Lone Pine Film Festival which was based on a story by Zane Grey.
CODE OF THE WEST was the third and final RKO "B" Western starring James Warren, following WANDERER OF THE WASTELAND (1945) and SUNSET PASS (1946). Warren and Robert Mitchum kept the RKO "B" Western franchise going while Tim Holt was serving in WWII; Holt returned to RKO "B's" with THUNDER MOUNTAIN (1947), released a few months after CODE OF THE WEST.
CODE OF THE WEST is a solid 57-minute Western with a good supporting cast. Bob Wade (Warren) and his pal Chito Rafferty (John Laurenz) save Ruth Stockton (Debra Alden) and her banker father (Harry Harvey) from robbers.
It's a familiar Western tale but it's nicely done, including great-looking Lone Pine locations. Warren, who looks a bit like Bill Elliott, is bland but acceptable in the lead role.
This was just Burr's third film, and he's already a highly effective villain. In his very next movie he'd be menacing costar Brodie in Anthony Mann's great little "B" noir DESPERATE (1947).
This was one of two films in which Laurenz played Chito, the other being SUNSET PASS (1946). Richard Martin, who had played Chito in WANDERER OF THE WASTELAND and two earlier Mitchum Westerns, returned to the part with THUNDER MOUNTAIN and played it for the rest of the series, until RKO shut down its "B" Western unit in 1952. Laurenz had none of Martin's charisma and charm, and I was amused to note a comment by an IMDb reviewer, "It was practically sacrilegious to see someone else as the happy go lucky Chito." Martin certainly took that role and made it his own, one of the standout performers of "B" Westerns.
CODE OF THE WEST was directed by William Berke and filmed in black and white by Jack MacKenzie.
It's available on DVD in the Zane Grey Collection from Lions Gate.
Coming next: The other film I saw at the festival which was based on a Zane Grey story, RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE (1941).