Monday, September 26, 2011

Rare Westerns on Netflix Instant Watch Capsule Reviews, vol.9

Stagecoach Outlaws (1945)

A black hat wearing stagecoach outlaw is busted by Buster Crabbe, so he decides to break a ruthless bandit out of jail to help him better rob people. The bandit also knows the location of some hidden loot. However, old man Fuzzy (a reoccurring B-western slapstick character played by Al St. John) ends up locked up in the bandit’s cell. The outlaw gang assume Fuzzy to be the bandit, and Fuzzy plays along, assuming the role in bumbling fashion. Of course, Fuzzy helps Buster take the gang down from the inside, leading to a pretty badass stunt filled finale in a super rickety old house set that looks like it was made out of cardboard.

This PRC cheapie has a very solid transfer considering the source. Never released on home video. Buster and Fuzzy teamed up for several other westerns that are on Netflix instant:

Oath of Vengeance (1944)
Prairie Rustlers (1945)
Lightning Raiders (1945)
Outlaws of the Plains (1946)
Overland Riders (1946)
Prairie Badmen (1946)
Gentlemen with Guns (1946)
Ghost of Hidden Valley (1946)

Buster also starred in The Lawless Eighties (1957) and Gunfighters of Abilene (1960), both of which are on Netflix instant.

Flaming Bullets (1945)

A gang of outlaws are making money by breaking out wanted criminals from jail so they can shoot them and collect the reward. Tex Ritter from the Texas Rangers (not the baseball team dumbass) tries to bait the gang by posing as a wanted criminal, since he happens to look like a dude on a wanted poster. Another typical B-programmer built on coincidence and do-gooding, this nevertheless ends with a fight in a saloon filled with laughing gas, which is certainly novel.

Okay transfer is watchable. Another Texas Rangers (Tex Ritter, Dave O’ Brien, Guy Wilkerson) film Frontier Fugitives (also 1945) is also on Netflix instant.

Cheyenne Roundup (1943)

A gang is run out of town by marshall Tex Ritter, but it turns out that the leader of the gang has a do-good twin brother (Johnny Mack Brown), so the two team up. Of course, the evil twin dies, so the good twin adopts his identity and goes undercover to try and break up the gang from the inside as they try to rob a gold claim. Fairly nice photography for a quickie B western, but padded with songs.

Very good transfer, and never released on home video. Tex Ritter and Johnny Mack Brown also teamed up in several other films that are on Netflix instant: The Lone Star Trail and Raiders of San Joaquin, both 1943 (I don’t think the latter was ever released on home video). Johnny Mack Brown stars by himself in Stagecoach Buckaroo (1942), also on Netflix instant and only previously available on VHS.

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