4 January 2002 | horn-5
How to worsen a Robert J. Horner film, or The Miracle of Gower Gulch.
There are two names in film history who could give Edward D. Wood Jr. lessons in bad-film making in spades, and have change left over; any film with the name of Victor Adamson(Denver Dixon) or Robert J. Horner as any combination of director-writer-producer, usually all three, is a film that is guaranteed to make anything Ed Wood has his name on look like Oscar material and eligible for any Top 100 best list. As possibly one of the few people in the world who has copies of and seen nearly every Horner-Adamson-Wood sound-era film (some of us are gluttons for punishment), I ask the Ed Wood johnny-come-lately cultists to check out Horner and Adamson before they start scoffing and crying over the thought that Angora Ed doesn't stand alone. Heck, he ain't even at the top of the 'bad' list. Some of my fellow "gluttons" aren't even certain he makes the top Five list, although I'd make Horner number one and let Adamson and Wood be tied for a (very) distant second and third position. I'm open to hearing conflicting arguments, but only if the cussing is limited to Tex-Mex words I can understand. Anyway, 1934's Racketeers Round-up serves to make my Horner point, but Beaumont Pictures' Mitchell Leichter managed to even top that by taking Horner's 50-minute original,and evidently hiring Jerry Callahan, Willian Tuers and Willian Austin to direct-film-edit seven additional minutes of footage built around "Black King, the Horse With the Human Brain" and tacking the results onto Horner's original work, and sending this virus-added plague back out into the unsuspecting world as "Gunners and Guns." With this one fell stroke, Leichter achieved "the greatness thrust upon them" attribute mentioned at the end of Preston Sturges great "The Miracle of Morgan Creek." He actually accomplished the impossible...he made a Horner work even worse than it was. Us gluttons stand in awe.