perfect Snob” (1941) where she was uncredited as “Beano” and “Hollywood and Vine” (1945), where as Emperor, the story revolved around her.  Daisy is the real star of this movie. She plays a cute pooch, Emperor, who goes to Hollywood with a starstruck young hopeful and is the one who makes it big. The movie isn’t much but the story of the dog has some novelty. Emperor becomes a big star – dining at all the fancy restaurants, his picture in the gossip pages, even being investigated for tax evasion. Thrown in is the missing dog angle and a dog hating spinster who tries to claim him and takes the studio to court!!

“Wanda McKay and James Ellison (looking a dead ringer for Ralph Bellamy) supply the tepid romance and two stars from the past – June Clyde as Gloria, who came to Hollywood with stars in her eyes only to end up as a stand-in, and Ralph Morgan, who was a great villain in the early thirties, he plays the head of Lavish Studios.”
Internet Movie Database

I ACCUSE MY PARENTS  (1945)

C. 15 Dec. 1944 PRC Pictures, Inc.  LP13011
B&W  70 Mins.  PD

Director:          Sam Newfield
Writers:           Marjorie Dudley, Harry L. Fraser
Producer:        Max Alexander
Cinematog.:    Robert C. Cline
Art Director:   Paul Palmentola
Music Dir.:       Lee Zahler
Music, Lyrics: Ray Evans, Jay Livingston
Editor:              Charles Henkle, Jr.
Story:                Arthur Caesar
Cast:                 Mary Beth Hughes, Patricia Knox, George Meeker, Edward Earle, Richard
Bartell, George Lloyd, John Miljan, Robert Lowell, Vivienne Osborne

Synopsis:    “Ignored by his alcoholic parents, Jimmy Wilson starts hanging around with some shady characters. After falling in love with a lounge singer, Jimmy tries to impress her by doing jobs for her shady boss. After one of these jobs goes bad, Jimmy ends up on the run. Eventually, he must confront the truth, his past, and his parents. “ Internet Movie Database

“In this youthful drama, a delinquent teen attempts to pin his involvement in crime and a murder on the failings of his parents.  When he is brought to trail for his participation in the murder of the leader of a gang of jewel thieves, the judge agrees, admonishes the parents, who drink and gamble, and acquits the boy.”   Corel All Movie Guide 2

Reviews:    Weak juvenile delinquency morality play starring Mary Beth Hughes.  “Highschool student [is] accused of murdering the head of a gang of jewel thieves.  He is acquitted and his parents, who gamble, drink and neglect him, are given a verbal lashing by the judge…. Themed to prove that there really is no such thing as a delinquent child but that parents are actually to blame,  picture’s message is crude.”  (Variety, January 10,  1945)

“Early in their career, songwriters Jay Livingston & Ray Evans wrote the laughable “Are You Happy in Your Work?” (Do you never, ever shirk?). I suppose this makes the movie notable to trivia buffs, but the film and song are not really worth the effort. Thankfully Jay & Ray went on to write much better songs (“Buttons and Bows”, “Silver Bells”, “Que Sera, Sera”, “Mona Lisa”, etc.) for much better films.”  Internet Movie Database

I’M FROM ARKANSAS  (1944)

C. 15 Dec. 1944 PRC Pictures, Inc.  LP13010
B&W  70 Mins.  PD

Director:          Lew Landers
Writers:           Joseph Carole, Marcy Klauber
Producers:       E.H. Klienert, Irving Vershal
Cinematog.:    Robert Pittack
Art Director:   Paul F. Sylos
Music Dir.:      Eddie Paul
Editor:             John Link
Cast:                 George “Slim” Summerville, Al St. John, Iris Adrian, El Brendel, Bruce Bennett,
Arthur Q. Bryan, Carolina Cotton, Maude Eburne, John Hamilton, Harry Harvey,
Sr., Dan Jackson, Cliff Nazarro, Paul Newlan, Jimmy Wakely, Douglas Wood

Synopsis:    Musical comedy, with 10 songs, comics, double-talker, and Esmeralda, a Poland China hog that appears to be the star of the picture. “Look for the town of Pitchfork on any map of Arkansas  and you won’t find it.  But the sleepy little town is suddenly on the front pages of every paper in the country–all because one of Ma Alden’s sows has a litter of 18 pigs– a new world’s record.  What happens after that could only happen in Arkansas.  Betwixt and between, there’s real romance and music making, a little underhanded trickery and finally a great big barn dance  on a national radio hookup–all in honor of Esmerelda, the big sow and sow.  There’s fun and laughter for the whole family.  Make it an evening of real fine entertainment and see ‘I’m From Arkansas.’ ” (publicity  release)

Review:    “The sleepy town of Pitchfork, Arkansas becomes famous when hillbilly Slim Summerville (as Juniper “Pa” Jenkins) celebrates his prolific pig’s latest litter. Not only does she have a personality (which we never really see), “Esmeralda” is blessed with eighteen piglets. As many Arkansas residents don’t know many numbers more ‘an ten, Mr. Summerville calls it “a heap a’ pigs all in one lump.” This stupid story is partially redeemed by the presence of some legendary country names in the extended cast, moat notably sunshine girl Mary Ford and musician Merle Travis. Best of all are the songs by country and western recording star Jimmy Wakely. Also featured are vocal group The Pied Pipers, yodeling blonde Carolina Cotton, and The Milo Twins. The soundtrack is far superior to the story.” Internet Movie Database

IT’S A JOKE, SON!  (1947)

C. 8 Feb. 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP818
B&W  67 Mins.  PD **½  Corel All Movie Guide 2

Director:          Benjamin Stoloff
Writers:           Robert Kent, Paul Gerard Smith
Producer:         Aubrey Schenk
Cinematog.:    Clyde de Vinna
Art Director:    Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.:       Irving Friedman
Composer:       Alvin Levin
Editor:              Norman Colbert
Cast:                 June Lockhart, Una Merkel, Kenny Delmar, Douglas Dumbrille, Kenneth Farrell,
Jimmy Conlin, Vera Lewis, Margaret McWade, Ida Moore, Ralph Sanford, Matt
Willis

Synopsis:    “The first Eagle-Lion film stars Kenny Delmar as Senator Beauregard Claghorn, his “Allen’s Alley” resident-character heard on Fred Allen’s radio program. Claghorn was a blustery, one-man-Chamber-of-Commerce for all things Southern, who had no tolerence for anything north of the Mason-Dixon line, although he made allowances for South Philly. The character inspired the creation of one of the most popular of the Warners’ cartoon characters, Foghorn Leghorn, who re-worked most of the originals material and style. The title of this movie is a stock line- “it’s a joke, son”—he would feed a befuddled Fred Allen each week. In the film, Claghorn gets into some financial difficulties and is forced by a machine-political gang to enter a race for state senator against his wife (Una Merkel) who appears to have a good chance to beat the political hack backed by the machine. Claghorn is in to siphon votes… “ Internet Movie Database

Review:    Slapstick comedy stars Kenny Delmar, the “Senator Claghorn” of the Fred Allen Radio Show, June Lockhart, and Una Merkel.  “Story follows the theme of [Delmar’s] radio show and, funny as it may be, his constant play on the north vs. south angle seems almost in poor taste, what with the current trouble in the Georgia gubernatorial mansion, the Bilbo purge, etc…. Delmar’s  a southern aristocrat, living on the story of pre-Civil War days and little else, with his only income being from a mint bed.  When his bossy wife is nominated for state senator by her Daughters of Dixie, the political bosses who’ve invaded from the north nominate Delmar to run against her and so split the party vote to leave the way open for their own minion.  After much byplay, during which Delmar is kidnaped and arrives back at the  courthouse just in time for the election, he wins the vote, takes over the pants-wearing in his family and cements the love affair between his daughter and her boyfriend.”  (Variety, January 22, 1947)

