For Reel

Hollywood Cowboy (1937)
May 27, 2016, 8:47 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Ewing Scott
1.5 Stars
Hollywood CowboyThis unusual programmer presents a somewhat modified version of the old west in which the threat to the frontier is not outlaws or American Indians, but gangsters from the city. Led by Charles Middleton, the mobsters scheme to use a biplane in order to frighten cattle and cause a stampede. While there is enormous potential in such a juxtaposition, Hollywood Cowboy is saddled with thin characterizations and a script that doesn’t really seem to get anywhere—the most effective B-westerns tend to make good use of the locations and rely on their action scenes, and this, on the other hand, involves a whole lot of circular conversations without much to peak one’s visual interest. George O’Brien plays a Hollywood star who becomes mistaken for a real life cowboy and finds himself defending a ranch from the protection racket. O’Brien is okay as the spoon-fed, all American hero, but ironically he is so lacking in charisma that it is difficult to buy him as a movie star. One could imagine a director with a more specific vision making more out of the genre hybrid potential, but nobody involved seemed to have much interest in doing anything but getting this filmed over a long weekend.

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