Thursday 28 December 2023

Movie Review: Badman's Territory (1946)

Genre: Western
Director: Tim Whelan
Starring: Randolph Scott, Ann Richards, George "Gabby" Hayes
Running Time: 98 minutes

Synopsis: In lawless territory near Oklahoma, the town of Quinto is a refuge for notorious bandits including the James and Dalton gangs. Texas lawman Mark Rowley (Randolph Scott) and his deputy brother Johnny arrive in town but have no authority. Mark starts a romance with newspaper editor Henryetta (Ann Richards), who is agitating for law and order. Mark also has encounters with James gang associate Coyote (George "Gabby Hayes), and outlaw Belle Star (Isabel Jewel).

What Works Well: The concept of lawmen and gangsters intermingling on neutral turf creates possibilities for unique interactions (including with local Indians treated with some respect); and the debate between maintaining lawlessness or pursuing statehood carries political interest. Randolph Scott is a strong presence, and Ann Richards leaves an impression as a strong-willed newswoman surrounded by hostility.

What Does Not Work As Well: With production values 15 years behind the times, this is an unsophisticated, poorly written, and badly paced western. Director Tim Whelan is incapable of the most basic character introductions, and instead haphazardly throws people and action at the screen. Four writers had a hand in creating a chaotic script which still gets distracted for a long period by a barely consequential horse race. The large supporting cast is bland, robbing the numerous outlaws of any edge. 

Conclusion: A clumsy combination of narrative disorganization and inept execution.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome reader comments about this post.