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FALSE COLORS (director: George Archainbaud; screenwriter: Bennett Ray Cohen/characters by Clarence E. Mulford; cinematographer: Russell Harlan; editor: Fred W. Berger; music: Paul Sawtell; cast: William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), Robert Mitchum (Rip Austin), California Carlton (Andy Clyde), Jimmy Rogers (Himself), Douglass Dumbrille (Mark Foster), Tom Seidel (Bud Lawton/Kit Moyer), Claudia Drake (Faith Lawton), Glenn Strange (Sonora), Pierce Lyden (Lefty), Roy Barcroft (Sheriff), Sam Flint (Judge Stevens), Earl Hodgins (Lawyer Jay Griffin); Runtime: 67; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harry Sherman; United Artists; 1943)
“One of the better versions in the Hopalong Cassidy series (the 49th installment), but still awkwardly accomplished.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A snappy B Western, one of the better versions in the Hopalong Cassidy series (the 49th installment), but still awkwardly accomplished and a minor work that requires a suspension of belief on the viewer’s part. George Archainbaud does a serviceable job as director, on a film based on the characters by Clarence E. Mulford and penned by Bennett Ray Cohen.

While the Bar 20 ranchers are on a cattle drive to Denton, two gunmen try to kill the young cowhand Bud Lawton (Tom Seidel). But Hoppy (William Boyd), scruffy old-timer California Carlton (Andy Clyde) and young ladies man cowpoke Jimmy Rogers (the son of humorist Will Rogers), help chase them away. In town, Bud learns his father died and left him 2/3 and his sister Faith Lawton 1/3 share of the Diamond Hitch ranch–the biggest spread in Poncho. The kid has a town lawyer draw up a partnership with Hoppy and the other two boys as full partners before the two gunmen, Sonora (Glenn Strange) and Lefty (Pierce Lyden), from the trail kill him. When Hoppy and the boys arrive at the Diamond Hitch to investigate the murder, they find someone posing as Bud. They will eventually learn that it’s an almost double named Kit Moyer (also Seidel). Faith’s brother has returned after running away from his dad ten years ago over a dispute, and we are asked to believe no one recognizes that’s not him–ummm!

The predictable formulaic tale has evil banker Mark Foster (Douglass Dumbrille) behind this scheme, killing the heir so he can get his grubby hands on the Diamond Hitch. The ranch controls the water rights to all the other ranches in the area and by taking away the water rights, Foster then plans to grab off all the other ranches in town at a cheap price.

Robert Mitchum, a member of Foster’s inner circle, has a small part where he gets into a losing barroom brawl with Hoppy.

The action then picks up at a ranch party Faith is throwing to welcome home her brother, as Hoppy exposes the brother as a fake but the cunning villainous banker turns the tables on him by having Hoppy and his crew arrested by the crooked sheriff (Roy Barcroft) for suspicion of possessing a fraudulent document and the possible murder of Bud. In the end, Hoppy gets the fake brother to confess and then with the arrest of Foster, gives up his partnership with Faith to return to the Bar 20. In a strange ending, Jimmy was left behind to be Faith’s foreman in an effort to woo her. But Jimmy ducks out quickly to return to his man Hoppy. Two things are for certain, Jimmy ain’t a looker and he’s no actor.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”