15 November 2009 | krorie
Watch for the Elephant
There's plenty of action including a scene where Gene & Champion try to catch a speeding locomotive in this entertaining oater. As expected, Smiley "Frog" Burnette is along for a few belly laughs but unfortunately doesn't get to show off his musical talents much, mainly just observing Gene (one time throwing him a guitar) and a group called the Sherven Brothers Rodeoliers, sort of a budget Hoosier Hot Shots. Frog does have a novelty tune at the beginning called "There's Nothing Like Work," which is fun. The romantic interest is provided by the lovely June Storey as Martha Wheeler whose father's ranch stands to lose a lot of money if the herd has to be destroyed because of the hoof and mouth disease. Gene and Smiley are government inspectors who report finding a diseased animal to the main official who drives out to check out the story. In reality, the Belnap ranch (Belnap is played with just the right amount of insidiousness by Walter Miller)has in reality the only infected herd, but Belnap is in collusion with the equally sinister H. R. Shelby (Gordon Hart). Both villains are determined to put the blame on Gene, Smiley, and the Wheeler herd. Gene loses his job and spends the remainder of the film trying to prove himself innocent and the villains guilty. There is still enough time for a few musical outings, none up to the usual Gene Autry standards, but a few pleasing to the ears, the standout being one written by Gene called "I'm Gonna Round Up My Blues." With two of the best songwriters around why didn't Republic let Gene and Smiley compose more songs for their films? An added attraction is Earle Hodgins playing a film-flam man as only he could do.
Oh, I forgot to mention, an elephant plays a key role in the plot. And where's the prairie?