Friday, February 27, 2009

Tonight's Movie: The Desperadoes (1943)

THE DESPERADOES is a very enjoyable Western starring two excellent leading men, Randolph Scott and Glenn Ford. The movie also has some nice production values and a light, often humorous storyline which makes for agreeable viewing.

Handsome Ford plays Cheyenne Rogers, a gunslinger who decides it's time to reform when he rides into a Utah town of the 1860s and meets pretty Alison (Evelyn Keyes). Fortunately for Rogers, the sheriff (Randolph Scott) is an old friend. Cheyenne and the sheriff get each other out of multiple jams while solving a recent bank robbery. Cheyenne is also aided by the town's "bad" woman (Claire Trevor), who's another old friend, and a genial if none-too-smart pyromaniac named Nitro (Guinn "Big Boy" Williams).

That's about all there is to the film's 87 minutes. The movie features some lovely Technicolor location shooting near Kanab, Utah; a couple Internet sources say that this was Columbia's first Technicolor movie. Some of the location shots clearly use doubles but there are other location scenes featuring the principal cast members. The cast, the colorful setting, and some action, romance, and humor all add up to a nice way to spend a Friday evening.

The fiery Ford was clearly on his way to stardom in this film. Scott is a genial presence but it's Ford who has the movie's love story and perhaps a little more screen time. Ford and Keyes were frequent costars during the '40s. Their film THE MATING OF MILLIE (1948) is a movie I particularly liked which frequently aired on TV when I was growing up; now my daughter loves it too.

THE DESPERADOES was directed by Charles Vidor. The year after THE DESPERADOES was released, Vidor married the film's leading lady Evelyn Keyes, but the marriage only lasted a little over a year. Vidor, incidentally, directed Ford in his classic film GILDA (1946), costarring Rita Hayworth.

The supporting cast includes Edgar Buchanan, Porter Hall, Raymond Walburn, Irving Bacon, Bernard Nedell, Glenn Strange, and Slim Whitaker.

THE DESPERADOES has been released on both DVD and VHS.


Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

I really like this western. I thought that Scott and Ford had excellent "buddy" chemistry as well.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi J.C., good to hear from you! This movie was a fun surprise. I'll definitely be watching it again in the future. I agree Scott & Ford were a good team.

Best wishes,

11:32 AM  

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