“Saddle Leather Law”

June 16, 2008

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Perhaps you’re familiar with the Japanese phenomenom known as Engrish. It’s the habit that Japanese advertisers have of stringing together a bunch of English words that either look or sound cool together, but make absolutely no sense. For example: “Electric Jeep Timemachine” or “Hurry Up The Cake” or “Hot Space Station Justice.”

Or “Saddle Leather Law.”

Courtesy of Les Adams

Made in 1944, this film is very late in the Pre-Durango period. In fact, Steve Carlilse does a lot of Durango-esque stuff, like tossing rocks through windows with notes on them, riding through town and disappearing, and just overall being a fugitive from the law.

This is also pre-Jock Mahoney. The stuntman here is a good foot shorter than Charley, and his hat doesn’t even fit him.

Someone kills Denton for his ranch. The Empire Company wants to turn it into a “super dude ranch” (whatever that is.) Actually, that’s a front (and a weird one at that.) They want to set up a casino (not a super-dude ranch.)

This is Lloyd Bridges eighth and last film with Charley and Co. He’s graduated from Henchman #2 all the way to the main villain here. And he got there the old fashioned way, he earned it, with lines like this one: “He’s pretty smart. He’s probably hiding where he thinks we’ll look last for him. So we’ll look there first.”

Always a good idea.

Steve is a Mineralogist. Dub Taylor says, “If I’m going to work for you, I’m going to have to start studying the dictionary.”

Old man Denton turns out to be poisoned in the end (UK Title “The Poisoner”) and, for a change, the gal turns out to be in on it.

Some lameness: there are two fights scenes between Steve and the same two guys in the same location separated by 20 minutes. That wasn’t enough time for me to forget the first one.

Jimmy Wakely and his Saddle Pals provide the tunes, including “Old Fashioned Hoedown” which they play to cover for Steve’s escape.

Courtesy of Les Adams