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: Johnny Reno (1966)  ( 373 )

« : May 13, 2017, 10:57:32 PM »

The mistake I made was being born.

Johnny Reno is directed by R.G. Springsteen and written by Steve Fisher and Andrew Craddock. It stars Dana Andrews, Jane Russell, Lyle Bettger, Lon Chaney Jr., John Agar and Tom Drake. A Technicolor/Techniscope production, with music by Jimmie Haskell (title tune song by Jerry Wallace) and cinematography by Harold Stine.

Andrews is Johnny Reno, a tough no nonsense U.S. Marshal who after arresting suspected Indian killer Joe Conners (Drake), takes him to the jail in Stone Junction in Kansas. But once there Johnny finds a hostile and corrupt town that want Conners lynched before trial. Why? Does this town have a secret? Is Conners really as innocent as he proclaims? Reno must stand alone against the town to find the truth.

Safe Western film making 101, Johnny Reno has just enough about it to keep it from stinker status. There's a fine cast involved, but they are either winding down their long careers or merely going through the motions. The direction is standard fare, with the action sequences constructed only adequately, and the musical score is at times more befitting a comedy serial episode.

Yet the premise, as simple as it is, plays out well for dramatic purpose. Reno is a two fisted hard bastard type of guy, and it's fun to watch him tackle the whole of Stone Junction, including, naturally, affairs of the heart by way of Russell's Nona Williams. The narrative has some observations on corruption, racism and vigilantism that are to be applauded, while the Techniscope photography around Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park is most easy on the eye.

It is what it is, a Western in the late 60s trying to keep with the formula traditions of the "B" grade Oaters from the previous decade. It succeeds on that front for sure, where even though it has plenty of faults, it's a decent enough time waster for fans of the stars or those who like the said undemanding Westerns of the 50s. 6/10

UK cable.

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