South of St. Louis (1949)

Passed   |    |  Western


South of St. Louis (1949) Poster

The friendship of three Texas Ranchers. Later their ranch was destroyed by Cotrell, of the Union army,and his band of outlaw raiders. The original title was "Distant Drums", this was a description of Civil War army deserters.


6/10
338

Photos

  • Victor Jory and Joel McCrea in South of St. Louis (1949)
  • Victor Jory and Joel McCrea in South of St. Louis (1949)
  • Alan Hale and Alexis Smith in South of St. Louis (1949)
  • Joel McCrea and Zachary Scott in South of St. Louis (1949)
  • Joel McCrea and Alexis Smith in South of St. Louis (1949)
  • Victor Jory and Joel McCrea in South of St. Louis (1949)

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28 July 2011 | smorrow2-1
Something a little different
Lot of different things going on in this enjoyable civil war type western. The plot is set in motion in the opening frames when a ruthless raider named Luke Contrell (I guess he's the union version of William Quantrill) burns out the Three Bells ranch in Texas. The Three Bells is run by 3 friends, Joel McCrea, Zachary Scott and Douglas Kennedy (I hope you don't mind my convention of referring to the characters by the actor's names, it's just easier and apart from Contrell, the names don't mean much) who set of for Brownsville to get even. Contrell carries out his raiding under the protection of the union army, which prevents our hero, Joel McCrea, from doing much more than beating him up and telling him to leave town.

Our three heros -- it's weird seeing Zachary Scott as a hero -- are now kind of shiftless and looking for what to do next. Kennedy decides to join the Confederation and fight in the open. This is kind of different, the movie is set during the Civil War and one of the hero's decides to join the confederation and doesn't feel the need to talk about protecting his way of life. The union army might protect Contrell, but they don't like him much, and the commander offers to buy McCrea a drink after he beats up Contrell -- but McCrea don't drink with Yankees. McCrea and Scott get mixed up in gun running and take to the trade, blockade running guns from Mexico to the confederates.

The romantic sub-plot is that a saloon singer played by Alexis Smith has set her cap for McCrea and McCrea's gal, Dorothy Malone, has followed Kennedy into fighting the good fight as a nurse (the film just never really gets into the nitty gritty of the politics of the civil war). I found the romantic business, usually something of a drag in the avg McCrea feature, to be pretty interesting and not quite so ham handed as is often done.

The production values are not bad, the acting is pretty good, the story interesting and a little different. If you love westerns, and I presume you do if you've read this far, you could do a lot worse that this movie. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

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Western

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