Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    So says the trailer that I saw before the film - it packed everything into it - even a big wrap up for Duke, the wonder horse!!! Was that how John Wayne got his nickname???

    John Mason (Wayne) and his partner Clarence (Blue Washington) ride into a "ghost town". Someone called "the Phantom" is trying to keep people away from the Sally Ann Mine. Mason, who is the son of the Sally Ann Mine discoverer, has received a mysterious note to come to town. Janet Carter (Sheila Terry, a regular in these early John Wayne westerns) has also received a note. She is the daughter of Carter, a co-founder of the mine. There is also Joe Ryan (Harry Woods) whose father originally stole the mine from the other two men - needless to say he is the villain!! "The Phantom" is revealed as the letter writer - no spoilers here!!!

    As with a lot of John Wayne's early westerns there is plenty of action. Fast riding, an exciting fight in a cable car and then the obligatory jump onto Duke, then shenanigans in an abandoned mine.

    I agree with the other reviewers, the racist humour is hard to take. I also agree, I think Blue Washington looked a very dignified performer ( unlike Mantan Moreland and Willie Best who both sounded and acted like funny men)and it made me quite uncomfortable watching him babble and dressed up like a ghost - they even wheel out the old "turning the black man white" trick. Looking at his long list of films "Haunted Gold" was one of the few films were he actually had a credited performance, also that he specialised in these sort of characterizations, which was very sad.

    Martha Mattox was the creepy housekeeper, playing the same role that she played to perfection in "The Cat and the Canary" (1927).

    "Duke - the Wonder Horse" had lots of tricks up his sleeve - he even (singlehandedly) fetches the law at the movie's end. He looked like a beautiful palomino.