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  • wrbtu15 September 2001
    This is really quite a solid B western. Johnny Mack does not dominate the movie, as with many B westerns, where the hero is on screen every moment in every scene. He's very laid back here, & that's good for the movie. Douglass Dumbrille as Sheriff Tom Nightlander is excellent. He's introduced in the movie as kind of a Wyatt Earp character, maybe a little too happy with his gun, or is he? We get to decide for ourselves as we watch him in action. Joan Woodbury as Poppy Rand is delightful. She walks with a Mae West swagger & has a good comedic touch (although she's not the equal of Mae by any means). I've seen Joan twice before. Her first credited role was in `Eagle's Brood' (the second Hopalong Cassidy movie) although she was credited as `Nana Martin' in that film. I saw her again in `Rogues' Tavern' (1936), where she played a bizarre role & was mostly window decoration. Her roles in those two movies were not very significant, so I was surprised to see the extent of her part in this movie & even more surprised to see how convincing she was in the part of a loose saloon girl here. There are many other well known faces & voices in this film, good actors who have played character roles in movies without anyone remembering their names. It all adds up to a good, enjoyable film, perhaps Johnny Mack's best. I rate it 8/10.
  • Johnny Mack Brown is an ex-gunslinger-turned-doctor in a wide open town in this randomly-named western.

    With a situation like that, you know from the git-go that it's going to end with him strapping on his old revolvers and taking out the bad guys, but director Lambert Hillyer -- long past his halcyon days directing William S. Hart -- runs this Destry-like plot entirely in a low key and with some surprising casting.

    It is perennial screen villain Douglas Dumbrille who's the tough lawman who is hired to clean up the town, and he goes about it in a quiet, efficient manner. He has circuitous conversations with Brown about Joan Woodbury, the saloon singer with a heart of gold, about whom Dumbrille says "Did you ever know a woman you wanted to kill one minute and kiss the next?" All in all, it's a startlingly fine B western from Monogram.
  • bkoganbing17 September 2019
    Johnny Mack Brown stars in this western for Monogram that has a bit more plot than your average B film. He plays a newly arrived doctor in the town who has a secret. His secret is that he's a fast gun with an accurate aim at what he shoots at.

    This is one lawless town and saloon owner Harry Woods wants to keep it that way. The town brings in tamer Douglass Dumbrille and appoints him marshal with carte blanche. But to finish the job he will need Brown and those colts he carries in his doctor's bag.

    Being a law and order marshal in a western is not a role I ever thought to see Dumbrille in. But he does carry it off.

    Joan Woodbury has the role of Woods's partner in the saloon. She's in charge of the entertainment at the establishment and PeeWee King and his group who are in this film play at the saloon and work for her. She's also carrying a big secret which we don't learn until the end.

    Enough gunplay to satisfy any western fan.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Sometimes a B film can look pretty good when the print is pristine and the look is lavish. This one is loud, feisty and filled with action, comedy, music and romance. It deals with the corruption at a local saloon, and the entrance of Johnny Mack Brown as the new town doctor (once a lawman) who discovers that his predecessor was murdered in cold blood while operating on a witness to a murder. Much of the action surrounds the saloon run by glamorous Joan Woodbury who is trying to glamorize her establishment with big city entertainment. This results in some enjoyable country and western specialties including a memorable yodeling number and some toe tapping instrumentals. It's obvious by the presence of Douglas Dumbrille who the villain may be, but don't be fooled in this case by his sudden appearance as the new marshal who is quite friendly right off with Brown whom he finds shooting at bottles near a flowing stream. . Doctor, did you ever know a woman you wanted to kill one moment and kiss the next? This line said by marshal Dumbrille (cast against type) reveals his character after he reveals his intentions to clean the town up. This leads him to present Woodbury with the baby whose father was killed and whose mother was too weak after giving birth to survive. Dumbrille's no nonsense about no guns makes his performance the most memorable, a far cry from "Naughty Marietta" and "The Big Store" (among many others) where he was completely corrupt. This is the one time that having a mustache in a B westerns isn't the sign of automatic villainy.Woodbury, a combination of Mae West, Ann Dvorak and Dietrich, is a good femme fatale (complete with heart of gold that she tries to hide), while Lynne Carver is secondary as the rather dull heroine who becomes Brown's love interest. Monogram made plenty of B westerns but this is one of the better ones that I've seen.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    SPOILERS *** "Flame" opens with a gang of crooks in some western town, planning on "taking" a bunch of cowboys when they come back to town after the cattle drive. Johnny Brown is John Poole, town doctor, who gets caught up in all this. Joan Woodbury is "Poppy Rand" who always seems to be at the center of trouble. Scattered throughout are a couple songs sung by Poppy and backed up by Pee Wee King and his Cowboys. It's actually quite well done, for a "B" movie. The usual gang of trouble-makers, all up against the new marshall (Douglass Dumbrille, was the bad guy in so many films and TV shows, but here he plays the good guy!) The marshall gives a dead woman's baby to Poppy to watch, so that may help keep Poppy out of trouble. It's pretty good as a a western, but the script is nothing too special. The usual big showdown, right at the end, and the Doc, our hero, lives to fight another day. Not sure what the actual Flame of the West was.... maybe Poppy. Maybe the fights that kept breaking out in the bar, that had to be put down ? Nothing in wikipedia about playwright Bennett Foster. looks like he wrote a couple western type stories. This story could have been turned into a TV series... there WAS a series "Cheyenne" in the 1950s; maybe that was a continuation of this story...?