“Beauregard Claghorn is a man proud of his Southern roots. He hates anything that might be deemed Northern. His loyalties are deeply rooted South of the Mason-Dixon line, as he’ll tell anyone that asks his opinion. He is married to Magnolia, a strong willed woman and has a lovely young daughter, Mary Lou, who is seeing an ambitious young man, Jeff Davis. The young people would like to get married and settle down to a new kind of business beginning to sweep America: frozen food! Claghorn comes into some money from the sale of mint to a big firm. When Mary Lou tells about Jeff’s plan to invest in a frozen food truck, he decides to give them the money for a down payment. Little prepares him to know that Magnolia has decided to offer the same amount to a patriotic Southern ladies’ organization and plans to run for a seat in the state senate. Beauregard decides to enter the contest himself as a way to get some serious money. “It’s a Joke, Son” is a funny film directed by Benjamin Stoloff, featuring Kenny Delmar, a successful comedian, popular in radio during that time. Una Merkel is seen as Magnolia. Lovely June Lockhart appears as Mary Lou. The film, a running time of only 63 minutes, is a delightful comedy with a few laughs that takes the viewer to a less complicated time in America. “ Internet Movie Database

THE KID SISTER  (1945)

C. 6 Feb. 1945  PRC Pictures, Inc.  LP13639
B&W  56 Mins.  PD

Director:          Sam Newfield
Writer:             Fred Myton
Producer:         Sigmund Newfeld
Cinematog.:    James Brown
Art Director:   Paul Palmentola
Music Dir.:      David Chudnow
Composer:       Albert Glasser
Editor:              Holbrook Todd
Cast:                 Judy Clark, Constance Worth, Frank Jenks, Tommy Dugan, Roger Pryor, Ruth
Robinson, Minerva Urecal, Peggy Wynne

Synopsis:    ““In this comedy, a bookish kid sister reads a psychology book and comes to believe that, according to the book, she is finally “grown up.”  To demonstrate her new maturity she begins chasing her sister’s fiancé.  She then winds up locked in her room during a party held in the fiancé’s honor.  She manages to escape and begins impersonating a maid. She soon meets a handsome burglar who mistakenly believes that she is a moll.  They end up attempting to burgle the fiancé’s home. Mayhem ensues until the young girl finally manages to steal the fiancé’s heart for herself.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Joan Hollingsworth is the younger sister of Ethel and their mother believes Ethel is entitles to all the advantages until she acquires a husband, but Joan thinks otherwise. QForbidden to attend a family dinner given for socialite J. Waldo Barnes, the latest entry in the matrimonial sweepstakes, Joan poses as the family maid in receiving the guests. When her mother discovers her ruse, Joan sneaks out of the house and accepts a ride from a man, a burglar casing the house who thinks Joan is one of the gang. The car is wrecked and Joan escapes on foot, but is overtaken on the grounds of a large estate by motorcycle policeman Michael who accepts her story of being a maid on the estate. Her impersonation is aided by the nearsighted housekeeper, Mrs. Wiggins, who orders her to her room. Inside the mansion, Joan is trapped when the owner, J. Waldo Jones, returns. He decides she is a female “Raffles” who is in need of reform.”
Internet Movie Database

Review:    “This is an example of a good, light comedy done well on a very light budget…. Younger of two daughters who’s been brought up according to the psychology book decides she’s grown up and goes after the man whom mama had tabbed for older sister. Judy Clark plays the youngster very well, and the rest of cast supports her capably.  At reception for older girl’s cool swain, the kid, who’d been ordered to stay in her room, crashes the gate by  posing as the family maid.  She gets herself embroiled with a burglar (Frank Jenks) who takes her for a moll working the same racket.  She and the burglar wind up at the home of the matrimonial catch later in the night. There’s no reason for this, but it’s done so smoothly, and the ensuing comedy is so engaging, that no one should mind the lack of logic.  In the end, of course, the bright youngster had taken the man away from the older sister.”  (Variety, March 21, 1945)

LADY CONFESSES, THE (1945)

C. 16 May 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13595
B&W  66 Mins.  PD

Director:          Sam Newfield
Writer:             Helen Martin
Producer:         Alfred Stern

Cinematog.:     John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Art Director:    Paul Palmentola
Music Dir.:       Lee Zahler
Editor:               Holbrook Todd
Story:                 by Irwin R. Franklyn
Cast:                   Hugh Beaumont, Mary Beth Hughes, Edmund MacDonald, Claudia Drake,
Emmett Vogan, Carol Andrews, Ruth Brande, Jack George, Edward Howard,
Edmund MacDonald, Dewey Robinson, Barbara Slater

Synopsis:    “Shortly before she is to be married, a young woman gets a visit from her fiance’s wife, who had been missing for seven years and presumed dead. Soon both the girl and her fiance find themselves mixed up with a crooked nightclub owner, gangsters and murder. “ Internet Movie Database

Reviews:    “… likeable mystery melodrama with more twists and turns than a scenic railway” starring Mary Beth Hughes and Hugh Beaumont.  “Yarn is woven around gal… who walks out on matrimony.  After seven years spouse [Beaumont] becomes romantically attached to Miss Hughes.  He’s about to invoke Enoch Arden proceedings to have wife declared legally dead so he can marry Miss Hughes when the former wife shows up. She is subsequently murdered and the husband is suspected.  Miss Hughes turns sleuth, hires out as cigarette gal in nitery and gets the goods on  the owner…as the killer.  He gets hep and is about to polish her off when the police break in and nab him… Claudia Drake looks charming and handles several songs neatly in the nightclub sequence…”  (Variety, June 19,  1945)

“Moderately interesting. Has Hugh Beaumont, the Beave’s dad, playing a likable guy who is set to marry a sweet young thing, then has his wife (who disappeared seven years ago) show up. She is murdered and the plot is set in motion. The fiancé begins to investigate things. The problem is that she stands out like a sore thumb. Basically, everyone knows who she is but she is able to impose herself into secure locations and do her thing. There are series of red herrings and obvious suspects, a detective who is calm and vigilant most of the time, ready to protect her. Still, it lacks credibility of plot. When we get to the end, we have it pretty much worked out.”  Internet Movie Database

LAW OF THE LASH  (1947)

C. 6 Feb. 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP838
B&W  54 Mins.  PD

Director:          Ray Taylor
Writer:             William L. Nolte
Producer:         Jerry Thomas
Cinematog.:    Robert C. Cline
Composer:       Albert Glasser
Editor:              Hugo Wynn
Cast:                  Lash LaRue, Al St. John, Charles King, Lee Roberts, Dick Cramer, John Elliot,
Ted French, Carl Mathews, Jack O’Shea, Matty Roubert, Mary Scott, Slim
Whitaker

Synopsis:    “When Decker’s gang holds up a stage, henchman Lefty takes a lady’s rings. Later lefty accidentally exposes the rings buying ammunition and Cheyenne sees them. When Lefty tries to shoot Cheyenne he is captured. Now Cheyenne wants the rest of the gang and their leader.”  Internet Movie Database

Reviews:    Average western introduces Lash La Rue on his own as  bullwhip-wielding western hero.  “Spotty…. Plot spends a vague tale about a disguised U.S. Marshal who is trying to clean up an evil-ridden western town.  He works undercover as a prospector with a bearded pal, Al St. John. It takes no psychiatrist to know that hero will triumph.  He does and the town settles down to a dull life free of colorful outlaws…. On the comic side, Al St. John injects a few laughs…. Production, lensing and other factors are standard for the minor budget.”  (Variety, March 19, 1947)

“When I found a free download of “Law of the Lash” I was happy. I had watched a movie of that title many years ago at a film festival in San Diego, and it was one of the most exciting movies I had ever seen.  There was lots of action, especially of Lash and his whip.  Watching it today, I discovered this film was not the same one. It has far less whip action, but there is an attention to detail by both director Ray Taylor and writer William L. Nolte that merits a very high rating.Sound effects are also very good. Al St. John was a great cowboy and probably the best of the intendedly funny side-kicks. Be sure to watch for him scratching his foot in this movie. His last scene, though, could have been edited out. Lash LaRue actually could act, and he shows it here. Perhaps most fascinating of all, everybody’s favorite villain, Charles King, gets to play a good guy, a sheriff even! So it’s not “Gone With the Wind,” it’s a great ‘B’ western.”  Internet Movie Database

LIGHTHOUSE  (1946)

C. 10 Jan. 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP792
B&W  62 Mins.  PD **½ Corel All Movie Guide 2

Director:          Frank Wisbar
Writer:             Robert B. Churchill
Cinematog.:    Walter Strenge
Art Director:   Glenn Thompson
Composer:       Ernest Gold
Editor:              Robert Jahns
Story:                by Don Martin
Cast:                 John Litel, Don Castle, June Lang, Marian Martin, Richard Bailey, Charles
Wagenheim

