CLASH OF THE WOLVES (director: Noel M. Smith; screenwriter: Charles Logue; cinematographers: Edwin B. DuPar/Allen Thompson; editor: Clarence Kolster; music: Martin Marks; cast: Rin Tin Tin (Lobo), Nanette (Lobo’s Mate), Charles Farrell (Dave Weston), June Marlowe (May Barstowe), Heinie Conklin (Alkali Bill), Will Walling (Sam Barstowe), Pat Hartigan (Borax Horton); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: ; Warner Brothers; 1925-silent)
“This was the tenth feature film starring the biggest box office and most famous dog star of all time, the German shepherd called Rin-Tin-Tin.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This was the tenth feature film starring the biggest box office and most famous dog star of all time, the German shepherd called Rin-Tin-Tin. Lee Duncan was a corporal during the First World War who rescued Rin-Tin-Tin in a French battlefield in 1918 and brought him to America for his long film career, where he earned a weekly salary of $6,000 and had a career that lasted until 1932. The film takes on the Androcles’ theme, when the animal is shown love by mankind he responds in kind.
There’s a forest fire in the High Sierras in California, and a pack of famished wolves led by Lobo (Rin-Tin-Tin) come down to the desert town to hunt for food. They disturb the local ranchers as they kill their cattle. One of the ranchers is Sam Barstowe who objects to, May (June Marlowe), his young single daughter’s romantic interest in loner tenderfoot borax prospector Dave Weston (Charles Farrell).
When Lobo gets stuck in cactus thorns and can’t pull them out, he leaves his mate Nanette for the desert fearing the other wolves would detect his weakness and devour him. Dave spots his struggle and removes his thorns. The grateful half-breed, part wolf and part dog, allows Dave to become his master. Since there’s a $100 reward in town for Lobo, he’s disguised with a fake detective beard tied by string on his lower jaw and his paws are covered with laced leather shoes (the attempts at comedy were never realized).
The villain is posing as a chemist assayer named Borax Horton (Pat Hartigan), who in reality is a claim-jumper. He attacks Dave leaving him badly wounded in a cave and steals his claim. It’s up to Lobo to alert May and save the day. There’s a terrific scene of a pack of wolves chasing down the villain fleeing on horseback across the desert, as he gets his comeuppance.
If you ever care to see a flick that had all the endearing qualities that made “Rinty” so lovable and famous, this one is it. The film’s only weakness was the lame comedy performed by Alkali Bill (Heinie Conklin), the comic foil character who worked on the Barstowe ranch as a chaperone for May.
REVIEWED ON 4/16/2007 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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