18 August 2005 | krorie
Frog and Sunset Make a Good Match
The title "Call of the Rockies" like most Republic oaters has nothing to do with the story or anything else in the film. That aside, this is the first matching of Smiley Burnette and Sonny Sunset Carson and it is a winning combination. Smiley gets top billing over newcomer Sunset and basically this is a Frog Millhouse flick. Smiley was a gifted songwriter and singer but his humor was usually on the silly side. But because of the superior writing by Robert Creighton Williams (who later had an uncredited hand in the magnificent "Ride the High Country"), Frog has some truly funny moments in this movie. Though Smiley did well as Gene Autry's sidekick and provided Gene with many of his tunes, he did not play well with some of the other cowboys of the era in particular Charles Starrett. There were rumors that Starrett and Burnette personally disliked each other. This was not the case with Frog and Sunset. Sunset, who was not much of an actor but who did have the good looks, had a flair for the comic, especially when teamed with Smiley. He has some of the funniest lines in the picture. Smiley after being saved by Sunset when trapped in the mine tries to make a pun on the moniker Frog. Sunset has the comeback, "If I knew you were going to say that I would have left you in there." When Doc Lee calms Murdock, Sunset quips, "You should've been a lion tamer." And there are many other hilarious comebacks by Sunset. There is also one humorous scene that is almost surrealistic.When Frog and Sunset are crossing the street to report to Murdock that his supplies were stolen, the camera shoots them from behind. Frog is leaning on Sunset. The contrast of a short fat funny man leaning on a tall slim person has to be seen to be appreciated. The movie even begins with a funny scene where Frog thinks Sunset's horse is talking to him. The final scene is reminiscent of the Marx Brothers. Frog talks to the audience and gets them to help him shoot the bad guy.
Added to the funny parts--and there are many--are the action scenes and the story dealing with an attempt by the bad guys to take control of all the mines in the area. The miners are led by future Superman, Kirk Ayrn, and his sister, played by Ellen Hall, a gorgeous redhead. Why would a dude like Sunset leave such a damsel behind at the end of the movie and ride of into the sunset (no pun intended)? The bad guys are marvelous with such character actors as Harry Woods and Tom London around to create havoc. This superior B western is entertaining and worthwhile. It makes one wonder why Sunset had only a brief film career.