12 August 2015 | dougdoepke
Cowboys versus City Boys
It's another well-produced oater from Gene's Republic period. The story's more plot-heavy than usual, the first half being mainly set-up. It's the second half that has the action, plus an unexpected twist unusual for a matinée. Seems Gene's got to help save a rodeo and a ranch, all in 67-minutes. But not to worry, Gene's got Champion who's a lot more versatile than a road-hugging car. Then too, he's got Frog and his junior sized clone Tadpole. I like their little battle with a runaway ore car in a shadowy tunnel that nicely combines amusement with suspense. In fact the comedy relief is well calibrated, never sliding into the clownish.
Some good stunt work too, especially the axle grabbing beneath a racing wagon, just the sort pioneered by the great stuntman Yakima Canutt. Still, I wish some of the background process shots were more realistic, but that was a technical problem afflicting many films of the period. There're two good bouts of flying fists where Gene shows off his athletic skills. But note a general absence of gunplay, from Gene especially. Also, note the little ditty pushing government bonds, a reflection of 1942 and emergence of WWII. Two of his songs shine at least in my ear—a charming "Clementine" and the catchy "Tweedle-O-Twill". All in all, the programmer amounts to ace entertainment for Front-Row kids of all ages, including us geezers.
A "7" on the Matinée Scale