Friday, August 12, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Ridin' for Justice (1932)

Time to watch another Buck Jones Western!

Tonight's Jones film was a very interesting pre-Code Western romance, RIDIN' FOR JUSTICE (1932).

Jones plays Buck Randall, a happy-go-lucky cowhand who's not serious about very much until he meets Mary Slyde (Mary Doran). Buck and Mary "meet cute" when Buck chooses her home to hide out from Marshal Joseph Slyde (Russell Simpson) -- who happens to be Mary's husband.

Buck hadn't really done much wrong, it's just the marshal wanted Buck to hand over his gun when he was in town and Buck wasn't going to stand for it. This made quite an enemy out of the marshal, a man with a big ego.

Mary had married Joseph to escape a bad home situation with her stepfather, but she went from the frying pan into the fire, stuck in a loveless marriage cooking and cleaning for a much older man who treats her as an idiot housekeeper.

While the marshal is out hunting for Buck, Mary and Buck attend a masked dance where they confess their love for one another, and Mary decides to return East and obtain a divorce. There's an unexpected calamity later that night when Mary shoots lecherous Deputy Frame (Walter Miller) to protect herself, and the death is pinned on Buck, with Mary's husband all too eager to hang him.

With its theme of forbidden love, this was quite a different storyline from your typical Western. The movie probably couldn't have been made just a couple of years later, once enforcement of the Production Code kicked in.

Even so, the storyline is handled delicately, with Buck and Mary agreeing that she must seek a divorce before they can be together. They don't so much as kiss, but the story is all the more powerful and touching for the restrained, romantic way it's told.

This is the fourth Jones film I've seen and to date they've all been well-made winners with unique plots. I'm very much looking forward to seeing more. The wonderful thing about movies is that no matter how many films you've seen, there are always exciting new discoveries to be made and enjoyed.

RIDIN' FOR JUSTICE was directed by D. Ross Lederman from a script by Harold Shumate. It was filmed by Benjamin Kline. The running time is 61 minutes.

I saw RIDIN' FOR JUSTICE thanks to it recently airing on getTV.

Previous reviews of Buck Jones Westerns: UNKNOWN VALLEY (1933), THE MAN TRAILER (1934), and BOSS OF LONELY VALLEY (1937).


Blogger john k said...

Firstly,let me thank you so much for giving me the opportunity
to see this film and secondly for your great write up on this little gem.
As you note,I found the Pre-Code elements most interesting.
I loved the beginning where we are treated to a lovely bucolic scene,
horses grazing peacefully,a dog and cat sitting together in total harmony,
then all hell breaks loose as Buck swings into two fisted action.
Ross Lederman like Lambert Hillyer is a most interesting B picture director.
I'd love to see more of his Tim McCoy Westerns and crime programmers.
If only the Sony MOD series was still going strong we would be able to
see pristine copies of these rare films. I wonder what went wrong with Sony's
MOD series which has now virtually come to a halt

5:59 AM  
Blogger Kristina said...

Really enjoying your Jones reviews, nothing like finding a whole new actor/series to dig into-- you've inspired me to watch the ones I have of his!

7:18 AM  
Blogger Jerry E said...

Hi Laura!
An enticing review for your readers of a most unusual storyline, as you say. Another of Jones' fine early sound westerns for Columbia. I am so enjoying the fact that you are so obviously enjoying these!!
Today I was fortunate enough to attend another 'home cinema' gathering of old friends (more than a dozen) to watch 'B' westerns. Apart from starting with an excellent early Bill Elliott, we were next treated to a 1931 Columbia from none other than our subject star, Buck Jones. But this was one I had never seen before, "THE DEADLINE" from a Sony MOD disc. We could not believe the superb transfer quality -quite stunning, and a really enjoyable film. As this is available to get I hope we will some time see a review, 'Laura-style'. I shall look forward to that.
Ironically, the next film shown turned out to be "FLAME OF THE WEST", reviewed by you only days ago. This was another first viewing for me and I rate this as one of Brown's best. Monogram were apparently going for a bigger budget 'special'. It sure worked for me. I particularly enjoyed the leading role given to character actor (and often bad-hat), Douglas Dumbrille. I particularly wanted to return to this film here and certainly had not expected the chance to see it so soon after your great review.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi everyone!

John, I'm so glad you were able to enjoy this one too. That opening you mention, with the dog and cat relaxing together, was delighful. A very well-constructed film. It really is a shame that Sony DVDs seem to trickle out now, if at all.

Kristina, it really is great having new things to enjoy -- for me in recent years some of the most enjoyable "new" stuff has been so diverse -- Yasujiro Ozu, Harold Lloyd, and Buck Jones!

Jerry, your "movie day" with your pals sounds like so much fun!! I have a copy of THE DEADLINE (not sure of the print quality though) and will try to watch it soon. How amazing you ended up seeing FLAME OF THE WEST the very same week I did -- especially given that it's not very well known, what were the chances?! That's fantastic, especially as you found it as good a watch as I did. A very good film which is also at the top of my Brown list. I'm glad you added your endorsement here and hope more people will check it out.

Best wishes,

9:39 PM  
Blogger Jerry E said...

Incidentally, Laura, I should have mentioned that two of my friends at this gathering visited the U.S. many times from 1969 on and met many stars and cast members of these little films, including both Tim Holt and Johnny Mack Brown. Apparently not one negative thing was ever reported said about Johnny Mack who was a true Southern gentleman and all-around 'nice guy'. Thought you might enjoy knowing that.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Jerry, how wonderful for your friends. I love hearing their anecdotal reports. It's always great when you learn that someone enjoyed on screen was admirable in real life as well.

The other day I read somewhere that when filming on a movie came to an end, Brown would tell everyone "Thank you for letting me make this movie with you." Says a lot about him right there.

Best wishes,

9:10 AM  
Blogger Jerry E said...

It sure does.

9:48 AM  

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