Twilight on the Rio Grande (1947)

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Twilight on the Rio Grande (1947) Poster

Gene and Pokie are on vacation in Mexico when they learn that their buddy Dusty has been bumped off.


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12 October 2007 | dougdoepke
Gene Meets up with Film Noir
Oddball entry in the Autry cowboy cycle. The year is 1947, perhaps the peak year for film noir in Hollywood. The presence of shadowy lighting, darkened streets, and ambiguous characters in "Twilight..." shows how the European film style reached into even the unlikeliest of genres, the matinée Western. About a third of the way through, the movie takes a really surprising turn since Bob Steele was then a cowboy star in his own right. How he came to take this role which could have gone to dozens of non-star supporting players is a mystery to me (I don't want to give away the surprise). But it does seem a curious piece of casting.

The plot is also unusual for a Western-- it's a not-very-well-hidden "who dun' it ?" -- a novel idea, but with a plot too complicated and a mystery too meandering to work very well. There are a few character surprises, along with some mangled Spanish accents. Don't expect much gun play or hard riding, but there is enough knife throwing to satisfy a Ninja warrior. As I recall, the central song "The Old Lamplighter" was a huge popular hit of that day and is nicely staged here. Anyway, the film amounts to something of a curiosity among the Autry Westerns, so the hour should be worth a tune-in..

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