Synopsis:    “Looks like the film that might have inspired Hugo Hass to make one like it twice a year in the early fifties. Connie (June Lang) is all smitten with lighthouse keeper Sam Wells (Don Castle), but he brushes her off and she ups and marries his fellow-lighthouse keeper Hank Armitage (John Litel) out of spite. All three live together in the close confines of the lighthouse and jealously and recrimination rise nearly as high inside as the pounding surf and howling winds outside. It also begins to look like an Edgar G. Ulmer) film, if it wasn’t so semi-rational. Sam is pleased with the situation that appears to him to promise action with no responsibilities. But Connie, in addition to rebuffing Sam’s unwanted passes, is actually falling in love with ol’ Hank. Trouble is brewing.”  Internet Movie Database

Reviews:    “Three people are one too many in the lonely outpost used as locale for ‘Lighthouse.’  When a girl marries one man to spite another and then finds herself in isolation with both, the fireworks ought to be bigger and better, however, than those provided in New York’s current film. Despite the intriguing premise, practically everything that happens in ‘Lighthouse’ is an anti-climax…. audiences can’t help being disappointed in  the comparatively mild maneuvers by which the explosive triangle becomes a harmonious duo.”(New York News,  February 5, 1947)

“This PRC quickie stars John Litel, Don Castle, June Lang and Marion Martin. Litel is in charge of a small harbor lighthouse with Castle as his assistant. It is a somewhat dull life that is only broken by the twice a month weekend visits to town. Castle, a womanizing cad, is seeing June Lang at the moment. He is having a great time while stringing her along with promises of marriage. Lang pushes the marriage angle so Castle just stays away. After a month or two goes by Lang takes a boat out to the lighthouse. She wants to know one way or the other what gives. She meets Litel who informs her that Castle is in town seeing his wife. “His wife!” Lang has been played and she knows it. She invites Litel to stop by and see her next time he is in town. Litel does and soon falls for Lang. Lang is just plotting a bit of payback on Castle. Litel and Lang have a quick courtship and then get married. The pair take up residence on the island. Castle is of course surprised by the appearance of his former dolly. Both Castle and Lang play it cool and pretend not to know each other. He tells Lang that the reason he had stopped seeing her was that he was getting a divorce. Once that was final he had intended to marry her. Has Lang made a mistake? Does Castle really love her? Of course not, the so called wife turns out to be a bar room pick up. Lang, who has started to have real feelings for Litel, tells Castle to drop dead.

“It does not take long before Castle starts making moves on Lang. Now that he can’t have her, Lang becomes all the more desirable. He arranges a little accident for Litel. It is just a matter of luck that Litel ends up in the hospital and not the morgue. A broken leg and such require several weeks of bed rest before Litel and Lang can return to the lighthouse. When they do, Lang tells Castle to pack his bags and leave the island. She does love Litel and wants nothing more to do with Castle. Castle does not take this well and goes after Litel with a large wrench. There is a knock down drag out with Litel doing a decent job of defending himself. Just as Castle gets the upper hand Lang pulls a large pistol and waves it at Castle. Castle is tossed off the island and Lang comes clean with Litel about her past. Litel and Lang embrace. THE END

“Though this is more of a melodrama than a noir, it is imo well worth a look. I must admit to a real fondness for these bottom of the barrel specials. The acting is fine with Litel turning in a solid performance. Lang and Castle are equally up to the task.

…. The director was German Frank Wisbar. His American films had titles like STRANGLER OF THE SWAMP and THE DEVIL BAT’S DAUGHTER. He did however make several good WW2 films about wartime Germany….The writing staff was R.B. Churchill and Don Martin….”  Internet Movie Database

MAN WHO WALKED ALONE, THE  (1945)

C. 15 Mar. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13577
B&W  64 Mins.  PD

Director:          William Christy Cabanne
Writers:           William Christy Cabanne, Robert Lee Johnson
Producer:        Leon Fromkess
Cinematog.:    James S. Brown, Jr.
Art Director:   Paul Palmentola
Music Dir.:      Karl Hajos
Composer:      Karl Hajos
Editor:             Donn W. Hayes
Story:               by Christy Cabanne
Cast:                 Dave “Tex” O’Brien, Elmo Lincoln, Isobel Randolph, Jack Raymond, Kay
Aldridge, Walter Catlett, Guinn Williams, Smith Ballew, Don Brodie, Chester
Clute, William B. Davidson, Tom Dugan, Dick Elliott, Lloyd Ingraham, Charles
Jordan, Tom Kennedy, Donald Kerr, Ruth Lee, Frank Melton, Jack Mulhall, Paul
Newlan,  Vivian Oakland, Nancy June Robinson, Eddy Waller, Charles Williams

Nominated for Academy Award for Best Score (Karl Hajos)

Synopsis:    “Marion Scott, honorably discharged WW II soldier, in “civies” and carrying a suitcase containing his uniform and medals, is hitch-hiking to the small hometown of a buddy killed overseas, intending to make it his home. En-route, he encounters wealthy society girl Wilhelmina Hammond, who is running away from her stuffed-shirt fiancée, Alvin Bailey and has taken his car without permission. Marion and Wilhelmina are bickering over a blow-out and an empty gas tank when the local cops appear and haul them off to jail on a car-theft charge. Wilhelmina establishes her identity and is released and, intrigued by Marion whom she suspects is a deserter, arranges his release also. She takes him to the Hammond estate and tells Marion, who does not know her true identity, she is Mrs. Hammond’s secretary. Wilhelmina has no keys to the home and they are arrested again when they are caught crawling into the house through a window… “ Internet Movie Database

Reviews:    “Story centers about medically discharged corporal who had decided to settle in the hometown of a dead buddy. Walking toward the town, he is given a lift by a rich girl who had taken her fiancé’s car for a getaway from the man she’d prefer not to marry.  They get pinched twice, once for being in the automobile that been reported stolen, again for trying to climb into the  gal’s country home through a window.  Hero is suspected by girl’s family of being a deserter and is so reported to cops.  But instead of a posse, there come the police band, plus mayor and governor, to greet the returned hero.  Girl who swore she would never marry the other guy had somehow got into her wedding gown just the same, and ends up riding in the parade besides the corporal.  Nothing particularly wrong with any of the cast, but  there is nothing outstanding with any of them, either.”  (Variety, March 21, 1945)

“Of the many “forgotten” films this gem of a screwball comedy deserves resurrection more than most. Produced by an obscure organization (Producers Releasing Corporation) and written and directed by Christy Cabanne (who?), it is a combination of the elements of IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT and MY MAN GODFREY but with an entirely original twist in that the identify of our leading man and lady are unknown to each other for most of the film. Indeed we don’t know who she is until half way through and we don’t learn his identity until the end – with rumor and innuendo rampant throughout. Cabanne directs the leads (B players Kay Aldridge – who bears an uncanny resemblance to Stockard Channing – and Dave O’Brien) with flair – they are bright, full of personality and their chemistry is marvelous. The film is peopled with fine character actors – Walter Catlett as a befuddled butler; Isabel Randolph as an exasperated matron; Ruth Lee as a wisecracking aunt and Nancy Robinson as an obnoxious brat of a younger sister. This is sheer delight from start to finish. Its 71 minutes fly by. Although deserving of an Oscar nom for Original Story, the only nod the Academy gave it was one for Original Score (sprightly and humorously orchestrated but rather brief). “ Internet Movie Database

MARKED FOR MURDER (1945)

C. 8 Feb. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13560
B&W  56 Mins.  PD

Director:          Elmer P. Clifton
Writer:             Elmer P. Clifton
Producer:        Arthur Alexander
Cinematog.:    Edward Kull
Music Dir.:      Lee Zahler
Editor:             Holbrook Todd
Cast:                 Tex Ritter, Dave Tex” O’Brien, Guy Wilkerson, Marilyn McConnell, Edward
Cassidy, Henry Hall, Jack Ingram, Charles King, Bob Kortman, Kermit Maynard

