UNDER WESTERN STARS
(director: Joe Kane; screenwriters: Betty Burbridge/story by Dorrell & Stuart McGowan/Dorrell & StuartMcGowan; cinematographer: Jack Marta; editor: Lester Orlebeck; music: Alberto Colombo; cast: Roy Rogers (himself), Smiley Burnette (Frog), Carol Hughes (Eleanor Fairbanks), Guy Usher (John D. Fairbanks), Tom Chatterton (Congressman Edward H. Marlowe), Kenneth Harlan (Richards), Aldrn Chase (Tom Andrews), Maple City Four (Themselves), Brandon Beach (Senator Wilson), Dick Elliott (William P. Scully), Earl Dwire (Mayor Briggs), Dora Clement (Mrs. Marlowe); Runtime: 54; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sol C. Siegel; Mill Creek Entertainment; 1938)
“Roy Roger’s first starring vehicle was a big commercial success.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Roy Roger’s first starring vehicle was a big commercial success and launched his long movie career as King of the Cowboys. Joe Kane (“Undersea Kingdom”/”Smoke in the Wind”/”Young Bill Hickok”) ably directs this populist “dust bowl” western, with mild political overtones, plenty of songs and comical interludes. It’s based on the story by Dorrell & Stuart McGowan, who handle the formulaic screenplay with Betty Burbridge.
In Roy Roger’s Western hometown of Sageville, there’s a severe drought and to make matters worst, the water company owned by the greedy John D. Fairbanks (Guy Usher) and run by the heartless Richards (Kenneth Harlan) have closed the Fairbank’s Dam to the ranchers in the territory. The citizens are cheered when Roy, his pal Frog (Smiley Burnette) and other ranch hands open the valve on the dam to free the water and urge him to run for Congress, like his deceased father, and defeat the useless incumbent, William P. Scully (Dick Elliott ), a stooge for the water company. Despite the presence in town of Fairbanks and his big-spending campaign, Roy is elected and promises to immediately get a federal water bill for free water and public ownership of the water company. In Washington, DC, Roy’s helped by Fairbanks’s rebellious daughter Eleanor (Carol Hughes). She shows the slick cowboy how to meet the elusive Congressman Marlowe (Tom Chatterton), the imperious Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, whose support is needed to get the bill passed, and the persistent Roy stays on the politician till he gets the help needed to improve conditions in his district.
REVIEWED ON 8/31/2013 GRADE: B-