7 August 2005 | krorie
One of the few opportunities to see Gene Autry in color
Gene Autry only made two movies in color and this is one of them, sort of a cheap-looking process known as cine color that actually takes away rather than adds to the total effect of this south of the border western. If Edison Et Al had had the technology to make the first movies in color then possibly we wouldn't know anything about black and white films. But since few movies were made in color until the 1950's because of the expense involved we have grown used to seeing the old Saturday matinée cowboy shoot 'em ups in black and white. Seeing the few that exist in color somehow causes the viewer to lose interest while watching. With a big budget John Ford was able to make color work for the classic "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," but this was not true for the B films of the day.
There is another problem with this Gene Autry western. Where is the comical sidekick? There is a lame attempt to provide a Mexican stand-in, but he is no Cisco Kid's Pancho or Tim Holt's Chito. I kept looking for a Smiley, a Pat Buttram, or a Pokie. Though Smiley is not present one of his songs is sung by Gene. Smiley, who was one of the most talented songwriters of his day, would sometimes sell his songs to Gene, but Gene would go ahead and put Smiley's name on the music with his, so it would be a 50/50 deal. There is an unintentionally funny opening. Gene is strumming his guitar and singing a love song to what appears to be a man behind a counter smoking a cigarette. No woman is present. It turns out that Gene is showing the guy how good his guitar sounds because he is pawning it for gas money.
There is a good performance by Estrellita Estrada. I don't recall seeing her in other films. I read that she was typecast to playing senorita-type roles and ultimately retired from the cinema.
The action is so-so and overall the film is not as good as many of Gene's earlier ones, still worthwhile for his many fans.