Other Cowboy Stars — John Wayne in “The Desert Trail”

August 6, 2011

Some top-rate talk-cute romantic comedies were made in 1935 — “Top Hat,” “Devil Is A Woman,” “Alice Adams” to name a few.  Flirty barbs were exchanged by Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and a bunch of other attractive people.  They were all brim-full of wit and bubbling with chatty charm.

Add one more to the list.  “The Desert Trail”.  The opening scene is five minutes of clever banter between Wayne and his sidekick, more talk than in the entirety of most Westerns of this ilk.

The rest of the film is, at heart, about the relationship between these two men and their pursuit of the hot-headed (and oddly un-attractive) Rosita.

Imagine a Charles Starrett film like this.  Imagine a love-triangle with Steve and Smiley and, say, Peggy Stewart.

Let’s get weirder and imagine a triangle with Steve, Iris Meredith and…Durango!  Whoa!  Did my mind just go there?  What crazy new world is this?  Wasn’t I just writing about John Wayne…

Weirder and weirder.

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