Sunday, December 11, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Vigilante Terror (1953) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Tonight I watched VIGILANTE TERROR (1953), the very last film left to watch in the Warner Archive's Wild Bill Elliott Western Collection.

As I've gotten to know Elliott this year, thanks to both the Western and Detective Mysteries collections from the Warner Archive, his reassuring presence has really grown on me. I was sorry to come to the end of the titles in the Western set.

VIGILANTE TERROR is an engrossing story about Tack Hamlin (Elliott), who finds himself unexpectedly becoming the sheriff of Pinetop, California. Tack must deal not just with outlaws, but with vigilantes who have added to the town's lawlessness.

Fuzzy Knight plays Strummer, an old friend of Tack's who becomes his deputy; it's a more serious role than usual for Knight, which was appreciated. I. Stanford Jolley, a familiar face in "B" Westerns, is a storekeeper framed for robbery, and Mary Ellen Kay does a nice job as the storekeeper's spunky daughter Lucy. Kay has a good role, including a scene where she single-handedly saves the lives of Tack, Strummer, and her father.

At 70 minutes the movie feels slightly padded, and I suspect the long chase sequence at the end could have been trimmed by a couple of minutes to move things along. Otherwise I found it to be a good, enjoyable tale.

It was particularly fun to recognize scenes shot at Iverson Ranch, since I just visited it last month. Some of the locations in the movie's final minutes were very recognizable to me as spots I'd seen on that trip!

VIGILANTE TERROR was directed by Lewis D. Collins and filmed in black and white by Ernest Miller. The supporting cast includes Myron Healey, George Wallace, Robert Bray, Henry Rowland, and Denver Pyle.

As with the other films in the set, it's a fine print.

The Wild Bill Elliott Western Collection, which came out late last year, has been one of the releases I've most enjoyed watching in 2016. It would make a great Christmas gift for fans of Elliott or "B" Westerns!

Previous reviews of films from the Wild Bill Elliott Western Collection: THE LONGHORN (1951), WACO (1952), KANSAS TERRITORY (1952), THE MAVERICK (1952), REBEL CITY (1953), TOPEKA (1953), and THE FORTY-NINERS (1954).

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 from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.


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