Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

THE ROYAL MOUNTED RIDES AGAIN

Distinctive bad guys:Joe Haworth and Danny Morton
















THE ROYAL MOUNTED RIDES AGAIN (13 chapter Universal serial/1945). Directors:Lewis D. Collins; Ray Taylor.

Northwestern Canada at the turn of the century. Mine owner Tom Bailey is murdered by Brad Taggart (Milburn Stone), but his employer Jackson Decker (Addison Richards) becomes the chief suspect. Bailey's daughter, June (Daun Kennedy) comes to town to investigate her father's murder, as do mounties Frenchy Moselle (George Dolenz) and Corporal Wayne Decker (Bill Kennedy) the son of Jackson Decker. Jackson wanted his son to follow in his footsteps and work for his copper mine and other businesses, but Wayne didn't like his father's unethical business practices. Now he's hoping to prove that his father was not mixed up in this murder. Other characters include Madame Misterioso, a fortune teller whose real name is Dillie Clark (Helen Bennett), who is an ally of June's; and colorful codger "Latitude" Bucket (Paul E. Burns) '' -- he's been "everywhere" -- who has a rather surprising secret. The bad buys in this movie are not the usual generic gunsels but have a bit more flavor to them, especially Bunker (Joseph Haworth) with his ingratiatingly insolent manner, and "Dancer" (Danny Morton), with his shiny hair and casual, non-subservient attitude. Milburn Stone is typical of the rather bland actor who makes more of an impression as a villain than as a hero [which he played in The Great Alaskan Mystery and other serials], although he's hardly a Charles Middleton. Robert Armstrong, who also appeared in a number of serials such as The Adventures of the Flying Cadets, plays shady Price, who owns the Yukon Gold tavern, where several scenes take place. Rondo Hatton does nothing for chapter after chapter except sit watching the proceedings and drawing his gun now and then; he has no dialogue. Royal Mounted Rides Again has a fairly good story and a few noteworthy cliffhangers, such as when a huge log is shoved down a chute toward a prone Corporal Decker; a mine car that hurtles down a deep shaft towards the same man; and a bit with a dangling suspension bridge in a rainstorm that has explosives attached to it. Paul Birch (Not of This Earth) appears very briefly as a highwayman. While this is not as slick or snappy as Republic's "Mounted" serials such as King of the Mounties, it is nevertheless entertaining. Apparently stars Bill and Daun Kennedy were neither related nor married to one another. Bill was a busy television actor while Daun had only a few credits to her name. Helen Bennett was also in Lost City of the Jungle.

Verdict: Interesting serial with several flavorful performances and good scenes. ***.

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