11 December 2020 | alv790
Singing cowboy B-western
As part of my western-watching project, I wanted to watch some B-westerns, including one with the original singing-cowboy, Gene Autry. B-westerns were usually around an hour long, or less, and they were projected in theaters as the first part of a double feature, preceding some A-movie. Normally they were not sophisticated stories and looked to please younger viewers.
So, what I found in this one is quite pleasant fluff. Less than an hour long, and featuring several songs and comedy routines, the plot is straightforward and direct. The young English lord arrives dressed like Lord Fauntleroy and despite some initial snottiness quickly turns out to be a nice kid. The foreman (Gene Autry) doesn't have to work much to turn him into a "real Westerner", as he promised the boy's father he'd do. Soon Autry and the youngster are involved in a plan to avoid having to sell the property by turning it into a horse ranch and supplying the army. They have the inept help of the foreman's comic relief sidekick (Smiley Burnette, who is actually better at singing than at comedy... seriously, his was the best song of the movie).
So there's several songs, including some nice country yodeling by Autry, comedy, the unavoidable romance for Autry and a plot involving a rival horse breeder out to sabotage them and win the contract with the army, culminating in a horse race to prove to the officer in charge of supplies whose are the best horses. You can't ask for more in less than an hour.
The comedy is only occasionally funny and the plot is simplistic, but the movie does feature some impressive scenery and skillful horse stunts.
So, not at all a great movie, but I'd say this one accomplishes quite well what it sets out to do as a B-western.