ALBUQUERQUE (aka: SILVER CITY) (director: Ray Enright; screenwriter: from a Luke Short novel/Gene Lewis/Clarence Upson Young; cinematographer: Fred Jackman Jr.; editor: Howard Smith; music: Darrell Corker; cast: Randolph Scott (Cole Armin), Barbara Britton (Letty Tyler), George ‘Gabby’ Hayes (Juke), George Cleveland (John Armin), Lon Chaney (Steve Murkill), Russell Hayden (Ted Wallace), Catherine Craig (Celia Wallace), Bernard J. Nedell (Sheriff Ed Linton), Irving Bacon (Dave Walton), Karolyn Grimes (Myrtle Walton), Jody Gilbert (Pearl Eager), John Halloran (Matt Wayne), Russell Simpson (Huggins, mining manager), Lane Chandler (Mr. Clark, Mine Owner), Lorin Raker (Mr. Martin); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William Pine/William Thomas; UniversalParamount; 1948)
“This big-budget Western fails to hit paydirt, but benefits from Randolph Scott in the lead role.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This big-budget Western fails to hit pay-dirt, but benefits from Randolph Scott in the lead role. Ray Enright (“Coroner Creek”/”The Spoilers”/”Trail Street”) slows down the action with his hesitant direction. It’s written in a predictable way by Gene Lewis and Clarence Upson Young from a Luke Short novel.
Cole Armin (Randolph Scott) arrives in Albuquerque on the stage that left El Paso. It’s held up by five outlaws, who kill a passenger (Lorin Raker) in cold-blood and steal $10,000 from Miss Celia Wallace (Catherine Craig). The runaway stage has the lone passenger, Myrtle Walton (Karolyn Grimes), aboard. Cole rescues the little girl, and back in town her grateful father (Irving Bacon) says he’ll be glad to return the favor (it’s returned in the final scene). The wheelchair-bound John Armin (George Cleveland) is the greedy evil owner of the local freight business and is revealed as the underhanded crook who is out to eliminate any competition. He is Cole’s uncle, and he only came here because his uncle promised him a job. But when Cole realizes his uncle arranged for the stickup to put his small-time rival Ted Wallace (Russell Hayden) out of business, he switches sides and helps Ted recover the money. He then becomes a junior partner with Ted and his sister Celia. They hire Juke (Gabby Hayes), the whiskered stagecoach driver, to drive their freight, which calls for delivering the ore from the mines down a treacherous mountain road to the mill. The uncle reacts by starting a war. He uses the crooked sheriff (Bernard J. Nedell), his oafish henchman Murkill (Lon Chaney), a girl bookkeeper (Barbara Britton) to be an informer on his rival, who tricks Ted into hiring her, and outlaw Matt Wayne (John Halloran) to undermine his nephew’s business. It builds to the climactic scene, where Gabby and Cole take down a shipment of ore from the most dangerous mine location and then have to shoot it out with all John Armin’s hired hands.
The Pine-Thomas production used the economic Cinecolor process, which made the screen look cheesy. But it made up for that miscalculation by presenting a good cast, keeping the routine tale unpretentious and delivering enough action to satisfy the demands of the market.
REVIEWED ON 6/18/2007 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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