Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Tonight's Movie: The Man From Thunder River (1943)

THE MAN FROM THUNDER RIVER (1943) is a pleasant Bill Elliott "B" Western.

This was the second film of a total of eight in which Elliott costarred with Anne Jeffreys. I reviewed their first film, CALLING WILD BILL ELLIOTT (1943), for Classic Movie Hub last summer.

This one starts out with Bill saving a family in a runaway covered wagon while he's on his way to visit the Ferguson family, consisting of Aunt Bess (Georgie Cooper) and her niece and nephew, Nancy (Jeffreys) and Jack (John James). Bill is clearly sweet on Nancy, as he brings her a gift.

Baddie Henry Stevens (Ian Keith) has learned an abandoned mine owned by the Fergusons is valuable and is working to steal the ore, moving it into his own neighboring mine. When Jack tries to convince a banker (Edward Cassidy) to help him reopen the Ferguson mine, Stevens kills the banker and frames Jack.

It's up to Bill to clear Jack's name and save the mine by the time the movie's 57 minutes are up!

The film has a couple of notable aspects, starting with a full scene featuring Jeffreys singing. Her musical ability was also utilized in the prior film, and I'm hoping to hear more from her in the later movies in the series.

The film also has a notable actor as the villain. In the '30s Ian Keith played significant roles in DeMille films such as THE SIGN OF THE CROSS ( 1932), CLEOPATRA (1934), and THE CRUSADES (1935), where he had an especially good role as the Sultan.

Gabby Hayes is on hand as Wild Bill's sidekick. The cast also includes Jack Ingram, Jack Rockwell, and Eddie Lee. I've seen Lee in numerous small roles from the course of his two-decade career.

The movie was written by J. Benton Cheney and directed by John English. It was filmed by filmed by Bud Thackery.

Gene Blottner's book WILD BILL ELLIOTT confirms my visual recognition that the movie was filmed at Iverson Ranch, along with Corriganville.

All in all, this one is a solid "B" film which held my attention throughout.


Blogger barrylane said...

Bill Elliott's next group are the Red Ryder series, with Bobby Blake as Little Beaver in all sixteen. Addictive.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Sounds great, I'm looking forward to those. The great thing about coming relatively "late" to Westerns with people like Bill Elliott and Hopalong Cassidy is I still have a great many entertaining films to look forward to seeing for the first time. :)

Best wishes,

9:36 PM  
Blogger Jerry Entract said...

Hi Laura!

You already know my feelings about Bill Elliott in general and this series of eight he made with Anne Jeffries and Gabby Hayes since I may have recommended them to you in the first place (possibly). Glad you enjoyed this one. Elliott and Hayes were great together, I thought. The chemistry was there.
I'm now moseying over to your Western Roundup on books.
Hope you and your family are all staying safe and well,

11:28 PM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Ian Keith and Anne singing. Plus Bill, and I'm sold.

5:07 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Jerry!

Yes, I believe I do have you to thank for recommending these films, and you have certainly encouraged my interest in Bill Elliott in general. I'm grateful!!

Hope you enjoy this month's Western Roundup column. :)

We're all doing well here and very much hoping you are all the same.

Best wishes,

10:52 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Caftan Woman, hope you can see this, it definitely has elements I believe you'll appreciate. :) Thanks, as always, for stopping by, reading and commenting!!

Best wishes,

10:53 AM  
Blogger Vienna said...

Laura, you got me onto Bill Elliott and I look forward to seeing this one, especially with Anne Jeffries getting a song.

1:37 AM  
Blogger Lyson said...


Completely agree with your comment about coming into a lot of these westerns late in the game - leaving lots of undiscovered pleasures to come. My problem is I have so many unwatched Westerns stacked up. I will have completed the George O'Brien set by next week and then it's off to The Rough riders with Buck jones, Tim McCoy & Raymond Hatton. Look forward to Wild Bill after that!

8:58 AM  
Blogger Jerry Entract said...

Lyson, you have some treats in store there! I came to westerns early in the game (LOL) as they have been some of my favourite viewing all my life. Saw my first one 67 years ago but I still love the genre and repeat viewings always finds new pleasures to appreciate.
Happy viewing!

2:25 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Vienna, I'm thrilled to know I started you on the Bill Elliott path, passing on the favor that Jerry and others did me. :) I hope you'll have the opportunity to see these Elliott-Jeffreys films.

Lyson, there are really benefits to exploring some film interests later in life! I feel the same about silent movies and Japanese films -- I've only begun to scratch the surface. We'lln never run out of new things to watch along with revisiting our favorites. I hope you have enjoyed George O'Brien as much as I have!! I quite enjoyed the first couple Rough Riders films and look forward to watching the rest.

Jerry, thank you always for stopping by and taking the time to share! Always thoroughly enjoy your reflections on a lifetime of Westerns (and other!) viewing.

Best wishes,

9:03 AM  

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