Synopsis:    Singing cowboy movie, with Tex Ritter as a Texas Ranger. “For no apparent reason, a war has broken out between the cattlemen and the sheepmen.  Dave Wyatt is sent from Ranger Headquarters to solve the cause of the feud. The  cattlemen…and the sheepmen… meet in the office of Sheriff Whitlock.  An argument starts, which is interrupted by the entrance of Dave and Tex.  Sam  Taylor, the owner of the general store, offers his services to Sheriff Whitlock in an effort to quiet the quarreling factions [but he in reality tries to stir things up. Tex eventually learns that Taylor’s henchmen are planning to ambush the cattlemen in the jail.]  The heavies arrive at the jail and a gun fight starts. The Sheriff is wounded and [the] cattlemen put up a gallant fight.  When it seems as if they will be overpowered, Tex, Dave and the sheepmen arrive.  The heavies are rounded up and Sam Taylor is revealed as the leader.”  (publicity release)

“Rangers Dave and Panhandle arrive and are joined by Lawyer Tex to try and stop the range war between the ranchers and the sheep men. After they jail the ranchers for attacking the sheep men, they are lead away from town by a decoy as the real culprits head for town to kill the ranchers and blame the sheep men.Internet Movie Database

Review:    “Singing cowboy great Tex Ritter stars in the B-Western favorite from the 1940’s. In this one, Tex appears again with frequent co-star Dave O’Brien . The two are caught in the middle of a frontier spat between sheep men and ranchers. In between a few homespun cowpoke tunes, lawyer Ritter helps to restore order amongst the various feuding factions. Ritter was not much of an actor, but always seemed at home on the range. His personable, witty style here fore-shadowed the lovable characters his son John Ritter would also make famous a few decades later. He was a great singer/songwriter, which made this a very enjoyable western programmer. “ Internet Movie Database

MISSING CORPSE, THE  (1945)

C. 6 June 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13657
B&W  62 Mins.  PD

Director:          Albert Herman
Writer:             Ray Schrock
Producer:         Martin Mooney
Cinematog.:    James S. Brown, Jr.
Art Director:    Paul Palmentola
Composer:        Karl Hajos
Editor:               Donn W. Hayes
Story:                 Harry O. Hoyt
Cast:                   J. Edward Bromberg, Archie Twitchell, Isabel Randolph, Frank Jenks, Eric
Sinclair, Paul Guilfoyle, Ben Weldon, John Shay, Lorell Sheldon, Mary Arden,
Charles Coleman, Charles Jordan, Anne O’Neal, Jean Ransome, John Canada
Terrell, Eddy Waller, Isabel Withers

Synopsis:    “In this comical murder mystery, a newspaper publisher takes desperate measures when his nemesis and chief competitor is murdered.  Knowing that he will be the first person accused, the publisher decides he must somehow keep the corpse away from the cops.  The trouble is, the body just won’t stay hidden.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

Reviews:    Comedy/mystery starring J. Edward Bromberg.  “It has pace, sufficient laughs and performances by cast which, if anything, enhance story content.  J. Edward Bromberg portrays a publisher who is feuding with a business rival. He blows his top after heated argument and threatens to erase the latter, one way or another.  Paul Guilfoyle, the rival, is found dead.  Naturally finger of suspicion points at Bromberg, who has a merry time of  it trying to hide the stiff, with aid of his wisecracking auto jockey, Frank Jenks.  Of course, the audience knows Ben Welden, an ex-con whom Guilfoyle had ‘framed,’ knocked him off, but Bromberg doesn’t find out until denouement…. pace… sustains suspense throughout… camera work okay, too.”  (Variety, June  27, 1945)

“PRC produces an enjoyable item here with little funding, a comedic melodrama that successfully incorporates both verbal and visual humour, along with a dollop of suspense, in creating a picture notable for its rare featured performance by veteran supporting actor J. Edward Bromberg, skillful direction, and especially effective scoring, in addition to a clever scenario that benefits from perfect pacing to smoothly advance the action. A whimsical plot requires that scripting, acting, and editing combine equally to avoid mere giddiness, and that is the case here, with Bromberg cast as Henry Kruger, an ethical newspaper publisher who threatens Andy McDonald, his counterpart upon a rival big city (Los Angeles) tabloid, with physical harm after McDonald splashes a nightclub escapade involving Kruger’s daughter upon his journal’s front page. After the blackmailing McDonald is murdered by one of his victims, his corpse is chased from the unsuspecting Kruger’s automobile trunk to a series of makeshift hiding places, with humorous perplexity resulting from Kruger’s attempts to avoid being implicated in the homicide. Director Albert Herman, for his final feature film commission, ably leads his actors in the briskly gaited affair, and manages in fine fashion to balance comedy with sequences of suspense, aided throughout by a splendid score contributed by classically trained Karl Hajos, who adds pages to his prior work from studio stock, seamlessly blending the total into the narrative. Acting is of variable merit, with Frank Jenks winning the Thespic laurels in the role of Kruger’s chauffeur and companion, a typically sharply defined performance from him, capitalizing upon his impeccable sense of timing.”  Internet Movie Database

OATH OF VENGEANCE  (1944)

C. 9 Dec. 1944 P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13576
B&W  50 Mins.  PD

Director:         Sam Newfield
Writer:             Fred Myton
Producer:        Sigmund Neufeld
Cinematog.:   Robert E. Cline
Editor:             Holbrook N. Todd
Cast:                 Buster Crabbe, Falcon (Horse), Al St. John, Mady Lawrence, Jack Ingram,
Charles King, Marin Sais, Karl Hackett, Kermit Maynard, Hal Price, Frank Ellis,
Jimmy Aubrey, Hank Bell, Ralph Bucko, John L. Cason, Dee Cooper, Jack Evans,
Morgan Flowers, Augie Gomez, Herman Hack, Jack Hendricks, Jack Kenny,
Frank McCarroll, Tex Palmer, Rose Plumer, Jack Tornek, Wally West,

Synopsis:    “Fuzzy opens a store only to find that everyone buys on credit. The absence of cash is due to the range war between the cattlemen and the farmers started by Kinney. The Sheriff being worthless, Billy is quickly drawn into the conflict. “ Internet Movie Database

Review:    “Pretty amusing movie for such a standard storyline. AKA, a bad guy in town sets up the ranchers and the settlers to go against each other, and the middleman can profiteer of all of the cattle he steals from them too1 New man in town, Billy Carson, along with his ever present side kick Fuzzy, have suspicions about the origins of this feud, so they do a little investigating. Unfortunately, one of the female ranchers, thoroughly disagrees with this reasoning, and rips a new one into Carson every chance she gets. Fuzzy, for good reason stands back while all of this is happening. Pretty soon, Carson tries to stand back and tries to let the feuders realize who is setting them up. But will Carson be forced to intervene again? You know, the more I watch the Buster Crabbe westerns, the more I like them. They’re quite lightweight, have plenty of action, and have a great pairing of Crabbe and Al St John sure make a good team. As a matter of fact, John often steals the movie from Crabbe. He’s quite funny with his facial expressions and what not. Predictable, but yet entertaining!!  Internet Movie Database

PASSPORT TO HEAVEN (a/k/a I WAS A CRIMINAL, a/k/a CAPTAIN OF KOEPENICK)  (1945)

B&W; 71 mins.;NC

Director:           Richard Oswald [born Richard Ornstein in Europe; directed and produced
many German films, beginning in 1914; had own production company; fled
Nazis and settled in U.S.; father of Gerd Oswald, director of U.S. B-movies and
TV shows] 2nd Unit Dir.:   Gerd Oswald
Writers:             Ivan Goff, Albrecht Joseph, Carl Zuckmayer, based on the novel Der
Hamptmann van Kopenick, by Albrecht Joseph and Carl Zuckmayer
Producer:          John Hall
Cinematog.:     John Alton
Prod.Co.:           Producers Releasing Corporation
Distrib.:             Film Classics Inc.
Cast:                   Albert Basserman, Mary Brian, Eric Blore, Herman Bing, George Chandler, Luis
Alberni, Wallis Clark, Elsa Basserman, Claud Allister, Bernard Gorcey, Hobart
Cavanaugh, Frnak Orth, Sig Arno, Russell Hicks, Sheldon Bennett, Richard
Alexander, Vera Lewis, Walter O. Stahl, Brian O’Hara, Geraldine Gray, Greta
Doe, George Sherwood, George Eldredge, Lionel Belmore, Robert Windon, Jack
Chefe, Crane Whitley, Douglas Rutherford, Ted Jacques, Max Willenz, Dan
Stowell, Frank McGlynn Sr.

