For Reel

Sundown Trail (1931)
April 23, 2016, 5:51 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Robert F. Hill
1.5 Stars
Sundown TrailIn 1930, a directionless supporting actor named George Duryea was rebranded as Tom Keene, a move that would launch for him a modestly successful career as a B-western cowboy for RKO Studios. Sundown Trail is the first western Keene made under his new name and it finds him serving as the foreman of a ranch that the owner’s daughter (Marion Schilling) has newly inherited. Although she wishes to sell, her father’s will states that she must live on the ranch for five years, and in that time Keene will continue to work as the foreman. Preposterous as the set-up is (matchmaking from beyond the grave), there is some enjoyment to be had in watching the awkwardly arranged household function, and Keene and Schilling are fairly affable with their flirtatious banter. The budget and time constraints are clearly in view as edits often don’t match and there are the occasional inconsistencies in visual style (for no apparent reason, the leads speak directly to the camera in one scene). What can be redeemed happens in the climax, which finds some impressive stunt work and a fairly well-choreographed brawl. Routine as they come and rough around the edges, Sundown Trail will appeal to those interested in B-westerns and few others.

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