Add a Review

  • There's action aplenty in this Gene Autry oater involving fur smuggling across the Candadian border. The change of locale makes for a more diversified story with a sled dog team becoming part of the main chase toward the end of the adventure. Gene even starts an avalanche to trap the fur thieves. Alaska and Canada had been used in several westerns (northerns?) including the popular "The Spoilers," even leading to a radio show "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon," but Gene was one of the first to utilize it successfully in the B western.

    Frog Millhouse is around as always for the humor. This time he does have a few funny scenes, not as forced as usual. Tadpole had not been added to the cast yet. This time there's another brat (Robert Winkler) to torment Frog with every devise available from fake handcuffs to saying he's going to drive a nail through Frog's head as Millhouse pretends to be a cigar store Indian. As if the rapscallion wasn't enough a wily knife thrower (Dorothy Granger) turns up to make Frog part of her act. Frog asks what happened to the person he was replacing. She replies, "I missed, but it was the only time." Unfortunately Frog doesn't get to show his main talents as a musician and songwriter. Gene and a group called the Colorado Hillbillies do all the music. At least Gene did some of the songwriting for the movie.

    Unbeknownth to Dorothy Hamilton (June Storey) the fur smugglers are using her ranch as a storage place for the stolen merchandise. Gene and his cowboys take up temporary residence at the ranch to ferret out the crooks while they separate their herd from hers, which they had purposely mixed to start with. One of the best leading ladies for B westerns, Storey is hankering to ride and rope Gene so he's back in the saddle again. With a woman such as Storey around I don't blame Gene for not riding off into the sunset. He decides to mix his herd with hers at the end. What a way to go. He lets Frog ride off instead. This time the girl and not the horse wins the heart of the hero.

    A covey of bad guys fills the screen with the likes of Harry Woods, Jack Ingram and the later Frankenstein monster Glenn Strange. Also watch for the silver screen's first Tarzan Elmo Lincoln in a bit part. Tully Marshall plays the part of the old man Steve who is Gene's partner until killed leaving a clue to his murderer scratched on a rock.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I've been a huge fan of Gene Autry's since I was a child seeing his films at the Saturday matinée in the 40s. Blue Montana Skies is one of my favorites, partially for the same reasons the previous reviewer gave--it's somewhat different, with the northern locale, dog sleds and snow instead of horses on the open prairie. Gene gets wounded, and actually behaves somewhat as though he is hurt, instead of immediately healing! Other pluses are a heroine who is not as fainting and screaming and silly as many other heroines in this genre (though she has her moments). June Storey's character of Dorothy actually displays some intelligence and courage. No wonder Gene decides to stay around! Another plus is that Smiley Burnette is a bit more subdued than usual. I normally enjoy Smiley to a point. But he can dominate a film, and has, when the supposed hero seems to have to play second banana instead of the other way around. The title song is great, as is the love song "I Just Want You." And Gene is in great voice. Throw in some good bad guys, and you have an enjoyable B western to while away an hour or so.
  • Gene Autry was way ahead of his time in almost every way. If you watch enough of his movies and The Gene Autry show you will see many actors and actresses who went on to be stars in their own right. These include such giants as Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger), Jimmy Durante, and, of course Gail Davis who went on to star in the Annie Oakley series.

    Also notice his relationship with women, which was way ahead of its time, as well as his treatment of "minorities", such as the Mexican young men, and others in his movies and TV show---way ahead of his time. Take, for example, his speech to the children in the school house about the Mexican boy being as American as the rest of the children.

    But far more important than the people who came up through Gene Autry, is the music that came from Gene Autry. The show on the top 40 rated Gene as one of the top 40 most important country/western singers/songwriters. Roy Rogers did not make that list, but his wife, Dale Evans, did with her song "Happy Trails to You until we meet again", which was rated the number one country/western song of all time, and rightly so. Gene's "Back in the Saddle Again", my favorite of all time, was also rated very high.

    The song "Blue Skies of Montana", which is early in the show, is, to me, a classic that I find myself humming a lot. Maybe that has something to do with the time we spend in Montana, but I really doubt that is the reason.

    Those that rank Gene Autry's movies low have no understanding of his pioneer role in movies. Gene was a star long before modern technology and acting provided the modern movies today, which are, arguably, better movies. To compare Gene's movies to those that followed him and built on his genius is absolutely wrong. That's like comparing an F16 to the Wright Bros. airplane.

    I would encourage voters to remember the times, place, and technology, as well as the type that Gene set, before giving him a low score.

