Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tonight's Movie: Texas Lawmen (1951) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

TEXAS LAWMEN (1951) is another solid Johnny Mack Brown Western which is part of the Monogram Cowboy Collection, Vol. 1, from the Warner Archive.

Brown stars as Marshal Johnny Mack Brown, sent to a small, dusty town to attempt to solve the murder of the sheriff (Pierce Lyden) by stage robbers he was chasing.

Johnny meets the acting sheriff, young Tod Merrick (James "Jimmy" Ellison), who's nice enough yet seems to be hiding a secret. Turns out it's quite a big secret indeed.

TEXAS LAWMEN has a tight 54-minute screenplay which, unlike the last Brown Western I watched, isn't overly padded with shots of people racing around on horseback. There are some such scenes, notably the opening stagecoach robbery, but the ratio of horseback riding to dialogue seemed more appropriate this time around!

The Joseph Poland screenplay was based on a story by longtime Western character actor Myron Healey, who also wrote the screenplay for Johnny Mack Brown's COLORADO AMBUSH (1951). Healey costarred in COLORADO AMBUSH. These two films were his only writing credits. It's so interesting to discover an actor like Healey was a man of multiple talents!

As in the other two Brown Westerns seen to date, Lyle Talbot turns up in a small role, this time around as the town doctor. The cast also includes reliable veterans I. Stanford Jolley and Lee Roberts as bad guys.

Brown once more does his own fight scene; he does these very well indeed. I rewound a scene where he takes a fall off his horse and rolls downhill, and there was a quick, unobtrusive cut to the stuntman for that one.

An oops: The sign at the marshal's office reads "Marshall's" with an extra L.

TEXAS LAWMEN was directed by Lewis Collins. It was shot in black and white by Ernest Miller.

Like the other Brown films seen to date from this DVD set, the picture and sound quality are excellent.

I'm really enjoying Brown's Monogram Westerns and look forward to seeing more.

Previous films reviewed from this set: Johnny Mack Brown in OKLAHOMA JUSTICE (1951) and MAN FROM SONORA (1951), along with Rod Cameron in CAVALRY SCOUT (1951).

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 at the Warner Archive website.


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