Officially released from Universal this is a splendid DVD. Excellent colour, picture and sound, in 4.3 Ratio, with a lovely cover. A kind of remake of the classic 1932 film, this stands up very well, mainly thanks to Ronald Reagan, perhaps the most "forgotten" western actor of them all. Here he exudes strength, and tenderness in a role Wayne would have done in his sleep. As Frame Johnson, Marshall of Tombstone, he tires of the responsibilites and lack of thanks, and asking Doroyhy Malone as his g/f to wait, he and his brothers, Alex Nichol and Russell Johnson head off to a ranch in Cottonwood. Sadly in Cottonwood there resides the Big boss..Kurt Durling (an excellent Preston Foster) and his family (Dennis Weaver in a good villain role, and a very early appearence from a manically overacting Don Gordon). There is a daughter played rather badly, tho she looks good, by Ruth Hampton. Obviously all sorts of problems and violence arise, until the rather anti climatic ending (shades of Winchester 73). A superb support cast which will have every fan going mad trying to put names to faces (Lane Bradford/Mike Ragan/Tris Coffin/Gregg Barton/boyd Morgan/Kermit Maynard/Tom Brown Henry/William Tannen/Jack Ingram/Kenneth MacDonald/Barry Kelly/ and a young almost unrecognisable Jack Kelly. Plenty of good solid western action, some hefty (if incredible) fist fights and only 80' long. A must for Western lovers. Highly recomended and a decent price.
First made in 1932 starring Walter Huston and Harry Carey the story was an adaptation of W R Burnett's hard-hitting western novel about the fictionalised clean up of Tombstone loosely based on the Wyatt Earp legend. This 70 minute film was highly regarded in its day! The second version made in 1940 starred Johnny Mack Brown, James Craig and Fuzzy Knight this was a loose remake of the above with a shorter running time. This 80 minute 1953 remake this time in Technicolor, closely follows the original 1932 version. Starring Ronald Reagan, Alex Nichol, Preston Foster, Dennis Weaver and Dorothy Malone.
Hard-hitting peace keeper Frame Johnson (Ronald Reagan) is marshal of Tombstone and has just brought in a prisoner the infamous 'Durango Kid' (Wally Cassell). When a group of angry townsmen try to lynch him without a trial. Disappointed with the lack of support from towns folk apart from saloon owner Jeanie (Dorothy Malone) he decide to pack up and take up ranching on a spread he had purchased near the town of Cottonwood. Once again he turned down the chance to become 'town tamer' but his brother Lute (Alex Nichol) took up the challenge in his stead but was tricked into a rigged gun fight and got himself shot by Frank Durling (Dennis Weaver) younger brother of local trouble maker Kurt Durling (Preston Foster). Meanwhile Frame's younger brother Jimmy (Russell Johnson) has fallen for Durling's sister Maria (Ruth Hampton). Foster and Weaver catch Jimmy in a compromising position with their sister Weaver gets shot in self defence and Jimmy is framed for murder Leaving only Frame to set out and restore Law and Order
Half of the female love interest is provided by brunette Dorothy Malone before her transformation to blonde in the mid-fifties. Newcomer Ruth Hampton proved the other half! The so called 'Durango Kid' in this film I assume has no relationship to the one played by the athletic Charles Starrett in his famous DURANGO Kid Series of the 1940s and early 50s. Arriving in Cottonwood Frame Johnson meets the local judge in the Land Office, in one shot over Reagan's shoulder can be clearly seen a portrait of Abraham Lincoln the 16th President of the United States of America, how ironic was that? 42 year-old Ronald Reagan at the time of this movie was President of the Screen Actors Guild and moving into mainline politics he became Governor of California in 1966. In 1970 he was elected as the 40th President of the United States of America, surviving a assassination attempt early in his presidency, he went on to serve two full terms. Not bad for a 'B' movie cowboy actor!
Wonder if Ronald would have gone on to greater things as an actor if he hadn't gone into politics? ( I was in Berlin when he "pulled the wall down" ) here he gives a solid performance, his facial expressions actually convince you that he means what he says! with co-stars Dorothy Malone, Chubby Johnson (seen in many a western), Alex Nichol and Preston Foster. Picture and sound perfect, a joy to watch. Wonder how many shirts he went through?