Synopsis:    “The story of a cobbler who, after release from prison, cannot find work, nor can he obtain a passport, due to his criminal record.  He ultimately poses as an Army Captain and through several clever manipulations, he take over Command of a principal city under martial law.  The local city officials finally become aware of the hoax and are forced to give him a passport so that he will move and find freedom elsewhere.  Based on a famous story and play, ‘The Captain From Keopenick’ by Carl Zuckmayer and Allbright[sic] Joseph.” (publicity release)

Trivia:        “Completed as ‘Passport to Heaven’ in 1941, but unable to find a distributor due to the outbreak of World War II, which made its German settings and characterizations unpalatable to the American public; eventually picked up by Film Classics in 1945, but received few bookings, probably for the same reason; the only review it ever received was in Exhibitor Magazine in July 1946, who also commented on this same problem; eventually picked up for television release by NTA in the 1950’s, but only infrequently shown.” Internet Movie Database

“Outstanding, 12 September 2004 [8 out of a possible 10 stars] I don’t understand why this movie is listed as “I Was a Criminal.” It was released in the U.S., and shown on television years ago, as Passport to Heaven.
A really outstanding, touching movie that featured a distinguished performance by Basserman. This movie appeared toward the end of the Second World War, and on one level was very crude anti-German propaganda. But its subtext, the yearning for freedom, is universal.One real tragedy is that this movie simply vanished from the face of the earth. It is not available in any format, DVD or video. A real shame. My thanks to the other commenter for sharing his recollections of the film.” Internet Movie database

“This film used to run on TV in the very early days and is based on a true event. There is a German color version and and earlier version by this same director. This is a small film about a simple man against the state. It is both funny and deeply touching and Basserman gives perhaps his greatest performance. I know it as “Passport to Heaven,” but it was released under several titles. It is a shame that this film cannot be found in any format. I remember this:

“I had a dream and a voice said, ‘Soon you will take your last gulping breath and stand before God the father. And God will ask you what have you made with your life, and you will have to answer..Doormats…In prison…for all the world to step upon…and God will say, That is not what I gave you life for…You owe me a life….where is it…what have you done with it…Get out..you have come to the wrong department'”

I still remember after all these years…What a shame that you can’t see it for yourselves……..”  Internet Movie Database

PHANTOM OF 42ND STREET, THE  (1945)

C. 2 May 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13570
B&W  60 Mins.  PD

Directors:          Albert Herman, Martin Mooney
Writer:               Milton M. Raison
Producers:        Al Herman, Martin Mooney
Cinematog.:     James Brown
Art Director:    Paul Palmentola
Composer:         Karl Hajos
Editor:               Hugh Wynn
Set Decor.:        Harry Reif
Story:                 by Jack Harvey and Milton Raison
Cast:                   Dave “Tex” O’Brien, Kay Aldridge, Alan Mowbray, Frank Jenks, Johnny
Crawford, Cyril Delevanti, Edythe Elliott, Vera Marshe, Jack Mulhall, Paul
Power, Stanley Price

Synopsis:    “A policeman teams up with a drama critic to solve a mystery in this drama.  They look into a case involving a wealthy, famous uncle who is killed backstage.  His death destroys the Broadway debut of the uncle’s niece whose father, also a very popular actor, becomes the prime suspect as the recently bankrupt fellow was in line to inherit the uncle’s fortune.  It is a complex case, but somehow the critic and the cop are able to sort through it all and reveal the killer’s identity.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“An actor is killed during the performance of a play and critic Tony Woolrich (Dave O’Brien) undertakes to solve the crime. Claudia Moore (Kay Aldridge, in her last movie role), the girl he loves, is suspected, but when two more deaths occur, she is also threatened by the Phantom Killer. During a production of “Julius Caesar” the killer makes a final attempt. “ Internet Movie Database

Reviews:    “Likeable whodunit woven around the theater and members of ‘the royal family of that era’….It zips along at a merry pace that arrests attention from outset and sustains it throughout…. Kay Aldridge is making her Broadway debut in a new play.  Preem is snafued by murder of her wealthy uncle backstage.  Alan Mowbray,  the actress’s father, is suspected.  Although starring in a current hit, he’s known to be short of coin.  Being next of kin he’ll naturally inherit his brother’s estate.  Dave O’Brien, drama critic, muffs the murder yarn for his sheet but later teams with… head of the homicide squad, to crack the case.  This and two other  murders are pinned on Mowbray’s dresser.”  (Variety,  June 6, 1945)

“This is a creative cheapie from PRC. I like Dave O’Brien. He ought to have had a major career in films. He’s good here, but I guess PRC was not the place to forge a career. I think I saw this on local TV years ago. If not, I saw many mysteries like it. This is about murders involving a theatrical family. Alan Mowbry, looking quite gone to seed, plays the patriarch. He gets to ham it up a little in “Julius Caesar.” Forty-second Street! Wow, are there ever phantoms wandering around! At the time this was made, they were pining for the days of the Ziedgfeld Girl. Then there were legitimate theaters, where plays were performed. Next came years of decline: peep shows, etc. Now it is all cleaned up and is like a vast mall. It isn’t much fun. The phantoms will go elsewhere.”  Internet Movie Database

PLOTTERS, THE (a/k/a THE PRIMITIVES)  (1966)

C. 1957  Border Film Productions
B&W  80 Mins.  NC

Director:          Alfred Travers
Writers:           Moris Farhi, Alfred Travers
Producer:        Olive Negus-Fancey
Music:               Edmundo Ros
Cinematog.:    Michael Reed
Editor:              Alfred Cox
Cast:                Jan Holden, Bill Edwards, Rio Fanning, George Mikell, Terence Fallon, Derek
Ware, Peter Hughes, Nigel Green, John Junkin, John Barrard, Tom Bowman,
Barry Jackson, George Roderick, Edmundo Ros

Synopsis:    “A diabolically clever gang of thieves continues to escape detection… and puzzle police forces throughout the world!  Fronted by a glamorous woman who poses as a professional dancer, THE PLOTTERS… daring, deceptive… the most successful gang of thieves to ever walk away from robbery on a grand scale with unbelievable hauls of riches… continues to taunt world-famed agencies of detection with its ability to escape detection!  Finally… due to the dogmatic efforts of a Scotland Yard inspector and the determination of a young journalist… the ring is broken… and the gang is put to a trial beyond its wildest reckoning!  Can a gang of criminals cope with the one humane test… the decision that will force them to turn on one of their own, in order to save a plane filled with human cargo from being blown to bits before their eyes?  The tumultuous decision builds to a hair-splitting climax!” (publicity release)

Reviews:    “A  troupe of musicians, headlined by a beautiful female dancer, doubles in its off-hours as a gang of international jewel thieves.  Scotland Yard tumbles to their modus operandi, which includes a wry sense of humor for each theft, just as they decide to pull their “last job” in London– a L300,000 diamond heist. The pace is fast and it is surprisingly well-acted.  Some memorable dialog:

Male member of troupe, after having his romantic proposal turned down by the female dancer:  “What have you got against men?”

Dancer:  “This is a dog-eat-dog world, and I’ve cut out men from my diet!”

