Warner Archive's Wild Bill Elliott Western Collection! This time around it's REBEL CITY (1953), costarring Marjorie Lord.
I previously reviewed THE FORTY-NINERS (1954) and KANSAS TERRITORY (1952) from this set. In recent weeks I took a little detour to review the Bill Elliott Detective Mysteries, also from the Warner Archive; I thoroughly enjoyed those and with that set finished, I was glad that I have more Elliott Westerns ahead to watch!
It's actually rather interesting, but I feel that watching Elliott's detective films helped me "get" his stoic film persona a little more and made this latest Western even more enjoyable. It didn't hurt that it was a mystery, so in some ways it felt like the detective films, it just happened to be set during the Civil War!
Elliott plays Frank Graham, a gambler who returns home to Kansas when he gets word from an old friend (Bill Walker) that his father has been killed.
It turns out that there's a gang of Southern sympathizers ("Copperheads") in the area running guns, passing counterfeit bills, and generally wreaking havoc, including murdering Frank's father. Frank takes a job as a teamster working for Jane Dudley (Lord) while he untangles the mystery in a neat 63 minutes.
Unanswered question: why was Frank gambling and not fighting in the war or helping his father in an essential business? Frank says something about he and his father each living their own lives, or words to that effect, but it's an unanswered question hanging over the movie. I was expecting he might be a Union intelligence officer working undercover!
REBEL CITY was a nicely paced film with a solid story which I enjoyed. The cast included familiar faces like I. Stanford Jolley, Denver Pyle, Ray Walker, and John Crawford -- who will forever be Sheriff Ep Bridges of THE WALTONS to me!
REBEL CITY was directed by Thomas Carr and filmed by Ernest Miller. It runs 63 minutes. (The time listed at IMDb is incorrect.)
For those who are interested in even more Wild Bill Elliott Westerns, I previously reviewed a Wild Bill Elliott Double Feature set consisting of FARGO (1952) and THE HOMESTEADERS (1953).
More reviews from this set will be coming in the future!
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 from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.