    Gene Autry is the ONLY Hollywood star to ever get five stars on the Hollywood walk of fame. No one else will probably ever get that kind of recognition for their work in show business.
  • Nifty Autry programmer. After all, where else can you catch a dog-sled, racing horses, a cattle stampede, and old cars, all in the same 60-minutes. Getting those wintertime snow shots really lends the movie a different appeal. Plus, Gene looks like he can drive a dog team as well as ride a horse. Seems like the bad guys are using a business front to smuggle furs across the Canadian border. Gene gets really ticked off when they murder his old friend Steve (Marshall), and so is on their trail. Burnette has some funny bits without getting too goofy, while it's an all-star line-up of bad guys—Woods, Strange, and Ingraham. The masquerade party lends color and excitement to a good script and seamless direction (Eason). No doubt about it, Gene's best years were with Republic as this energetic programmer demonstrates.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Copyright 4 May 1939 by Republic Pictures Corp. No recorded New York opening. U.S. release: 4 May 1939. U.K. release through British Lion. No Australian theatrical release. 6 reels. 59 minutes.

    SYNOPSIS: Autry and Frog track down fur smugglers in the Canadian snow country.

    NOTES: Autry's 32nd of his 94 films.

    COMMENT: June Storey is an attractive little heroine and it's nice to see some of our favorite villains like Harry Woods, Glenn Strange, Eddie Cobb and Jack Ingram on deck. Al Bridge is in the cast too but this time firmly on the side of the law!

    There are some pleasant songs and now and again there is a brief spurt of action, but though the film is directed by the well-known 2nd unit action director B. Reeves Eason, surprisingly the action spots are rather tamely staged and never amount to much. Even the climax is disappointingly short.

    Mr. Burnette's comedy routines are similarly lacking in sparkle, but at least their brevity is a blessing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Director: NATE WATT. Screenplay: Harrison Jacobs. Based on the 1931 novel Bring Me His Ears by Clarence E. Mulford. Photography: Archie Stout. Film editor: Robert Warwick. Art director: Lewis J. Rachmil. Assistant directors: Derwin Abrahams, Harry Knight. Associate producer: Eugene Strom. Producer: Harry Sherman. A Harry Sherman Production, presented by Adolph Zukor.

    Copyright 26 February 1937 by Paramount Pictures, Inc. No recorded New York showcase. U.S. release: 26 February 1937. 9 reels. Yes, 9 reels - the Mulford novel runs over 300 pages. 82 minutes.

    SYNOPSIS: Hoppy goes undercover as an outlaw. His quarry: a murderous border gang, led by Morris Ankrum (also playing a pretend role as a harmless half-wit).

    NOTES: Don Miller says this one holds the record as the longest "B" series western ever made. Number 9 of the 66-picture series.

    COMMENT: Solely of curiosity value, this early Hopalong Cassidy has little to recommend it save some nice exterior photography by Archie Stout. The film is poorly directed by Nate Watt and the action sequences are some of the wettest we've seen (though the climax with Hoppy holding a bleeding gun-wound in his leg has a certain novelty value). Screenplay by Harrison Jacobs does a disservice to Clarence E. Mulford's novel.

    OTHER VIEWS: Borderland had a strong plot, a strong villain (Morris Ankrum again) and was strung out to 82 minutes, longest of all series Westerns. It was also the last appearance by Ellison as Johnny Nelson. - Don Miller.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Director: B. REEVES EASON. Screenplay: Gerald Geraghty. Story: Norman S. Hall, Paul Franklin. Photography: Jack Marta. Film editor: Lester Orlebeck. Music director: Raoul Kraushaar. Songs: "Blue Montana Skies" by Gene Autry, Fred Rose and Johnny Marvin; "I Just Want You" by Gene Autry, Fred Rose and Johnny Marvin; "Away Out Yonder" by Fred Rose; "Old Geezer"; "Rocking in the Saddle". Assistant director: Philip Ford. Production manager: Al Wilson. Associate producer: Harry Grey. Executive producer: Herbert J. Yates.

    Copyright 4 May 1939 by Republic Pictures Corp. No recorded New York opening. U.S. release: 4 May 1939. U.K. release through British Lion. No Australian theatrical release. 6 reels. 59 minutes.

    SYNOPSIS: Autry and Frog track down fur smugglers in the Canadian snow country.

    NOTES: Autry's 32nd of his 94 films.

    COMMENT: June Storey is an attractive little heroine and it's nice to see some of our favorite villains like Harry Woods, Glenn Strange, Eddie Cobb and Jack Ingram on deck. Al Bridge is in the cast too but this time firmly on the side of the law!

    There are some pleasant songs and now and again there is a brief spurt of action, but though the film is directed by the well-known 2nd unit action director B. Reeves Eason, surprisingly the action spots are rather tamely staged and never amount to much. Even the climax is disappointingly short.

    Mr Burnette's comedy routines are similarly lacking in sparkle, but at least their brevity is a blessing.