3 June 2011 | dougdoepke
Surprisingly Relevant to Today
I don't think anyone watches one of these old matinees for anything other than unchallenging fun. After all, they were made mainly for kids. That being said, this one has more adult content than most. Yes, Gene is elected to Congress, of all places, following a successful stint on the radio. More importantly, he's expected to serve as an empty suit (cowboy suit) by his big money backers wanting to steal land away from flood-ravaged small farmers. It's not like the money men don't have some popular support. Local townsfolk resent the influx of refugees from the flood for driving down local wages. But needless to say, Gene turns out to be anything but an empty suit.
Clearly, the screenplay is not only more serious minded than most, but also reflects many conditions of the ravaged 1930's. Actually, this low-budgeter does a good job creating a sense of desperation among the flood-affected—note the intense crowd scenes, plus the chaos of old flivver cars. There's also Congress and its influence peddling where Gene finds out some hard truths. There's little hard riding or typical gunplay, so matinée fans expecting the usual may be disappointed. But, for folks willing to try something different, there's food for thought (except the utterly incredible ending) that appears still topical, even 70- years later.