1 December 2018 | mmtoucan
The Roots of Vengence
In 1931, at Columbia, Buck Jones sang a song before becoming "The Avenger," outfoxing the villian and his two henchmen and orchestrating thier doom, one by one. The backstory is quite different here, as Jones played an adult Mexican who witnesses his brother's brutal murder and Dick Foran is a singing cowboy who witnessed his pioneer father's murder as a child. Before this, Ken Maynard, Bob Steele, Johnny Mack Brown and others had also used this kind of childhood preface. The audience has a strong emotional stake in the hero's quest for vengence and at the same time can't condone his out-right murder of the villians. Buck Jones as a Mexican couldn't get justice in white man's California, and our singing cowboy can't because "It happened too long ago" and he has no proof. Like Buck, though, he writes the three villians names on a wall, to be checked off. As in The Avenger, their fates are are almost identical. So this Warners' B+ western qualifies as an unofficial remake, getting no points for originality. But in the B's especially, "it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it," and Song of the Saddle does it very well. I loved best Charles Middleton, dark-souled and merciless as ever. Too frail for fights and lassoing, but larger than life in the scarey man dept.