Bad Lands (1939)

Passed   |    |  Action, Drama, Western

Bad Lands (1939) Poster

A posse of nine and Sheriff Bill Cummings set out after a renegade named Apache Jack, who has murdered the wife of Lopez, one of the posse members. The others are Rayburn, Chic Lyman, Billy... See full summary »


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28 February 2011 | MartinHafer
| I'd say this is a bit better than the original source material....
To say that "Bad Lands" is a remake of "The Lost Patrol" isn't exactly the case--it's more a case of a reworking of this earlier film. So many things have been changed (the location, the enemy, the discovery of silver, etc.) that it is worth seeing on its own. Oddly, however, I am not sure why I recorded it to watch later--but as long as I did, I decided to give it a try--mostly because I liked the no-name cast. Several of the actors (in particular, Robert Barrat) were very good supporting actors who never got a lot of fame--and it's nice to see him in a starring role. Plus, while it is a B-movie (with a low budget and relatively low production values), it has a more adult theme and style than the average B-western. As another reviewer put it, you won't find this theme in a Roy Rogers or Gene Autry film!

A posse tracks a man who is accused of rape into the desert. Eventually they find an oasis where they strike camp. Soon, a couple in the party discover a huge bein of silver and they imagine great wealth. However, when someone steals their horses and then they are attacked, it looks like their find is in vain (vein....get it? Oh, never's not that funny). Can any of them escape with their lives...let alone claim the silver?

While there are obvious similarities to "The Lost Patrol", one obvious improvement is in the characterizations. While John Ford was a genius director, in "The Lost Patrol" the characters (particularly the obviously insane Boris Karloff--who chewed scenery unmercifully in this film) were often far from subtle in their portrayals. While it's considered a minor classic, several reviewers (including myself) think it's aged poorly because of this. While lacking originality, at least "Bad Lands" does not have the cartoony characters the other film had. As a result, I actually preferred "Bad Lands"--as it offered more bang for the buck and excelled in its realistic portrayals--even if it is a tad slow.

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