SOUTHWEST PASSAGE (aka: CAMELS WEST) (director: Ray Nazarro; screenwriters: Harry Essex/Geoffrey Homes; cinematographer: Sam Leavitt; editor: Grant Whytock; music: Arthur Lange/Emil Newman; cast: John Ireland (Clint McDonald), Joanne Dru (Lilly), Rod Cameron (Edward Beale), Guinn Williams (Tall Tale), John Dehner (Matt Carrol), Darryl Hickman (Jeb), Mark Hanna (Hi Jolly), Morris Ankrum (Doc Stanton) Kenneth MacDonald (Sheriff Morgan); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Edward Small; MGM; 1954)
“Routine but entertaining gimmicky 3D shot western.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Former silent actor Ray Nazarro (“Apache Territory”/”Domino Kid”/”The Hired Gun”) directs this routine but entertaining gimmicky 3D shot western, that’s written in a formulaic way by Harry Essex and Geoffrey Homes.
On the trail, the wanted outlaw Clint McDonald (John Ireland), his honey Lilly (Joanne Dru, Ireland’s real-life wife) and her brother Jeb (Darryl Hickman) are chased by a posse after robbing a bank of $20,000. Lilly retreats to town to get a doctor to treat her severely wounded brother. She brings back a drunken veterinarian (Morris Ankrum), who removes the bullet lodged near the heart. When Clint learns he is heading across the Santa Fe trail to be a doctor on an army scouting expedition, intending to map out new routes to California, he pays off the Doc to go back to St. Louis and also buys his medical bag and wardrobe. Clint then joins the party led by Beale (Rod Cameron), and is taken on since Stanton was hired through the mail and never met the boss. The soldier is leading a squad testing if either mules or camels are better suited to the terrain in the West. There are 4 Arab camel handlers.
When Jeb succumbs to his wounds, Lilly joins the caravan as someone who got lost from her party heading west.
Trouble looms ahead as a mean-spirited mule-skinner (John Dehner) recognizes Clint from the Wanted posters and demands half the loot, there are war-like Apaches following, they have run into a water shortage, and Lilly wants him only if he returns the money and they make a fresh start in California.
REVIEWED ON 11/19/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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