12 January 2015 | jjnxn-1
Miscasting rides the range
Sanitized telling of the Younger brothers tale with poor casting choices in the leads.
Dennis Morgan was an agreeable entertainer and if his role of Cole Younger had been a singing cowboy he would have been fine. However the Youngers were a tough band of outlaws and nothing in Dennis's demeanor indicates anything close to that. The same goes for Wayne Morris cast as brother Bob. He was a fine light comic player and also very believable in war pictures since he was a real life flying ace but all wrong in an 1860's Western setting. The only one of the actors who is remotely believable is Arthur Kennedy as Jim Younger and even he seems a bit callow.
Along for the ride and giving a truly atrocious performance is Alan Baxter as Jesse James. He could not possibly be less animated and his line readings have all the expression of someone reading from the phone book.
As the love interest for Arthur's character there is a very blonde Jane Wyman early in her career. She's pretty and tart but also seems somewhat out of place. Really the only actor that seems entirely at home is Victor Jory in his usual villainous mode. He's squirrelly and slick but at least seems comfortable in his part.
Not a dreadful movie, though hardly the place to look for the true facts of the lives of the Youngers, but really just another programmer churned out to fill the bottom of a double bill using performers on their way up whether they are suitable or not.