THREE MEN FROM TEXAS(director: Lesley Selander; screenwriters: Clarence E. Mulford/Norton S. Parker; cinematographer: Russell Harlan; editor: Carrol Lewis; music: Victor Young; cast: William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), Russell Hayden (Lucky Jenkins), Andy Clyde (California Jack Carlson), Morris Ankrum (Bruce Morgan), Morgan Wallace (Texas Ranger Captain Andrews), Thornton Edwards (Pico Serrano), Esther Estrella (Paquita Serrano), Davison Clark (Ed Thompson, Town Banker), Dick Curtis (Gardner), George Lollier (Henchman Dave), Glenn Strange (Ben Stokes), Neyl Marx (Juanito); Runtime: 77; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harry Sherman; Paramount Pictures; 1940)
“This superior B-Western is the best Hopalong Cassidy I ever saw.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This superior B-Western is the best Hopalong Cassidy I ever saw; holy jumping catfish, it’s filled with good action scenes and liberally sprinkled with pleasant humor. It’s tightly written by Norton S. Parker, while director Lesley Selander (“The Renegade Trail”/”Santa Fe Marshal”/”The Frontiersman”) keeps the pace fast and furious.
Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd) is a Texas Ranger who arrests California Carlson (Andy Clyde), the braggart cook of the rustler gang led by Gardner (Dick Curtis). When jumped by the gang, on the trail, the frightened California admits to never being a gunfighter but is talked into helping Hoppy scare off the gang. When informed by the chatty California that Gardner and wanted outlaw Ben Stokes (Glenn Strange) are heading to the Mexican border town of Santa Carmen to join saloon owner and land grabber Bruce Morgan’s (Morris Ankrum) outfit, Hoppy’s boss, Texas Ranger Captain Andrews (Morgan Wallace), swears Hoppy in as a federal marshal with the power to make arrests in any state. Hoppy takes California along to California as a partner because he knows the territory, and he also needs all the help he can get to aid the hotheaded young Texas Ranger, Lucky Jenkins (Russell Hayden). He volunteered to help out in Santa Carmen after banker and leading citizen Ed Thompson (Davison Clark) requested that his old friend Captain Andrews send in a Texas Ranger to bring the Morgan gang to justice and restore law and order, as seven previous sheriffs were gunned down by the Morgan gang and no one else wants the job.
The three men from Texas, California, Lucky and Hoppy, join forces in Santa Carmen with a Mexican-American, Pico Serrano (Thornton Edwards), booted out of his house by Morgan after they stole the title to his land grant and now is embittered that he’s living with his family and friends under the stars in a hidden canyon hideout and forced to rob stagecoaches to earn a living.
You can bet your Sunday spurs that Hoppy will act fair and square in rounding up the gang of cutthroats, even though in the process he gets a few of his followers killed–including the sweet senorita Paquita Serrano (Esther Estrella). She’s the daughter of Paquita whom Lucky fell for like a ton of bricks.
This is the picture where Hoppy first partners with old-timer California Carlson, who offers his brand of cornball comic relief–seemingly a B-Western prerequisite that the dull squeaky-clean hero have such a bumbling partner.
REVIEWED ON 4/12/2008 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