User Reviews (3)

Add a Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Reb Russell (Bob Grady), Marion Shilling (Betty Lou Ricard), Lafe McKee (John Ricard), Joseph W. Girard (Sheriff Crabtree), Frank McCarroll (Duke Craven), Charles Slim Whitaker (Deputy Carter), Hank Bell (Sam, a vigilante), Silver Tip Baker, Fred Burns, Bill Patton (vigilantes), Bart Carre, Herman Hack, Tracy Layne, Bud McClure, Chuck Morrison (henchmen), and "Rebel".

    Director: RAY HEINZ. Screenplay: Forbes Parkhill, based on his short story. Film editor: S. Roy Luby. Photography: James Diamond. Assistant director: William O'Connor. Production manager: Bart Carre. Producer: Willis Kent.

    Not copyrighted by Willis Kent Productions. U.S. release through Marcy Pictures Corporation in 1935. No recorded New York opening. 55 minutes (more or less).

    SYNOPSIS: After an outlaw changes clothes with a wandering cowpoke, the latter has a hard time proving his innocence.

    COMMENT: One of Reb Russell's best films. Admittedly, that's not saying a great deal. Nonetheless, by the extremely humble standards of this series (and all producer Willis Kent's efforts generally), this is an outstanding entry. Thanks are not due primarily to Mr Russell, who is much his usual baby-faced self, but to the fact that the script seems to have been written with his particular talents (or lack of them) in mind.

    Not only has the dialogue a certain uncharacteristic astringency, but the suspenseful plot is reasonably involving and has some nice twists. Furthermore, the support cast here is unusually strong and features a great performance by Frank McCarroll, who is really convincing in what is an extremely difficult role. McCarroll brings it off perfectly, managing the almost incredible feat of fooling the audience as well as Mr. Russell.

    Our heroine is attractively played by Marion Shilling (far more appealingly photographed here than in "I'll Name the Murderer"), and it's good to see Slim Whitaker on the side of the law for once. (In fact, I was at a loss for a few minutes, as I just naturally assumed he was one of the bad guys).

    Aside from weak fight scenes, Ray Heinz has directed with a sure hand, utilizing his locations to advantage. And the stunt work in the burning building is a stand-out. Is that Mr. Russell himself daring the flames? It certainly looks like him!
  • Reb Russell is knocked out, his wonder horse Rebel stolen, and he's arrested for being "Slug Raton", a bandit who shot a stage driver. He spends the rest of the movie clearing things up.

    It's long on action and short on dialogue, particularly from Wilson. It's one of Willis Kent's super-cheap westerns produced for states right distribution, and wastes nothing.... and has little to offer, because while Russell is a decent physical actor, his line readings are awful. Fortunately, he spends most of the time unconscious or with his mouth gagged.

    Lafayette H. "Reb" Russell was bon in 1906. He was a running back in college and played 10 games for the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles in 1933. Hollywood beckoned, but a couple of uncredited appearances as a football player ended that association. Willis Kent tried to make him a cowboy star, but failed. Russell toured for several seasons on the rodeo circuit, then became a rancher. He died in 1978.
  • Reb Russell had a lot of ability. He was a good-looking and athletic man, and had a good expressive face. But he couldn't deliver his lines.

    He had been to college so I bet all he really needed was some training. Alas, Hollywood apparently just threw him into a series of low-budget B Westerns to exploit his name and football fame.

    Message One: Train your athletes, Hollywood, and you might get even more out of them. (Many, such as Chuck Connors and Jim Brown, became very fine actors and sold a lot of tickets and a lot of advertising.)

    Message Two: Marion Shilling was a lovely, spirited, adorable actress and should have been cast a lot more often. Her role here would have been proof by itself: Her character was tough, ready and willing to pick up a rifle to defend herself, her home, and another person she knew was not guilty of criminal charges.

    And just watch her face. Not just lovely, but expressive. Great to watch.

    Shilling herself, by the way, dedicated herself to become a good horse rider, and even got lessons from the great Buck Jones. She really showed herself to be an excellent Westerns performer in "Blazing Guns."

    Capital punishment is maybe the law but is a bad idea, and that is Message Three. Reb Russell's character is twice accused of crimes and sentenced -- without a trial! -- to be hanged, although back in them days it was "hung."

    This story makes good use of many characters, all or most well played by some good Western performers. There is some good dialogue and, as mentioned above, the "Betty Lou Rickard" character is beautifully acted by the lovely Marion Shilling, even if she is here billed as "Marian."

    We get to see Hank Bell, covered by a vigilante mask and not given screen credit, but we veteran viewers know when we're watching a veteran player.

    Chuck Morrison, Silver Tip Baker, and Gene Alsace are also here and unbilled, but they and their ilk just make Westerns.

    Slim Whitaker, here billed as "Chas.", gets to play a deputy sheriff and some of his personality shines through.

    All in all, this is a fun movie, despite its low-budget flaws. There's a not-very-good print at YouTube. I hope you'll watch it.