July 17, 2008
A first! I’ve seen 56 Starrett Westerns so far and I’ve seen something for the very first time: a black man! Jasper P. Weldon plays William, the man-serveant and buggy-driver for a rich lady with a parasol. Jasper made 14 films in his career and this is only the second one where he has a name. Generally, he’s listed as “Porter”, “Driver” or “Red Cap.”
There’s also a new twist in this one. The coveted land is sought after by the bad guys because of Oil! Sam Jones’ oil derrick keeps getting blown up, so he sends for his old friend Steve Driscoll.
There are some old faces – Fred Sears plays Sam Jones, Maudie Prickett plays Hattie in one of her five turns as Smiley’s love interest/tormenter, and Mustard and Gravy sing, play guitar and mug as assistant mailmen.
And, of course, Smiley. He doesn’t know Steve in this one — they are introduced at the beginning.
Yes, any amount of Smiley is too much Smiley, but this is too much Smiley! He seems to be in every scene. He’s the “Lead Letter Carrier of Oil County.” And he works in the local store. And he sings. And he does shtick delivering mail. And he’s courting that rich lady with the parasol. And he’s the blabbermouth that keeps telling the bad guys Steve’s plans.
It gets so you can’t have a decent fistfight without Smiley jumping in there with his “comedy.”
There is this nice exchange:
Outlaw: You’re going to dig a grave for a fat boy.
Smiley: Aw, why don’t you let him dig it?
Outlaw: That’s exactly what I mean!
Columbia contract player Robert Kellard plays a unique character named Boomer Kildea. He’s a big tough wildcatter who has history with Steve down in El Paso where Steve beat him in a fistfight. He’s this giant of a guy who wears clothes two sizes too small. We’ve seen him before in “Fighting Buckaroo” and “Pardon My Gun.”
Charley makes a pretty speech at the *yawn* town meeting. He does some nice riding as Steve. One really nice running mount as Durango.
A Gold Star to whoever can figure out what a “Lone Hand Texan” is. Bonus points if you can figure out how the hell it relates to this movie.