30 September 2007 | dougdoepke
A Look Behind the Scenes
A highly enjoyable Autry western, boosted by a spirited supporting cast, a non-formula script, and a sprinkling of very listenable songs including the delightful title number. Autry was always an unlikely cowboy hero, short, stout, and wooden, yet his way with a song was always pleasant and natural, while his horsemanship and fight scenes were as convincing as any. His secret of success may well have been his ordinariness. Unlike a towering John Wayne, Crash Corrigan, or innumerable other icons of the Saturday matinée, Autry was always within reach of the audience, a reassuring nearness for those of us who knew we would never grow into the boots of a Wayne or Corrigan. Anyway, I suppose the audience for this kind of innocent bucolic fun dwindles each year as we matinée kids age and shuffle off, leaving such fare to film historians and curiosity seekers. Historians should find this film particularly revealing for its behind-the-scenes look at the making of musical westerns, and also for a fluttery Sterling Holloway, a most unlikely comic relief for the macho western, which, I suppose, amounted to someone's comment on the film industry since he appears as a production assistant. The leading lady also goes against type. A hard-driving studio scout, who overshadows the laid-back Autry, she defies patriarchal expectations by remaining with the studio at film's end. All in all, this programmer rises above the low expectations of a cowboy movie and remains well worth a look on several levels.