29 September 2003 | django-1
okay post-Republic Sunset Carson western, made in 16mm for Yucca
This was one of the post-Republic 16mm features Sunset Carson made for Yucca Pictures. The best-known of these is probably SUNSET CARSON RIDES AGAIN, made in an off-brand color process and available in the 80s as a Goodtimes pre-record. These films are usually attacked as amateurishly made, poorly acted by everyone except Sunset, and technically slipshod, and all of that is still true here, but an exciting plot that is more complex than mere good guys vs bad guys keeps the film rolling and Sunset as always has an authoritative screen style, even though he is one of the most "aw shucks"-styled western leading men. There are a few awkward-sounding songs by some of the supporting players and Frank Sanucci's canned music cues (some of which heavy-handedly telegraph plot elements)will be familiar to anyone who has watched early and mid-40s Monogram westerns. The 16mm photography gives the film a grainy feel (although it's not as evident as it surely must have been on the big screen!), but in a way that helps create atmosphere. All of these Sunset Carson "Yucca Pictures" films feature similar casts and crew and some of the same sets. They play a lot like some of the 1940s PRC features (the Frontier Marshals series and the Texas Rangers series come to mind) although without the colorful and professional supporting casts; the main difference is that the whole film has a local-production, semi-professional feel. I suppose we should applaud Walt Mattox and Oliver Drake for keeping the b-western alive in the only way they could afford to at the time as the market was dying for this product. This is not worth seeking out unless you are a serious Sunset Carson fan or interested in some of the quirky independent productions that surfaced in the waning days of the b-western. However, Sunset is fine, and as many know he still carried himself well decades later when he hosted a program "Six-Gun Heroes" (I think that was the name) on public television in the late 70s/early 80s that was devoted to B-westerns.