Slaughter Trail (1951)

Approved   |    |  Western


Slaughter Trail (1951) Poster

Fort Marcy's commandant has a dilemma when 3 outlaws, who killed a few Navajo for their horses, request protection from the vengeful Indians.


4.6/10
255

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7 January 2020 | MartinHafer
4
| I didn't totally hate the music.
In the 1920s and 30s, various prestigious films had what they called 'color'. But this wasn't full color, as Cinecolor and Technicolor at this point used two colors--and the results were generally pretty ugly (there are a few exceptions--such as in "Phantom of the Opera"). The colors were really bluish-green and reddish-orange....definitely not true color. This all changed when Technicolor brought out three color Technicolor...but it was expensive, difficult to use and many companies couldn't use it due to studios like Disney playing for exclusive rights to use it in cartoons. So, although vastly inferior, the Cinecolor company somehow continued up through the 1950s....and although their technology improved, the color still was incredibly ugly. I say all this because "Slaughter Trail" is one of the later ugly Cinecolor films...complete with a lot of orangy colors.

In the other reviews on IMDB, I noticed how some folks apparently hated the music in the film. Well, the opening song is rather old fashioned and hokey,but I thought it was also kitschy and fun....and I found myself humming along and tapping my fingers. The same with the rest of the music.

The film begins with a holdup of the stage...a familiar thing in 50s westerns. What isn't familiar is the baddie's shooting at the stage from about 200 feet away and hitting a mostly obstructed target...all with a pistol while seated on a horse! Now THAT is beyond incredible! What also is incredible is that one of the passengers is part of the gang...and she's a lady! Naturally, it's up to the local cavalry outfit to bring the gang to justice. However, this is no easy task as the local natives are somehow bent out of shape about something (perhaps in addition to having their land taken).

While I did enjoy the opening tune, the film featured many more just like it....and I am sure after a while some audience members went mad as a result! I enjoyed them but know I am not normal! And, you'll either like 'em or hate 'em...who knows which?! If you like songs like "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" and those of the Sons of the Pioneers, well, that's kind of like what you'll hear...a lot!!

As for the story, It's filled with many familiar B-western elements--the robbing of the stage, the Indian* attack, a fallen woman, and Andy Devine. Brian Donlevy is actually very good in the film...his acting seems very natural. The ending was a mixed bag...see it and you'll probably understand. And, on balance I see this as an adequate time-passer. Not exactly a glowing endorsement, I know!



*Like so many westerns during this period, the extras appeared to be played by real natives, such as Navajos in this one. But, their leaders are played by white folks spray-tanned for the film....which isn't just politically incorrect but looked dopey.

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