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Author Topic: The Texas Rangers (1936)  (Read 1717 times)
cigar joe
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« on: January 23, 2009, 09:39:59 PM »

Well the Netflix DVD of "Canyon Passage" was a double bill that included "The Texas Rangers" directed by King Vidor so I watched this film tonight. I wasn't sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised. It has a nice picaresque start to it. 

Jack Oakie a great comedian and character actor who has all but been forgotton plays Henry B. 'Wahoo' Jones and we see him driving a stagecoach against a backdrop of Texas prairie.  After he has a funny bit of conversation with his shotgun rider the stage is held up by Jim Hawkins played by Fred MacMurray and Sam 'Polka Dot' McGee played by Lloyd Nolan who is equally great in this film. 

The stage hold up is very picaresque with Oakie providing most of the humor, there is a sequence where he is crying crocodile tears when the bandits ask for his watch and he tells then that it was a memento from his father, a fade to black reveals, in the next scene around a campfire, that Whaoo, Hawkins, and McGee are all in cahoots and they split the loot and Oakie gets his watch back. After a short interval a voice calls out of the dark that they are surrounded and to get their hands up, and Hawkins kicks out the campfire and we get another fade to black with shots ringing out.

We next cut to Wahoo again driving a stage for what we expect is a repeat of the con. This time however the shotgun is a Texas Ranger and at a water stop another comedic display from Wahoo warns Hawkins minus a missing McGee who is planning to rob the stage not to attempt the con.  The two outlaws decide that since the Rangers are a tough outfit to go up against maybe they should join them for wages rather than fight them. They get an assignment to track down cattle rustlers and discover their old partner in crime McGee driving a stolen heard with some Mexican vaqueros and they decide that they can con the Rangers using their inside information on money shipments with McGee doing the dirty work.

Anyway a love interest and a kid that they rescue from marauding Indians gums up the works and basically Wahoo & Hawkins get "religion".

As I started watching this as soon as I heard the name Wahoo a switch clicked and I realised that I saw a remake of this that was called "The Streets Of Laredo" (1949) with William Holden, and William Bendix as "Reuben Whaoo Jones" with a Brooklyn accent. That remake palled in comparison to "The Texas Rangers" the unrepentant bad guy in Laredo sucked compared to Loyd Nolan.

Also making a cameo is George "Gabby" Hays as a judge, all in all "The Texas Rangers" in Black & white and even with the predictable Hays Code redemptive moral ending is superior to the remake. Worth a look if you are interested.




 
 

« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 09:51:12 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2009, 06:53:01 PM »

Re-watched this today again, still good catch it if you can 7/10.

Makes me want to see if I can find and catch Oakie in Northwest Stampede (1948), Tomahawk (1951) with Van Heflin, and The Wonderful Country (1959) (of which I've only caught the beginning) with Robert Mitchum.

« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 07:03:11 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2011, 03:15:35 PM »

Spot on. I'll add that the final scene between Oakie and Nolan is remarkable. 

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