11 March 2008 | xredgarnetx
Zorro by any other name
In the pre-TV age, this kind of inexpensive quickie is what often passed for a western movie -- unless you were John Ford or Howard Hawks and had a star like John Wayne or Randolph Scott to work with. It's what was known as a programmer or oater. I'm sure kids ate them up. Bill Elliott, who was about as much a cowboy as my Aunt Sadie, plays a masked bandit named Spanish Jack (essentially Zorro) who has decided to mend his ways, but finds he can't. The film rarely ventures from its one or two sets, and everybody spends a lot of time standing around talking, Elliott especially. Eugene Palette (not so coincidentally from THE MARK OF ZORRO) is the town sheriff who grows wise to Elliott. Constance Moore, a skinny little thing with limited acting ability but a big voice, is the love interest who sings a lot. It's all very forgettable. The main set is a main street full of mud and horse manure, and this is used over and over again for comic effect. It stopped being funny after the second time.