“In this crime drama, a clever band of thieves are led by a lovely dancer.” Corel All         Movie Guide 2

“A group of night club musicians,featuring an exotic dancer,commit jewel robberies,wherever they perform. THE PRIMITIVES is one of the many routine minor second feature crime movies churned out in the UK in the late 50’s and early 60’s.This one is a little unusual,firstly in the occupations of the crooks,and secondly in showing a woman as the gang boss(not very common at the period,or now come to that).She is played by talented Jan Holden,an actress with an uncommon and striking sort of beauty,in a rare leading role(Miss Holden is clearly not the masked exotic dancer we see performing in the Primitives stage act).Lighter in tone,and with less overt violence than was common in these sort of movies,THE PRIMITIVES lacks any real thrills or dramatic tension.Jan Holden excepted,the cast mostly act without much enthusiasm. Some(like me)quite enjoy watching this kind of low budget movie,as they preserve an early sixties Britain we remember with affection.  One odd point is that Jan Holden,leader of the Primitives,uncannily resembles Tracy Cattell,lead singer of British 80’s pop band-the Primitives!”  Internet Movie Database

ROGUES GALLERY  (1944)

C. 1 Jan. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13558
B&W  60 Mins.  PD

Director:          Albert Herman
Writer:             John T. Neville
Producers:       Albert Herman, Donald C. McKean
Cinematog.:    Ira Morgan
Art Director:   Paul Palmentola
Music Dir.:       Lee Zahler
Editor:              Fred Bain
Set Decor.:       Harry Reif
Cast:                  Frank Jenks, H.B.Warner, Robin Raymond, Davison Clark, Earle Dewey, Patrick
Gleason, Robert E. Homans, Edward Keane, Milt Kibbee, George Kirby, Frank
McGlynn, Sr., Jack Raymond, Gene Roth [Stutenroth], John Valentine, Ray
Walker

Synopsis:    “Reporter Patsy Reynolds (Robin Raymond) and photographer Eddie Porter (Frank Jenks)are assigned to interview John Foster (Davison Clark), head of the Emmerson Foundadtion regarding a listening device the organization is working on. Foster evades them and they to the lab to see Professor Reynolds (H. B. Warner), the real inventor. Soon, they are involved in several shootings, blueprints that change hands several times, a corpse in their car that appears and disappears a few times, the loss of their jobs and several people who either think they are killers or candidates for being killed. “ Internet Movie Database

Reviews:    “Lightweight whodunit of cut-and-dried pattern…. Robin  Raymond plays a gal reporter and Frank Jenks is her news  photographer pal, both assigned to interview H. B. Warner, inventor of a trick device.  They stumble into a murder and a couple of near homicides before turning up Ray Walker, rival scribe, as the culprit who’s committed to steal plans of the invention.”  (Variety, February  21, 1945)

“For the second day in a row I’m forced to use the word ‘brainless’ to describe a movie I’ve just watched. Yesterday it was the Bowery Boys in “Master Minds”, but with them you expect a bit of nonsense to go with the story. “Rogues Gallery” is just a mess from the word go, as a couple of investigative reporters from the Daily Express attempt to get the scoop on a new invention and the murders that follow trying to steal those plans. What I wonder about when I watch a film like this is how any of the players could possibly make any sense out of the story. The drawings for this top secret listening device trade hands a number of times, while a couple of dead bodies wind up here and there in a dubious version of musical chairs. The invention at the center of the story was interesting though, a form of wireless communication that could pick up voices at a distance. Cell phone anyone? Now that I think about it, how secret would those plans be once they appeared in the newspaper? Those Emerson Foundation guys opened up the diagram of the device so Eddie Porter (Frank Jenks) could take a picture for the front page!

“The film could probably have been more tolerable if the chemistry between photographer Eddie and reporter Patsy Clark (Robin Raymond) worked a bit better. Most of the time their banter fell flat, while the whistling gag was annoying the first time around. They even used the old lights out trick, not once but twice to have the invention drawings disappear. You would think there’d be a safe in that big old lab where they could have kept them in one place for a while. Probably the thing that kept me going with this flick was the uncanny resemblance the two leads had to other actors of the era. Frank Jenks kept reminding me of Bob Hope, while Robin Raymond came across like a poor man’s Martha Raye. Interesting because Hope and Raye teamed up in a dubious romantic comedy of their own five years earlier, in 1939’s “Never Say Die”.”  Internet Movie Database

SHADOWS OF DEATH  (1945)

C. 19 April 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13559
B&W  60 Mins.  PD

Director:          Sam Newfield
Writer:             Fred Myton
Producer:         Sigmund Neufeld
Cinematog.:    John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Editor:              Holbrook Todd
Cast:                  Larry “Buster” Crabbe, Al St. John, John Cason, Frank Ellis, Karl Hackett, Eddie
Hall, Charles King, Emmett Lynn, Frank McCarroll, Edward Peil, Dona Dax

Synopsis:    “Steven Landreau, a gambler, murders Dave Hanley to get possession of a map that shows the route of a proposed new railroad.  He intends to grab all the property he can along the route and force the railroad to pay a high price for their right of way. Billy Carson, friend of Hanley, vows to bring the unidentified murderer to justice and is certain that the killer stole the map.  Knowing that the railroad is to run through Red Rock Valley, he heads for there. Landreau goes to Red Rock and opens a gambling house. Fuzzy Jones, barber, town marshall, Justice of the Peace and blacksmith, resents this action without his permission and goes to the place to close it. He is thrown out on his ear, just as Billy Carson arrives. Carson joins the fight, incurring Landreau’s enmity. Landreau sets out to acquire the Kincaid ranch, which is along the proposed railroad route and gets Clay Kincaid, the owner, hopelessly into his debt in a poker game. Kincaid is in love with Bab Darcey and when she shows interest in Billy, he gives Carson the choice of leaving town or shooting it out. Meantime, Billy becomes convinced that Landreau killed Hanley. He breaks into Steve’s office in the hope of finding the map that would be proof. He and Fuzzy are surprised by the gambler’s henchmen before they can find the map, but in the excitement that follows, Steve unwittingly betrays its hiding place. Steve plans to eliminate both Billy and Clay by fostering a fight between them and having his henchmen on hand to see that both are killed. The plan kicks back when the henchmen are killed, but Clay is wounded. Billy captures Steve in a hand to hand fight, then he straightens things out between Clay and Babs.  Fuzzy performs the marriage ceremony.” (publicity release)

Review:    “Well, here’s something I didn’t know, aside from making laughable serials, Crabbe also made quite a number of westerns. Here, in the amazingly titled Shadows Of Death, Crabbe is presented as the “King of The Wild West” (??) and that he and his partner, affectionately (I’m sure) named Fuzzy (there’s always a sidekick in these westerns that wind up with a stupid name) are presented as “Our Old Pals”. Whatever you say Mr. Movie! Anyways, Crabbe arrives into town to help his friend Fuzzy with a suspicious individual who may or may not have murdered a courier with some important documents to widen a town. There’s also a feeble love interest in there somewhere for good measure. All in all, this Western was certainly passable, it was certainly surprising to see Buster Crabbe in something else than Sci-Fi, and he actually looks comfortable in a cowboy hat. The plot is not bad, but I could have liked a little less stupid comedy from Fuzzy. “ Internet Movie Database

STRANGE ILLUSION (a/k/a OUT OF THE NIGHT) (1945)

C. 31 March 1945 P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  L 13657
B&W  80 Mins.  PD

Director:           Edgar G. Ulmer
Writer:              Adele Comandini
Producer:         Leon Fromkess
Cinematog.:    Philip Tannura
Art Director:   Paul Palmentola
Music Dir.:       Leo Erdody
Editor:              Carl Pierson
Set Decor.:       Elias H. Reif/Harry Reif
Costumes:        Harold Bradow
Story:                Fritz Rotter
Cast:                 James Lydon, Sally Eilers, Regis Toomey, Warren William, Charles Arnt,
Jameson Clark, Jimmy Clark, John Hamilton, Jayne Hazard, Mary McLeod,
Victor Potel, George H. Reed, Sonia Sorel, Pierre Watkin

Synopsis:    “Paul, a young man whose father was once lieutenant Governor of California before his untimely death, has a strange, recurring dream in which his mother falls in love with a dangerous man (Brett Curtis), a dream which also contains the image of his father’s death in an automobile accident under mysterious circumstances. Through the help of his friend, a psychiatrist, Paul realizes that his dream is coming true, and that his mother is falling under Curtis’s influence. Curtis, in fact, is a homicidal maniac who lives as an out-patient at the sanitarium of the unscrupulous Dr. Muhlbach. When Curtis makes an attempt to marry Paul’s mother, Paul intervenes, and after a series of events discovers that Muhlbach and Curtis murdered Paul’s father many year earlier, just as it happened in Paul’s dream. “ Internet Movie Database

Reviews:    “Adolescent Paul Cartwright believes that his father’s death and his mother’s plans for remarriage are not merely coincidental.  This suspicion becomes solidified after he receives a letter written by his father before the man was found dead. Spurred on by this message from beyond the grave, Paul decides to feign insanity in the hopes of catching his mother’s suitor off guard and exposing him as his father’s murderer. Committed to an asylum by his mother at the prompting of her fiancé, Brett Curtis, the youth is subjected to intense scrutiny by the hospital staff. The plan nearly backfires in the sinister surroundings of the asylum, which drives Paul to the edge of sanity. Finally, the youth gathers enough evidence to convict his mother’s lover as his father’s murderer.

