10 February 2006 | krorie
Plenty of riding, roping, and shooting in this Gene Autry oater
Gene sings a song called "Man from Music Mountain" near the beginning of the movie when Frog tells him that he needs to pep things up. The song is about as close as the story gets to the title of this action-filled shoot-'em-up. It seems that an eastern pair of shysters is getting rich selling shares in a worthless gold mine located near a ghost town. The crooks are also selling realty in the deserted mining town telling the buyers that the government is going to reopen the area by pumping water and electricity their way as a result of Boulder Dam. The only problem is the government is by-passing the area so the land is virtually worthless. In rides Gene and his cowhands to try to thwart the efforts of the bad guys. Gene even grub stacks the new arrivals until he figures out a way to get their money back and run the swindlers out of the country.
The film opens with a homage to President Roosevelt's New Deal, showing the magnificent "Eighth Wonder of the World," Boulder Dam. Hollywood continually championed the New Deal during the 1930's, helping Roosevelt in his attempt to strangle Ol' Man Depression. It's doubtful if any other American President has been so favored by the mass media as Roosevelt throughout his twelve years in the White House.
There's more than the usual amount of music in this Gene Autry outing. Most of it written by Gene, Frog (Smiley Burnette), and an up and comer Fred Rose, who would later discover Hank Williams, Sr, and help found the huge conglomerate, the Roy Acuff, Fred Rose Publishing Company in Nashville. Rose and Smiley were two of the best song writers around so expect some fine tunes. Smiley was a consummate musician, much better in that category than in the humor department, although in "Music Mountain" he does have some funny parts. One standout routine is "She Works Third Tub At The Laundry" with really raunchy lyrics for 1938 with a few sexual innuendos thrown in for good measure. Toward the end of the film Gene, who began his singing career imitating the great country blues singer Jimmie Rodgers, does a song that is a reworking of Jimmie's old "Gambler's Blues," giving the viewer a feel of how Gene sounded in the beginning before he attempted to become a popular crooner. There's also a cute ditty called "Burning Love" that involves a fairly humorous scene between the men and the ladies played by the vivacious Carol Hughes and the cut-up Sally Payne.
Between the songs there's plenty of action culminating with a wild chase from the mine where an explosion opens a new vein of gold to the town to try to stop the crooks from horning in on the new riches. The chase involves Gene doing some fancy riding and roping. In most of Gene's movies there's a mixture of the Old West and the new west. So expect some modern inventions such as motor vehicles and electric gadgets. In fact, Frog wants to open an electric shop in town if electricity ever gets there.
A good one for Gene Autry fans. Not bad for those who like Saturday matinée cowboy shows.