Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tonight's Movie: Hot Lead (1951)

It's been quite a while since I last saw a Tim Holt Western, so I pulled out the Warner Archive's Tim Holt Western Classics Collection Vol. 3 and watched HOT LEAD (1951).

Tim and Chito (Richard Martin) are working as hands for Gail Martin (Joan Dixon, ROADBLOCK) -- although Chito, as always, is easily distracted from work by a beautiful lady.

A gang of robbers (John Dehner, Robert J. Wilke, and Paul Marion) are at work in the nearby town of Trail Head, planning to rob a gold shipment due by train.

Dave Collins (Ross Elliott) comes to town after being released from prison.  After a friend (Lee MacGregor) of Tim and Chito's is killed during a robbery attempt at the train station, Tim becomes suspicious of Dave, who's being pressured by the robbers to cooperate; they need his skills operating a telegraph.

Dave comes clean to Tim and Gail about his background, and Tim and Chito go to work to set a trap for the robbery gang.  This will hoepfully also pave the way for Dave to pursue a romance with Gail.

Tim and Chito's usual enjoyable bantering, Dehner and Wilke as bad guys, and attractive filming by Nicholas Musuraca (OUT OF THE PAST) combine for a lively and enjoyable 60 minutes.

This was one of five Holt films costarring Joan Dixon released in 1951-52; I previously reviewed GUNPLAY (1951). I've come across stills of Dixon in another of her Holt films, PISTOL HARVEST (1951), wearing one of the same dresses she wears in this movie!  I'll have to see if the costumes are repeated throughout all five of her films; it wouldn't surprise me.

Dixon had a short but interesting career; she's not a great actress yet has a distinctive personality I enjoy, along with striking looks.  In HOT LEAD her character, a woman running a ranch with the help of her hands, does not shy away from being assertive, both in business and romance.

In addition to GUNPLAY and ROADBLOCK, I've also reviewed Dixon's films BUNCO SQUAD (1950) and EXPERIMENT ALCATRAZ (1950).  I look forward to seeing her additional Holt Westerns.

HOT LEAD was directed by Stuart Gilmore and written by William Lively.  It was filmed on movie ranches in Southern California's Newhall-Santa Clarita area.

Other than a couple very brief moments with some debris, most of the Warner Archive DVD looks great.


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

It was a treat to read your review today. One of the reasons being that I tend to forget or get mixed up the titles of Tim and Chito's movies. This is a favourite and perhaps now Hot Lead will be seared into my brain. (Ha!)

8:13 AM  
Anonymous John Hall said...

Laura, Have you watched BROTHERS IN THE SADDLE yet? My all time favorite Holt title with a great Steve Brodie performance. Very similar to an RKO noir feature.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Caftan Woman, I'm so glad! It was a good watch.

John, BROTHERS IN THE SADDLE is still ahead of me to watch for the first time. I'm very much looking forward to it given your endorsement!

Best wishes,

6:03 PM  

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