Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Wyoming Mail (1950)

WYOMING MAIL (1950) is a pretty good little Universal Western starring Stephen McNally and Alexis Smith. McNally and Smith are always welcome company in a Western, and this one is no exception.

McNally plays Steve Davis, who's working undercover for the U.S. government, trying to infiltrate and bring down a gang robbing brand-new mail trains. Congress is threatening to cut off funding for the trains if the rampant theft cannot be stopped.

Smith is Mary Williams, a glamorous saloon singer; she and Steve strike sparks every time their paths cross.

Mary thinks Steve's a bank robber on the lam, but she's so attracted to him she doesn't really seem to mind, other than worrying about his safety. Besides, she's not exactly angelic herself.

There's a too-long passage where Steve's undercover in a horrible prison run by Warden Haynes (Ed Begley Sr.), but otherwise this 87-minute film runs along at a pretty good clip, with a couple unexpected twists and turns. The movie's nothing spectacular, but Western fans will likely find it pleasant viewing, as I did.

Much of the film was shot on location in Technicolor by Russell Metty. The bad guys' hideout among the cliffs looks like it might have been filmed at Red Rock Canyon, seen most recently in DAKOTA INCIDENT (1956). The hideout, which must be accessed via a series of ladders, gives the film a distinctive look.

A commenter at IMDb mentions having been present when the company was filming in Sonora, California; I suspect that's where some of the train sequences were filmed.

The supporting cast includes Howard da Silva, Dan Riss, Roy Roberts, Armando Silvestre, James Arness, Richard Jaeckel, Whit Bissell, Frankie Darro (WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD), and a young Richard Egan, seen by me last weekend in POLLYANNA (1960).

WYOMING MAIL was directed by Reginald LeBorg.

WYOMING MAIL has been shown on TV in the past on the Encore Westerns Channel. It's not available on DVD or VHS in the U.S., but it's had a Region 2 DVD release.


Blogger john k said...

Totally agree with your fine review Laura.
Odd to see a hack director like Le Borg working on a fairly big budget Universal
picture.I've no doubt Universal's "house" directors like Boetticher or
George Sherman would have made a tighter picture. As far as Le Borg's output goes
WYOMING MAIL has to rate as one of his very best-a far cry from the poverty row
films that he normally worked on.

The question EVERYONE is asking is why is all this Universal product appearing
in Europe yet not much is appearing Stateside.
The Germans have released a host of Universal's classic Fifties Sci-Fi films on
Blu Ray with they very much sought after THIS ISLAND EARTH appearing next month.
Germany also has a box set of the Invisible Man films as a Blu-Ray/DVD combo
box set.
I understand there are several works in progress from Universal and so there should
be with the enormous success they are having at the box office-everything they
touch these days turns to gold.

We also need to see far more releases on their fine Universal Vault MOD series,
so far this year we have only has a measley three films.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

Like the above commenter, I'd be very interested to see more Universal films released to DVD, and I enjoyed your remarks on WYOMING MAIL. It is a fun little western, and I agree that anything McNally is in is worth watching. Alexis Smith, too.

5:41 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks to each of you for your feedback!

I agree, John, this one could have been tighter, but as Jacqueline says, it's fun! Like both the leads so much.

There are definitely three votes here for more Universal movies to come to DVD in the U.S.!!! And I'm sure there are more folks out there who agree.

Best wishes,

7:34 PM  

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