The Old Chisholm Trail


Action / Music / Western

IMDb Rating 6.3 10 67


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by classicsoncall 6 / 10

"From now on we're gonna be ready for plenty of trouble".

This one's a pretty entertaining B Western bringing together Johnny Mack Brown and Tex Ritter, AND Jimmy Wakely, AND Fuzzy Knight in one of your standard water rights tales that the genre regularly recycled. There's even a couple of gals on hand, good girl Mary Lee (Jennifer Holt) and bad girl Belle Turner (Mady Correll), who should have been given more time to mix it up in that cat-fight at Mary's Lost River Trading Post. The boys broke it up way too soon.

There's a fine mix of tunes sprinkled throughout the story, with Ritter's character, Montana Smith getting in a nice solo during an early scene. He later joins the Jimmy Wakely Trio in a cool rendition of 'Lone Star Trail'. Wakely's touted as 'The Singing Thrush of the Sagebrush' on a posted handbill but you have to be attentive to catch it. Wakely certainly had a fine voice, but his character here is pretty one dimensional, almost looking like he was in a daze whenever on screen. Couldn't figure that out.

Fuzzy Knight is introduced early as a sideshow magician and hypnotist called The Great Polario, but later reverts to his alter-ego Albert J Pendergast. He has a running gag with Earle Hodgins' Hopping Crow character, who keeps asking for his money back from Polario's less than entertaining matinée gimmick. There's also Fuzzy's urgency to get his steer Oswald back when it's rustled by the bad guys. Not only did Oswald make it back, but he played a role in making the save for the good guys' herd.

There's one element of the story though that's a bit of a head scratcher. Mary Lee starts out the story as Montana's girl and along the way winds up with Dusty Gardner (Johnny Mack Brown). You can point to that early bar song scene when Mary caresses Dusty's arm, and Montana gets jealous. But there seems to be no motivation for the romantic switch since it was the first time Mary and Dusty ever met. I guess stuff like this wasn't supposed to make much sense other than to move the story along, which it did to make Montana turn heel for a portion of the story. But the traditional good guys patched things up for the finale, with Montana riding off into the sunset and Dusty getting the girl.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 5 / 10

The Wild Card on the Old Chisholm Trail

The Old Chisholm Trail which is about Johnny Mack Brown trying to drive a herd to Abilene on said trail has three bona fide cowboy heroes in the cast. In addition to Brown, Tex Ritter and Jimmy Wakely get to do a bit of singing. Unfortunately Johnny Mack Brown could not sing a note and didn't try.

Brown runs into a bit of a problem with Mady Corell who has staked a claim on the only waterhole around and she wants $5.00 a head for every steer and cow that drinks there.

It's enough to make Brown stop driving his herd and start drilling for water on Jennifer Holt's property. Holt and Correll have a dandy fight that's broken up way too soon.

In the picture are medicine show entertainers Jimmy Wakely and partner Fuzzy Knight and a mysterious singing gambler in Tex Ritter. Ritter is the wild card in this film. Sad to say though his part is badly written, it could have been more interesting, but he's letting his hormones in regard to Holt and his jealousy of Brown interfere with the job at hand.

The Old Chisholm Trail boasts some nice musical numbers which don't get in the way of the plot. Still it's the storyline that could have used some beefing up.

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