Friday, August 16, 2013

Tonight's Movie: Rio Grande Patrol (1950)

RIO GRANDE PATROL is yet another enjoyable RKO Western starring Tim Holt and Richard Martin.

This time around Holt plays Kansas; he and Chito (Martin) are border patrol agents who team up with a lawman from south of the border, Captain Trevino (Rick Vallin), to deal with a gang attempting to smuggle guns to Mexico.

The bad guys hide the guns amidst the luggage of a group of showgirls, including Cleo Moore. Lovely Jane Nigh (BORDER TREASURE) is also on hand as a saloon singer who loves Captain Trevino.

RIO GRANDE PATROL isn't particularly distinguished, yet it's a great example of why the Holt films work so well. It's a fun, speedy hour with a personable cast.

I think my favorite moment in this one was watching Holt watching Martin enraptured by the saloon gals singing and dancing. Holt's ever-bemused, patient tolerance of the ebullient, girl-crazy Chito is one of the fun aspects of these films. Chito, who's been patrolling the desert, sighing with longing for a pretty girl who "smells like vanilla" was another cute scene.

At the Western Clippings site I recently came across an extensive rating list of the Holt films by Western historian Boyd Magers. I don't necessarily endorse all of Magers' ratings -- I think, for example, I liked RIO GRANDE PATROL more than he did -- but it's an impressive effort by someone who knows the Holt films well, and I enjoyed looking over his list.

RIO GRANDE PATROL runs 60 minutes. It was directed by Lesley Selander and shot by J. Roy Hunt. The supporting cast includes Douglas Fowley, Tom Tyler, John Holland, Harry Harvey, and Larry Johns.

The movie was filmed in Southern California at locations which included Corriganville and the RKO Encino Ranch. Some of the RKO Ranch sets used in the film are seen here, including the railroad depot and a grocery store with signs in Spanish.

RIO GRANDE PATROL is available in an excellent print as part of the Warner Archive Tim Holt Western Classics Collection, Vol. 3. Like other Holt films, this movie can be rented from ClassicFlix.

Previous reviews of Tim Holt Westerns: THE RENEGADE RANGER (1938), ROBBERS OF THE RANGE (1941), THUNDER MOUNTAIN (1947), GUNS OF HATE (1948), RIDERS OF THE RANGE (1950), STORM OVER WYOMING (1950), RIDER FROM TUCSON (1950), and BORDER TREASURE (1950).


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