Sunday, February 08, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Return of the Bad Men (1948) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Another day, another Randolph Scott Western! Tonight I watched the very entertaining RETURN OF THE BAD MEN (1948). It's available as part of the 5-film Randolph Scott Classics Collection from the Warner Archive.

Like yesterday's film, TRAIL STREET (1947), RETURN OF THE BAD MEN stars Randolph Scott, Robert Ryan, Anne Jeffreys, Steve Brodie, and Gabby Hayes.

RETURN OF THE BAD MEN and TRAIL STREET were both directed by Ray Enright, filmed by J. Roy Hunt, and produced by Nat Holt and executive producer Jack Gross.

In RETURN OF THE BAD MEN Scott plays Vance Cordell, a former Texas Ranger who is engaged to widowed Madge (Jacqueline White of THE NARROW MARGIN); they plan to marry and leave with her young son (Gary Gray) for California.

A whole lotta bad guys rob the bank owned by Madge's father (Hayes); the crew includes Cheyenne (Jeffreys), who's related to the Doolin family, plus the Sundance Kid (Ryan in evil mode!), Cole Younger (Brodie), Emmett Dalton (Lex Barker), and Wild Bill Doolin (Robert Armstrong), with additional outlaws played by Richard Powers (aka Tom Keene), Robert Bray, Walter Reed, Michael Harvey, Dean White, Lew Harvey, and Tom Tyler.

Vance persuades a wounded Cheyenne to turn herself in and reform. He and Madge put off the trip to California so Vance can serve as marshal of the brand-new Oklahoma Territory and go after the rest of the outlaws, especially the Sundance Kid, who killed his friend Grey Eagle (Charles Stevens).

This 90-minute movie was a well-paced action film with lots of enjoyable familiar faces. I especially liked White and Jeffreys each having plenty of screen time as the two women who both love Vance. It's a solid Western which delivers plenty of entertainment value.

Anne Jeffreys turned 92 on January 26th -- which incidentally was the very same day that Joan Leslie, star of the other film I watched today, turned 90! I was fortunate to see Jeffreys in person almost exactly one year ago, at the centennial tribute to Loretta Young; there's a nice photo of her in my post.

Jacqueline White, who I was fortunate to see at the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival, turned 92 in November. It's lovely that all three of these wonderful actresses are still with us today.

The Warner Archive DVD is a nice black and white print. There are no extras.

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.


Blogger Jerry E said...

Nice review, Laura, of a film you obviously enjoyed as much as I do. This was a very early favourite in my life, having seen it on TV within 10 years of it being made (I WAS very young at the time!) and it and its stars made an impression that has never left me.
Since those early years of course I also came to appreciate many of the character actors that also bring so much enjoyment to it.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Kristina Dijan said...

I like this one too, nice cast and I really enjoy how it plays with all those characters, putting them together like an alternate history.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Maricatrin said...

Good review, and again, I couldn't agree more! A very fast paced and entertaining film (and all the many characters make re-watching enjoyable too.)

Kristina, you're so right about it being "alternate history!" I like putting it that way... the term can really apply to "The Texas Rangers (1951)" as well (another good western.)

12:25 PM  
Blogger John G. said...

Jacqueline of my faves. But you already knew that, Laura. :-)

3:37 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you all so much for your comments!

Jerry, I really did enjoy this one...I love hearing of how you first became acquainted with it. It sounds as though this must have been one of the films which made you a classic film fan!

I like that "alternate history," Kristina. There's a post an IMDb which painstakingly points out various dates to illustrate why the story couldn't have actually taken place...but I don't think any of us really care too much about that LOL. So much fun to have all those characters together in one story!

Maricatrin, thanks so much for your feedback, I'm glad to know you enjoyed this one too. I also enjoyed THE TEXAS RANGERS, especially as I'm a fan of George Montgomery Westerns.

John G., Jacqueline had an especially good scene with Anne Jeffreys where she spoke passionately about the hard life she had lived -- it really gave her previously "picture pretty" character some depth. Assume you've seen this one!

Best wishes,

7:24 PM  
Blogger Jerry E said...

It certainly was one of those films, Laura, that made me such a film fan and especially a Westerns fan. The other film that appeared on our TV screens quite a lot back then was "Badman's Territory" (the third on your list).

Of course, I grew up in the "classic" movie era and back then it was the mainstream. Started to become the "classic" era, I guess, after the collapse of the studio system and so much was to change. I always think of the classic era ending c.1960-62.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

That's really special, Jerry. It sounds like those Scott films had the same profound effect on you that films like THE SOUND OF MUSIC and MGM musicals had on me at a similar age.

Though it had been petering out for some years, I tend to think of the classic film era ending in 1965 (ironically the year THE SOUND OF MUSIC came out) -- when the ratings system came into effect and movie content started changing significantly.

Looking forward to BADMAN'S TERRITORY!

Best wishes,

P.S. Saw another one tonight with a good Forrest Tucker performance, CALIFORNIA PASSAGE. :)

12:11 AM  

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