“Strange Illusion is another stylish, low-budget feature directed by Edgar G. Ulmer; but unlike his other noir efforts, notably Detour and Ruthless, Strange Illusion is a relatively actionless production.  The most interesting aspect of the film rests in its updating of Hamlet, complete with the message from beyond the grave and the faked insanity, into a contemporary thriller. The noir tone of Strange Illusion is accentuated by both Warren William’s portrayal of the lecherous cad and the claustrophobic atmosphere of the mental hospital. William, who for the previous decade had been one of the Warner’s studios matinee idols, adds a naturalistic dimension to the character of the suave, middle-aged gigolo Brett who leers at teenage girls lounging around a private pool. The asylum sequences, on the other hand, are controlled visions of chaos and corruption, a mental hell sardonically defined by Ulmer.” (Film Noir, Silver and Ward, The Overlook Press, 1979)

“This was a good acting role for James Lydon, as a mature young man protecting his mother. But, one wonders, is he too protective? Paul Cartwright becomes weary when his mother starts dating again, one year after his fathers tragic death. The man is smooth and challenges Paul about his interest in criminology. Paul starts investigating, and comes up with interesting facts about Mr. Curtis. The story is a good one, as we unravel this mystery about the death of Paul’s father. Don’t miss this.”  Interrnet Movie Database

SUNSET RANGE  (1935)

C. March 1935  First Division Productions, Inc.  LP5421
Color  59 Mins.  PD

Director:          Ray McCarey
Writer:             Paul Schofield
Cinematog.:    Gilbert Warrenton
Editor:              Ralph Dietrich
Cast:                  Edward “Hoot” Gibson, Mary Doran, James C. Eagles, John Elliott, Eddie Lee,
Ralph Lewis, Walter McGrail, Kitty McHugh, Martha Sleeper

Synopsis:    “In this western, a young woman’s little brother hides the loot he swiped from his outlaw gang in her trunk.  His action gets his sister in a heap of trouble.  Her brother then uses the money to buy her a ranch.  Unfortunately, the outlaws want their money back and try to force her to sell the land.  That doesn’t work, so they kidnap her.  Fortunately, a brave hero and his partner ride to her rescue.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

Reviews:    “Notified that his girl has been kidnaped, he rounds up his spur-booted pals who are having a beer at the village pump, and away they ride on horses that would put the recently honored Omaha to shame, proof of which lies in the fact that they beat the gangsters, who are in high-powered automobiles, by a neck.  Hoot single-handed attacks the first car, in which his girl is still struggling with her captor. He falls from the branch of a tree into the lap of the astonished criminal. In less than a split second he has unarmed his man, hit the chauffeur over the head and made a flying jump to safety with the heroine. The car then careens over the embankment. His cronies, meanwhile, have been improving their time. Chopping down a tree which impedes the passage of the second car full of machine guns, they snipe from ambush at its occupants until not one is left in an upright position. Thus the old homestead is saved, the heroine’s honor avenged and justice served. For now the stolen bank notes can be returned, and Bonnie’s misguided brother saved from the disgrace his evil companions had planned for him. If all this sounds implausible, it is, believe us, because ‘Sunset Range’s’ plot is implausible…. [Sunset Range] is brimming over with the great outdoors. Mountains lend dignity from their lofty distance, and grazing cattle give a pastoral touch to the ranch whose odd assortment of cowhands contributes what passes for comic relief.  It is photographed well, as all these westerns are, and once the story gets into its stride, the action is fast and the battle really quite exciting. Mr. Gibson can ride, even though he may not be such great shakes as an actor, and Mary Doran as Bonnie probably did the best she could.” (New York Herald Tribune, May 7, 1935)

“There’s a lot more humor in Sunset Range than you would find in most B westerns. And I mean humor not at the expense of some dopey sidekick. Hoot Gibson and Mary Doran are a well matched pair of leads and the comedy is on the level of some of the better Roy Rogers/Dale Evans westerns which also had a battle of the sexes. Mary Doran has come west to live on a ranch purchased by her brother James Eagles. Eagles is a racketeer albeit not a very good one. His rackets boss Walter McGrail hides $100,000.00 in stolen loot in Doran’s trunk in a secret compartment to get it out of town while they wait until the heat cools down. Doran doesn’t know she has it. In the meantime she settles in on her new ranch where she has to win over the men headed by Hoot Gibson who had hoped to buy the place for himself. Gibson and Doran are not quite Tracy and Hepburn, but they do have their moments. There’s a funny tooth pulling scene and later on Doran gets Gibson to wear a pair of wool chaps that drugstore cowboys would normally wear. She does it by using some loaded dice on the unsuspecting Hoot. The reason the scenes play so well is that the director here is Raymond McCarey, Leo’s brother. The younger McCarey never got the acclaim that Leo did, he never graduated into A feature pictures. But he did do a lot of comedy shorts for Hal Roach. Ray McCarey’s comedic touch is a sure one that those years with Roach would have taught him. McCarey also did do B westerns and he does have a really furious climax with the city bandits who have taken Doran hostage in Sunset Range. All in all Sunset Range is a really excellent B western, way out of the league of the normal poverty row product.”  Internet Movie Database

TOWN WENT WILD, THE (1944)

C. 15 Dec. 1944  PRC Pictures, Inc.  LP13008
B&W  72 Mins.  PD

Director:         Ralph Murphy
Writers:          Clarence Greene, Bernard R. Roth, Russell Rouse
Producers:      Clarence Greene, Bernard R. Roth, Russell Rouse
Cinematog.:    Philip Tannura
Art Director:   George C. VanMarter

Music Dir.:      David Chudnow
Editor:              Thomas Neff
Costumes:         Karlice

Cast:                   Freddie Bartholomew, James Lydon, Edward Everett Horton, Tom Tully, Jill
Browning, Minna Gombell, Frederick Burton, Monte Collins, Jr., Jimmy Conlin,
Maude Eburne, Charles Halton, Olin Howland [Howlin], Ruth Lee, Emmett
Lynn, Charles Middleton, Roberta Smith, Ferris Taylor, Dorothy Vaughan, Will
Wright

Synopsis:    “In this romantic comedy, two warring neighbors are aghast when their respective daughter and son fall in love and plant to marry.  Despite their parents’ objections they begin planning and getting the legal paper work done; it is then they learn they could be brother and sister.  Fortunately, the situation is straightened out and the two end up related only by marriage.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

Reviews:    Fair comedy starring Edward Everett Horton and Tom Tully.  “Story centers about two feuding next-door neighbors… Each has a son, and one has a daughter too. Two neighboring youngsters are in love, elope, and discover in process of getting marriage license that legal documents indicate they may be brother and sister. In due time, legal tangles are unsnarled, the lovers are  united, and the battling fathers become closest of pals.  (Variety, April 11, 1945)

“Before taking an assignment in Alaska, aspiring engineer Freddie Bartholomew (as David “Davy” Conway) decides to marry beautiful blonde sweetheart Jill Browning (as Carol Harrison). Her brother Jimmy Lydon (as Robert “Bob” Harrison) is also Mr. Bartholomew’s best friend and neighbor. Since fathers Edward Everett Horton (as Everett Conway) and Tom Tully (as Henry Harrison) are always bickering, the youngsters leave town to elope. Meanwhile, their parents learn Bartholomew and Mr. Lydon, born on the same day, were switched at birth – meaning Bartholomew is about to marry his sister!  “The Town Went Wild” is notable as the last starring feature for Bartholomew. A wildly popular “child” star and moderately popular “teen” star, Bartholomew is appealing, but obviously not destined to be a leading man. Here, he appears capable of a Roddy McDowall-type career, but it was not in the cards. Bartholomew made a few more appearances, mostly on television. This is not a big budget film, but neither is it poor. Bartholomew is joined by a gorgeous girlfriend, his friend Lydon, and a capable cast of co-stars. Alas, the story failed them; nobody was laughing at incest comedy.”  Internet Movie Database

