Sunday, December 10, 2017

Tonight's Movie: The Kid From Texas (1939) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Dennis O'Keefe stars as THE KID FROM TEXAS (1939), one of a couple '30s Westerns recently released on DVD by the Warner Archive.

O'Keefe plays William Quincy, a cowboy and aspiring polo player. He heads east aspiring to star on the polo circuit, only to flop and end up in a Wild West show.

He has a crush on wealthy Margo Thomas (Florence Rice), but she doesn't give the brash, loud-mouthed cowboy who tells tall tales the time of day. Does Margo's argumentative nature hide a secret attraction for the goofy fellow? Anyone who doesn't know the answer probably hasn't seen very many movies.

I love Dennis O'Keefe and paid tribute to him on his birthday last year, but this early feature film effort is kind of painful at times. O'Keefe had recently graduated from years of bit player work to lead roles with HOLD THAT KISS (1938); here he's stymied by the combination of a bad script and his own unnuanced yokel performance.

Fortunately much better material and performances were in O'Keefe's future, including noir classics such as T-MEN (1947), RAW DEAL (1948), ABANDONED (1949), and WOMAN ON THE RUN (1950), not to mention my personal favorite O'Keefe film, COVER UP (1949), a "cozy" Christmas mystery which he cowrote.

Florence Rice, seen most recently in NAVY BLUE AND GOLD (1937), is likewise usually a very enjoyable leading lady, but she spends much of the film looking down her nose at O'Keefe's character. Neither of their characters is especially appealing here, more's the pity.

The film has a good supporting cast including John Hubbard (billed here as Anthony Allan), Buddy Ebsen, Virginia Dale (HOLIDAY INN), Jessie Ralph, and Jack Carson, but they're working in service of a very weak story. I love MGM "B's" but this one is on the low end quality wise.

THE KID FROM TEXAS was directed by S. Sylvan Simon. It was filmed in black and white by Sidney Wagner. (An interesting aside, according to IMDb some scenes were filmed at Darryl F. Zanuck's polo stables.) The running time is 71 minutes.

The DVD includes the trailer. The print is slightly faded at times but all is all is quite watchable, with good sound.

Coming soon, a review of the new Warner Archive release RENEGADES OF THE WEST (1932), a Western starring Tom Keene.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.


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