Friday, October 24, 2014

Tonight's Movie: Outlaw Gold (1950) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

With OUTLAW GOLD (1950) I've now seen all four films starring Johnny Mack Brown in the nine-film Monogram Cowboy Collection, Vol. 1, from the Warner Archive.

This is one of the weaker Brown entries in this set, nothing really special or unique about it, but it's still pleasant viewing, a nice, old-fashioned Western.

Brown's genial, competent persona makes for enjoyable company. Now that I'm out of his films I'm looking forward to acquiring more; they're just right when there's time to enjoy a short, undemanding film at the end of a long day.

This time around Johnny Mack is an undercover marshal, aided by an older undercover deputy, Sandy (Milburn Morante). They're on the trail of a huge missing shipment of gold.

Johnny and Sandy come to the aid of Kathy (Jane Adams) after her father (Steve Clark) is shot. Sandy takes a job helping Kathy run her newspaper business, which enables him to hear all the latest gossip and track down leads. Meanwhile Johnny must clear himself of a trumped-up charge that he shot Kathy's father and then track down his suspects in the case of the missing gold.

A cliched scene where Kathy drives a runaway wagon is almost too predictable, threatening to veer the movie into paint-by-the-numbers melodrama, but for the most part it's an enjoyable, if ultimately forgettable, short Western. Although IMDb says the running time is 56 minutes, I believe the Warner Archive DVD I watched ran closer to 51-52 minutes.

Jane Adams was on screen for a decade, from the early '40s through early '50s, usually in bit roles or as the leading lady in "B" Westerns such as OUTLAW GOLD. She just passed on this year, at the age of 95. Her late husband, Major General Thomas Turnage, had headed both the Selective Service and the Veterans Administration. An interview with Jane is available at the Western Clippings site; she said, "My life has been a great adventure."

OUTLAW GOLD was written by Jack Lewis and directed by Wallace Fox. The movie was filmed by Gilbert Warrenton at the Iverson Ranch. The supporting cast includes Myron Healey, Marshall Reed, and Hugh Prosser.

Previous films reviewed from this set: Johnny Mack Brown in OKLAHOMA JUSTICE (1951), MAN FROM SONORA (1951), and TEXAS LAWMEN (1951), plus Rod Cameron in CAVALRY SCOUT (1951).

Still to come in the future: reviews of the set's films starring Jimmy Wakely.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD collection. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.


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