WHITE PONGO  (1945)

C. 10 Aug. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13598
B&W  73 Mins.  PD   **½ Corel All Movie Guide 2

Director:          Sam Newfield
Writer:            Ray Schrcok
Producer:         Sigmund Newfeld
Cinematog.:    John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Art Director:   Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.:      Leo Erdody
Editor:             Holbrook Todd
Story:               Raymond L. Schrock
Cast:                 Richard Fraser, Maris Wrixon, Gordon Richards, Lionel Royce, Egon Brecher,
Michael Dyne, Al Eben, Joel Fluellen, Milt Kibbee, George Lloyd, Larry Steers,
Maris Wrizen

Synopsis:    “African explorers hit the Congo in search of a rare white gorilla in this campy jungle adventure filled with deliciously goofy special effects.  The British biologists believe the white ape will prove to be the missing link.  A British undercover cop accompanies the explorers because he believes the guide to be a killer.  He is and soon causes the native bearers to revolt.  He abandons the scientists to face the jungle alone.  Before leaving, the guide kidnaps the expedition leader’s lovely daughter.  He then sets off to find some legendary gold.  He ends up stumbling into the ancient home of the blonde ape.  The primate doesn’t like visitors and so strangles the killer and takes the hapless girl, her terrified bosom heaving seductively through her tattered blouse, to his lair.  There the blonde ape must fight a regular gorilla. While the two muscle-bound hairballs fight it out, the undercover bobby and the scientists arrive.  The white gorilla tosses his rival off a cliff and returns for some booty.  Unfortunately, the explorers wound him and put him in a cage.  They then return to England with their prize.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

Reviews:    Campy “story of a safari’s long trek through the Belgian Congo in search of a white gorilla supposed to be the missing link…. Plot strains credulity all the way with stock shots of jungle beasts having no bearing on the story thrown in at random. In the middle of the jungle the safari guide and several of his riflemen mutiny, kidnap the daughter of the British scientist who heads the expedition, and leave the rest of the party stranded while they set off to find a fabulous gold field.  White gorilla strangles the guide and takes the gal off to his  jungle cave. He gets into a poorly-staged fight with a black gorilla just as the stranded party, who have followed, arrive in the nick.  As the albino dashes his adversary over a cliff, the rifleman wound him… and put him in a cage to take him back alive to England, where the scientist hopes to prove he is the missing link.” (Variety, December 5, 1945)

“This is another story of a jungle expedition that runs across a legendary white ape that may or may not be the missing link. There has got to be five or six of these films floating around in the film vaults and everyone of them is a turkey or a close cousin. The problem here, as in almost every jungle movie, is that the gorillas look like what they are, men in suits. Worse if the fact that the suits are absolutely terrible and so unconvincing that anyone watching it is going to laugh rather than scream. This movie isn’t too terrible, and is actually okay if you have a love of bad movies, especially ones that you can talk back to and make fun of. As these things go its not a movie that I’ search out, but it is one that I’d put on if I was in need of some unintentional laughs.”  Internet Movie Database

WILD COUNTRY  (1947)

C. 7 Jan. 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP778
B&W  59 Mins.  PD

Director:          Ray Taylor
Writer:             Arthur E. Orloff
Producer:        Jerry Thomas
Cinematog.:    Robert C. Cline
Music,Lyrics:  Dean Hal Blair, Eddie Dean, Pete Gates
Editor:              Hugh Wynn
Cast:                  Eddie Dean, Roscoe Ates, Peggy Wynn, Douglas Fowley, Dick Cramer, William
Fawcett, Flash the Horse, Henry Hall, I.. Stanford Jolley, Charles Jordan, Lee
Roberts, The Sunshine Boys, Peggy Lynn

Synopsis:    “Caxton has broken out of prison and Eddie has been sent to bring him in. Caxton is known by the polka dot band on his hat and Eddie has Soapy wear one like it. This gets Soapy arrested as soon as he rides into town but it leads Eddie to Varney and he realizes Varney will lead him to Caxton.”  Internet Movie Database

Reviews:    Corny Eddie Dean singing western. “Replete with such dialog gems as ‘They must’ve taken the short cut,’ ‘Wild Country’ deals with Dean, a U. S. marshal, and his pal Soapy (Roscoe Ates) who track down… an escaped convict who kills the sheriff responsible for his time in stir. Conniving with the local tavernkeeper… [the con] conspires to knock off daughter of the late sheriff and  take over her ranch, but Dean foils the thugs, of course.” (Variety, January 29, 1947)

WILD HORSE PHANTOM    (1944)

C. 28 Oct. 1944  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13564
B&W  56 Mins.  PD **½ Corel All Movie Guide 2

Director:          Sam Newfield
Writer:             George Milton
Producer:         Sigmund Newfeld
Cinematog.:    Robert C. Cline
Editor:             Holbrook Todd
Cast:                 Larry “Buster” Crabbe, Al St. John, Elaine Morey, Kermit Maynard, Budd Buster,
John Cason, Edward Cassidy, Lane Chandler, John Elliott, Frank Ellis, Charles
King, Frank McCarroll, John Merton, Elaine Morey, Bud Osborne, Hal Price,
Janet Warren

Synopsis:    “When the Piedmont County Bank is robbed by the notorious Link Daggett and his gang, the Ranchers in the Valley face ruin through the loss of their deposits. Later, when the desperadoes are captured, the money is missing which still leaves the Ranchers in a desperate plight. Billy Carson, a friend of the Ranchers, believes that Daggett has hidden the money and conceives a plan whereby they will lead him to it. With the Governor’s sanction, Daggett and his gang are allowed to escape from the State Prison. In doing so, they take along a young prisoner, Tom Hanlon, who is a relative of Fuzzy Jones. Young Tom is wounded seriously by Daggett, when the boy declares his desire to go back to prison. Tom thereupon makes his way to Fuzzy’s cabin and in his dying breath tells Fuzzy the circumstances. Fuzzy, infuriated over the treacherous killing of his kinfolk, joins with Billy Carson to track down the desperadoes. The trail leads them to the long abandoned Wild Horse Mine. Inside the mine, Billy and Fuzzy overhear Daggett and his gang who are angrily puzzled that the money is not in the place where Daggett believes he left it. Then, a mysterious chill raising voice comes out of the dark depths of the mine, which panics Daggett and his gang. While trying to capture the man, Daggett and his gang capture Billy and Fuzzy. A clever ruse on Billy’s part prevents them from being killed. Later, Billy and Fuzzy escape, and Billy does some clever detective work, discovering that the mine belongs to an old miner, Ed Garnet, who fanatically believes the mine holds fabulous riches. When Billy meets Garnet’s pretty daughter, he learns certain things which lead him to Walters, the head of the bank in Piedmont, who refuses to give the Ranchers more time before he forecloses.  Working against time, Billy returns to the mine, but meantime, Fuzzy has had some harrowing experiences, fighting bats, and single-handed, discovering the secret hiding place of the stolen money. When the desperadoes fight among themselves, Billy and Fuzzy fight against desperate odds to bring about their capture.  Then, compelling old man Ed Garnet to confess, in a fast riding finish, Billy rides to the bank in time to prevent the foreclosure of the Ranchers.” (publicity release)

Review:    “Wild Horse Phantom starts off in modern times with a prison break for Kermit Maynard and his gang of heavies. In one of those strange time warps popular in the forties, they’re dropped off by the getaway car into a frontier western setting where the rest of the movie takes place amidst oil lamps and horses.  Following the outlaws to a dark mine where the gang’s loot is stashed, Billy and Fuzzy encounter a possibly insane cackling miner and other creepy plot devices in their quest to apprehend the escaped convicts and recover the money before the local bank forecloses on the property of the local ranchers from whom the cash had been stolen. One of the best (and best known) of Producers Releasing Corporation’s Billy Carson series, this is the only episode set in contemporary times. Aided by better than usual writing and direction, Buster Crabbe and Al St. John are at the top of their game here. The film’s highlight has Fuzzy being attacked by the title prop from the P.R.C. produced Bela Lugosi vehicle, The Devil Bat. Fuzzy bites it in the butt!”  Internet Movie Database