Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Stagecoach to Denver

Stagecoach to Denver (1946)
Dir. R.G. Springsteen
Staring Allan Lane, Robert Blake, Peggy Stewart

Red Ryder uncovers a conspiracy to replace the land commissioner in order to swindle land from it's rightful owners. 

This film is one of twenty four films that Republic Pictures made based off of the Red Ryder comic strip. It's kind interesting how something can go from being huge and popular, to pretty much forgotten. Now more people seem to know only of Red Ryder from the BB gun Ralphie wanted in A Christmas Story, and the actual gift which now is one of the longest continuous licensed products in history.

This is a simple old B western, about a land scheme. There's some extra stuff involving an orphaned child named Dickie that gets injured in the beginning stages of the villian's plan, and a good chunk of the rest of the film involved the bad guys bringing in Peggy Stewart's character Beautiful* in order to pretend to be the Dickie's aunt and get him medical treatment and keep Red busy. The rest of the film is Red Ryder dealing with the land scheme, and it's pretty typical of most of the b films of the forties. It's nothing awful, just nothing really special about it.

Really Peggy Stewart is the best and most interesting thing about the movie. She actually gets a character arc, going from one of the bad guys just doing her job, to eventually caring about Dickie and his well being and wanting to help Red Ryder. She's good in the role, and it's the the only role  in the film that isn't one note.

Allan Lane is good as the lead, but he's pretty much a basic white hat. And it's kind of interesting to see Robert Blake (billed here as Bobby) as a kid, he doesn't get much to do either and his character is kind of the generic indian stereotype. He's kind of a non-entity really.

This is thought of as being one of the worst of the Red Ryder movies. And it's not great. It's not an awful movie, but there are better ways to spend an hour. But it's available for free at the Internet Archive and probably on YouTube if you're interesting.

*That's the only name that she's given, other than May Barnes, the name of the woman that she is pretending to be.

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