Saturday, May 05, 2018

Tonight's Movie: Singing Guns (1950) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Kino Lorber has a real winner in its new Blu-ray release SINGING GUNS (1950), starring Vaughn Monroe and Ella Raines.

Like another new Kino release, TRIGGER, JR. (1950), SINGING GUNS is a "brand-new HD master from a 4K scan of the original 35mm Trucolor nitrate negatives from the Paramount Pictures Archives."

The Blu-ray print looks absolutely spectacular, and the film also turns out to be quite a nicely done Western which I enjoyed a great deal. This spin on the classic Western theme of an outlaw becoming sheriff benefits from a good script by Dorrell and Stuart McGowan, based on a novel by Max Brand.

Singing star Monroe plays a stagecoach robber named Rhiannon. He's not really a bad sort, risking his life to save the new sheriff (Ward Bond) and bring him to the town doctor (Walter Brennan). The doctor, who also serves as the parson on Sundays, immediately deduces the stranger's identity and true character and quietly sets out to reform him, starting with recruiting Rhiannon to serve as deputy sheriff.

Now going by the name of John Gwyn, the deputy sheriff falls for a flashy saloon gal (Ella Raines) who's also coveted by the sheriff. And there's a man named Richards (Jeff Corey) who's interested in finding the gold stashed away in Rhiannon's hideout.

This was simply a very enjoyable Western with an engaging plot and likeable characters, beautifully filmed with warm nighttime interiors and gorgeous Sedona exteriors.

Monroe isn't the greatest actor, but he's acceptable, carried along by the pros who surround him, and wow, does he have a nice singing voice. Although Monroe's character is a stolid type, his songs are staged in ways which make dramatic sense, so it's not awkward when the tight-lipped fellow suddenly bursts into song. I liked the music as well as the rest of the movie, and I'm looking forward to catching his film TOUGHEST MAN IN ARIZONA (1952) with Joan Leslie at some point.

You can't go wrong backing Monroe with Brennan and Bond, who are both excellent, and I've always liked Ella Raines, the leading lady of many good film noir and Western titles, including one of the best non-John Ford John Wayne Westerns, TALL IN THE SADDLE (1944). She looks quite stunning in Technicolor!

Look for George Chandler, Barry Kelley, Jimmie Dodd, Billy Gray, and John Doucette in the large cast.

SINGING GUNS was directed by R.G. Springsteen and filmed in Trucolor by Reggie Lanning. It runs 91 minutes.

Extras include a trailer gallery for four Western and adventure films also available from Kino Lorber, and most importantly, a commentary track by Toby Roan. I've enjoyed all of Toby's other tracks and am sure I'll enjoy this one as well.

Kino Lorber has also released this film on DVD.

I believe my fellow Western fans should also like this one! Recommended.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


Blogger Jerry Entract said...

Very interested to have your review of this Republic western that I've never seen, Laura, YET!! All I've heard now suggests it would appeal to this western fan. Another Roan commentary is a big draw for many of us and such beautiful restorations are unbeatable. My copy of Kino's "TRIGGER JR" arrived a few days ago and I can't wait to dive in!
Interesting to see how many more films from the Paramount archives make releases for us to enjoy. From what I read this week, sadly "HELLFIRE" won't be one of them necessarily.

12:49 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Jerry! I have a feeling you would like this one too. If you get it do let me know what you think! Also interested to hear what you think of TRIGGER, JR. when you put it in your player. I felt they were two of the best-looking discs I've seen in recent months.

That is a bummer about HELLFIRE, I hadn't caught up to that news yet! We'll cross our fingers on that one.

Best wishes,

7:31 PM  
Blogger john k said...

So sorry to be so late in the day but I pretty much agree with you
on the film and Monroe.
The transfer is stunning.
I too hope Kino give us THE TOUGHEST MAN IN ARIZONA I film I consider
superior to SINGING GUNS.
Joan Leslie and Victor Jory swing my decision on that film.
I DO hope that you re-consider THE MAZE it's more of a spooky castle film
than out & out Horror and "the Monster" is absurd.
Richard Carlson is excellent and Veronica Hurst impressive and supplies a
most interesting 6 minute interview.
Veronica details being a 22 year old Brit actress in Hollywood and describes
the cast (especially Carlson) being very helpful and kind.
Like SINGING GUNS the transfer of THE MAZE is sensational.
Oddly enough until the UK introduced stringent tax laws THE MAZE along
with the Bowery Boys LOOSE IN LONDON and THE HIGHWAYMAN were all going to
be made in England.

2:14 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

John, I'm delighted to have you add your feedback on this movie and its Blu-ray release! It was so beautiful.

I'll have to think about THE MAZE, love Richard Carlson and am interested in the interview -- great to hear of Hurst's positive memories of Carlson. Great to hear it's another great-looking Kino release also!

Best wishes,

6:23 PM  

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