Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tonight's Movie: The Texas Rangers (1936)

THE TEXAS RANGERS is an entertaining Western starring Fred MacMurray.

MacMurray, Jack Oakie, and Lloyd Nolan play a trio of outlaws who split up during a gunfight. Broke and hungry, MacMurray and Oakie find themselves signing on with the Texas Rangers, with the promise of square meals and $40 a month. Initially the men plan to use inside info from the Rangers to continue a life of crime, but they are so changed by their experiences that they decide to work on the side of law and order permanently. The story comes to a climax when the Texas Rangers must arrest Nolan.

MacMurray gives a fine performance, and Jean Parker is charming as the sassy major's daughter who isn't shy about declaring her feelings for MacMurray. The pace can be a bit pokey at times; I think the movie could have used more of MacMurray and Parker's delightful scenes and quite a bit less of MacMurray and Oakie. On the plus side, there are some good action sequences, shot on location in New Mexico. All in all, THE TEXAS RANGERS isn't a top-drawer Western, but it's a solid, well-made shoot-'em-up which provides good entertainment on a weekend afternoon.

The supporting cast includes Edward Ellis, Bennie Bartlett, and Gabby Hayes.

THE TEXAS RANGERS was produced and directed by King Vidor, who also cowrote the story. It was shot in black and white and runs 98 minutes.

THE TEXAS RANGERS is available on DVD as part of the Classic Western Roundup, Vol. I. The other movies in the set are CANYON PASSAGE (a good Dana Andrews-Susan Hayward movie), Audie Murphy's THE KANSAS RAIDERS, and THE LAWLESS BREED with Rock Hudson and Julie Adams.

THE TEXAS RANGERS was also released on VHS.


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