19 April 2014 | hitchcockthelegend
The Deepwater Dimwits.
Riding Shotgun is directed by Andre De Toth and adapted to screenplay by Thomas W. Blackburn fro the story "Riding Solo" written by Kenneth Perkins. It stars Randolph Scott, Wayne Morris, Joan Weldon, Joe Sawyer, James Millican, Charles Bronson and James Bell. Music is by David Buttolph and Warnercolor cinematography is by Bert Glennon.
Before he would make the Western movies with Budd Boetticher that would define him as a Western movie legend, Randolph Scott worked tirelessly in the genre. He would make 6 films with Ray Enright and 6 with Andre De Toth, all of these are good value for the Western fan. They vary in thematic quality, but production value was always decent and there was always Randy at war with some gruff or poncey bloke, nice location photography and of course some gorgeous ladies as well. That's enough for genre fans who happily take these movies on their required terms.
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Riding Shotgun has Scott as Larry Delong, a man who spends his time "riding shotgun" as a stagecoach guard. He has an ulterior motive, though, he's constantly on the look out for a known outlaw, Dan Marady (Millican), and he wants him dead. Sure enough Malady is about the place and Larry falls into a trap and finds things spiralling so out of control, that by the time he manages to get back into town, practically everyone hates him and thinks he's part of Marady's murderous gang.
Hate makes a man careless.
Cue a scenario where Delong, who has been wonderfully providing us with a film noir like narration throughout (love the wry David and Goliath observation), literally has to make a one man stand against the dimwit townsfolk and also Marady and his henchmen who are fronted by twitchy gun Pinto! (Bronson). It clocks in at under 75 minutes, it's brisk, it has Scott kicking ass big time and it looks lovely (unsurprising with Glennon photographing).
Is it flawless? God no! There's some distinctly below average acting around Scott (Morris/Millican), while Fritz Feld as the Cantina owner (erm, called Fritz) where Delong holes up, is annoying in the extreme. While as radiant and perky as Joan Weldon is, she's no actress capable of grabbing a scene and shooting electricity through it. But this type of Scott Oater is comfort food to genre fans who once in a while like to down pistols and relax away from the more serious genre fare. 7/10