21 March 2007 | horn-5
Well, at least, he did more research than Edna Feber did on "Giant"
Author/sportsman/traveler Zane Grey conceived this story while spending several months on vacation in Australia. Mostly, his conception was the title and location as the plot was straight b-western pulp fiction. Such as:
Marion Hastings (Margaret Dare), absent from her Australian home, Rangle River Station, for many years while completing her education in Europe, receives a letter from Dick Drake (Victor Jory), her father's ranch foreman, demanding she return home immediately.
Marion, together with her chaperon, Aunt Abbie (Rita Pauncefort), flies home. While making flight connections at the Singapore Airport, they meet Flight-Lieutenant Reginald Mannister (Robert Coote), an Englishman on his way to India. Attracted to Marion, however, he switches his tickets and embarks for Australia, receiving an invitation to stay at Rangle River Station. Whether or not he got permission from the Royal Air Force to switch his location-orders from India to Australia is never made clear. Nor was there a scene featuring his mates in India sipping gin-and-tonics while wondering just when old Reggie was going to pop in.
Upon arrival, Marion discovers Drake fighting with a rival ranch-foreman and, properly disgusted with his improper manners, she gives him a good dressing-down regarding his "brutal exhibition." This "cute meeting" serves to telegraph ahead just which two people are going to be embracing at "The End" for the benefit of those who don't already know by the cast order.
Arriving at the old homestead, it is obvious to Marion why she has been called home; Rangle River Station is being beset by drought. What she was supposed to do about that isn't obvious, as she displays no rain-making skills.
Meanwhile, Lawton (Cecil Perry), a neighbouring/neighboring (there-here) ranch-owner who has designs on the meat-contract held by Dan Hastings (George Bryant), endeavours/endeavors (there-here) to impoverish Rangle River Station further by secretly blocking off on his property, the river from which Hastings' cattle get their water. (Be it in Australia or Texas, those up-river people always made it hard on the down-river folks.) Lawton, true villain that he is, also has designs on Marion. But, thanks to cast order, that isn't going to happen, even though daring Dick is constantly rebuffing Marion for one thing or another.
Meanwhile, A-W-O-L Reggie, garrulous and nosey to a fault, flies over Lawton's property and confirms his suspicions that Lawton has dammed up the river. Lawton, knowing that the jig is up and discovery is imminent, blows up the dam to free the water. But, wouldn't you know it, Marion is galloping up the dry river-bed and is trapped by the torrent of on-rushing water.
Dick rescues Marion, takes her home, gathers up his bull-whips and rides over to Lawton's place to administer a lashing within an inch of his life. This scene is why the title was changed to "Men With Whips" when the re-issue distributor sold the film to television, and didn't want the theatre exhibitors to know he had done so...in the unlikely event some theatre-exhibitor might actually drop by and want to book this 20-year-old turkey.
When last seen, lovable Reggie was happily floating on a log down the now-rapidly flowing Rangle River.