20 December 2005 | krorie
Weak B western with clever dream sequence
Eddie Dean was one of the last singing cowboys. The trend was toward action-packed oaters without singing. Tim Holt, Rocky Lane, The Durango Kid were taking the lead, more in the line of Hopalong Cassidy than Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. Then the entire genre was wiped out by the new invention called television. Eddie Dean was not much of an actor, not much on looks, but he could sing and was one of the best songwriters in country music at the time. His classic "One Has My Name, The Other Has My Heart" is still sung today. Even Jerry Lee Lewis had a hit with it.
"West to Glory" is a typical Eddie Dean western from the period. His sidekick was Soapy Jones (Roscoe Ates) who looked funny, talked funny, but definitely was not funny. Today when writers run out of humor in a movie they start throwing in flatulent jokes. In Dean's day writers couldn't do this because of the censors so they threw in food jokes. Soapy was always hungry, looking for food. His wisecracks were flat and sometimes even rude. Soapy does have one clever scene in "West to Glory." He is hit on the head and dreams where the stolen gold is hidden. In the dream he appears as Eddie Dean and Eddie appears as Soapy. It's a real hoot. Fact is Eddie plays Soapy better than Soapy plays Eddie. Eddie is hilarious with his dopey expression and mannerisms. There is a wild, crazy shootout with Soapy as Dean coming out the hero, the only time in a B western where the comical sidekick takes over and licks the bad guys single handed.
The story is similar to those of other PRC cheapies, Eddie is an undercover lawman in pursuit of stolen gold. One twist this go around is the emphasis on a priceless diamond. The gold is stolen as a ploy to get the diamond. Another twist is Maria (Dolores Castle) who plays a cat and mouse game with Dean, both in the romance department and in the search for the gold. She is lovely to look at and has a bigger role than many of the ladies in the oaters of the day. Apparently this was her first movie and she was unable to rise above bit parts in films during her short movie career. Also different is having two outlaw bosses rather than the usual one. A businessman and his henchman from the east team up with a saloon owner and his henchmen from the west. This leads to bickering and a power play between the two.
Eddie Dean wrote two of the three songs in the film, including the title song, which is a plus for the movie. The shootout in the showdown between Dean and the outlaws is a good one with plenty of action. As the old banjo player Floyd Holland used to say before he performed, "If you don't expect much, you won't be disappointed."