HOPPY SERVES A WRIT (director: George Archainbaud; screenwriters: from the story by Clarence E. Mulford/Gerald Geraghty; cinematographer: Russell Harlan; editor: Sherman A. Rose; cast: William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), Andy Clyde (California Carlson), Jay Kirby (Johnny Travers), Victor Jory (Tom Jordan), George Reeves (Henchman Steve), Jan Christy (Jean Hollister), Bob Mitchum (Henchman), Forbes Murray (Ben Hollister), Roy Barcroft (Tom Colby); Runtime: 67; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harry Sherman; Cascadia Entertainment; 1943)
“A wee bit stronger than most of Hoppy’s bland B Westerns.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
It’s not on a par with the good Hopalong Cassidy films in the series such as Bar 20 Justice and Texas Trail, but it’s a wee bit stronger than most of Hoppy’s bland B Westerns (though still unable to locate a good leading lady). George Archainbaud (“Strange Gamble”/”The Kansan “/”Texas Masquerade”) directs a Hoppy Western for the first time and does a neat job keeping the action sequences rolling along; Gerald Geraghty hands in a better than average screenplay for the series. It’s based on the story by Clarence E. Mulford (creator of the series). The film is notable for Bob Mitchum making his film debut in a small part as a surly gang member.
Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd) is the sheriff of Twin Rocks, a small-town in Texas. When the Wells Fargo box on the stagecoach is robbed and rancher Tom Colby (Roy Barcroft) complains of rustlers, Hoppy realizes the same gang did both crimes and fled across the border to the lawless Oklahoma Territory for refuge, where there’s no jurisdiction for Hoppy to enforce the law. Hoppy crosses the border disguised as Jones, a cattle buyer and gambler. In Mesa City he runs into the gang, headed by Tom Jordan (Victor Jory), in the local saloon and schemes to get the gang to cross the border so that he can serve them a writ. He gets the unwanted help from his deputy Johnny Travers (Jay Kirby) and the bumbling stagecoach driver who was held-up, California Carlson (Andy Clyde). He’s around for comic relief, but his corny sight gags fall mostly flat. There’s also an undeveloped love story between Johnny and Jean Hollister (Jan Christy), the daughter of a rancher who unwittingly bought stolen cattle from Jordan.
There’s a good barroom brawl, a few horse chases that kick up some dust and a shootout, all that’s needed to keep this simple story with its nose to the trail.
REVIEWED ON 6/21/2007 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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