“Phantom Valley”

May 8, 2008

If Joel Silver is looking for the next cutting edge guy to helm his new action spectacle, he might look to editor Paul Borofsky. The opening sequence of “Phantom Valley” is very fast-paced, very MTV, very new, very now!

And if Roger Corman ever comes clean, he might want to mention his debt to Comrade Borofsky. A more dramatic re-use of old footage would be hard to find in any of Corman’s nearly 400 productions.

Paul passed in 1965. His was an interesting life if you want to check it out. He cut 45 of Charley’s films.

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

On to “Phantom Valley.” Let’s get the usual questions out of the way:

Charley’s name is just “Steve” in this one.

He’s a marshal (for “just about a year now”) and he’s come to town to replace the sherrif that was killed.

Smiley knows him; he doesn’t know he’s the Durango Kid.

The plot revolves around the familiar war between the Cattlemen, aka “Riders”, and the Homesteaders, aka “Nesters.” The Cattlemen are dead bent on destroying the Homesteaders, who want to build their own town. Someone is helping them run the Homesteaders out by robbing their money and murdering them. Finding out who that someone is — that’s the Durango Kid’s job.

Some good dialogue:

“Now we’ll find out if Sam Littlejohn is the polecat in the woodpile.”

“Looks like Sam is the scum on the watering hole.”

And this classic exchange:

“Steve I can’t get this ringing out of my ears.”

Charley sees a harness of sleigh bells hanging from Smiley’s belt, dangling over his behind.

“Funny place to keep your ears, Smiley”. Where you going with this one, Charley? You mean his ears are in his butt? C’mon, man. Don’t go there!

And, finally:

“Look, that’s Smiley.”

“He didn’t see us or he wouldn’t be singing.”

I wish he did see them. I’m sick of Smiley and his singing. And his half-ass clowning. And his smug little face while he’s singing or doing some half-ass clowning (this time with a magnifying glass). Very satisfying scene where they shoot the damn guitar out of his hands.

But all that rage is for another day.

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

“Phantom Valley.” Not the best DK film out there. But worth a look for some exciting action montages (made up of footage from other films).

Music by Ozie Waters and His Colorado Rangers. Ozie (who also appears as “Cattleman” in this film) made a total of 8 films, 7 of them with Charley.